Wednesday, October 19

oh, hey, mélanie laurent.

After a super busy weekend and a very hectic beginning to the week, my friend Caely and I decided to have a low-key movie night and go to the "avant-premiere" (pre-screening) of Les Adoptés. The film was written and directed by Mélanie Laurent who is a very well known actress in France, and is becoming increasingly popular in the US as well (Inglorious Basterds and Beginners). I really enjoyed the movie and it was exactly what I was in the mood for. Also, there was an original score by Syd Matters, so the music was really good. I noticed the lights didn't come on as the credits started so I was a little confused as to why people weren't getting up. At the very end, a young man with a microphone stood in front of the screen to say thank you and "bienvenue à Mélanie Laurent." Caely and I looked at each other ... wait ... what? I had no idea she would be there! She was so cute and so funny and people were able to ask questions. She touched on how she chose the actors, the music, and what it was like to direct her first film - it was one of the coolest surprises. Bravo Mélanie!

photo credit

Saturday, October 15

trot trot to normandy.

You thought I was JUST going to write about my day trip to Normandy and not include my latest food creation didn't you? Tant pis. Before I gush about Normandy and the amazing horse festival I went to today, let me just talk about the latest dinner club creation. I have to give complete kudos to Caely (as per usual) and I think the photos will speak for themselves. Wednesday night dinner consisted of mashed cauliflower, fresh market sausage, roasted tomatoes stuffed with basil pesto and a salad. I'm pretty sure the three of us were prepared to lick our plates at the end. Who knew cauliflower would be so delicious roasted and mashed with butter? I guess that is a rhetorical question ... 

Ok so today, Saturday the 15th, means I have officially been in Rennes for one month. It is seriously amazing how time flies. While it has quickly turned to Fall, today the sun came out and made for an absolutely beautiful day. A colleague of mine, Lise, who is a philosophy teacher at the lycée took me horseback riding a couple of times last year and this year we decided to venture to Normandy for the day to participate in Equidays. The best way I can describe it is a sort of horse festival for about 10 days in Normandy where barns and breeders open their gates (literally) to the public. Lise and I had the opportunity to go to a small town outside of Bayeaux, close to Omaha Beach, and visit France's largest haras - or stud farm. A stud farm is basically a farm for an extremely selective breeding process for race  and show horses. We took a two hour tour of the farm walking over 10 kilometers. The farm was only open to the public on this specific day to those who reserved a spot. There were about 35 of us that oo-ed and aw-ed our way through the fields and stables led by our guide, Christophe. It is hard to refer to Haras d'Etreham as a farm, it was more like a perfectly manicured estate with amazing views and beautiful horses. You can learn more here:

entrance to the "farm."

our guide, christophe, explaining a bit of the history of the "farm." 

first barn which was actually an american style barn.


this is lise looking at what i would describe as a merry-go-round for
horses. here they are trained to work by following fast paced gates in
a circle. christophe let the young kids run around in it for a while which
i think every parent was thankful for.

path to the stables.

home to the poulins - or fouls.

one of their newest fouls - only six months!

a couple of babies decided to come say hello.

this is the stable where the stallions lived. they were absolutely
stunning.this particular étalon is named poliglote and can be bred with a
mare for 6, 000 euros. the stallions ranged from
3,000 - 15,000 euros just to be bred.

isn't he absolutely beautiful? 

it sounded a bit like a high end male prostitution ring. you can find
out more information about poliglote here.
everyone wanted a turn. 
one of the stallions popping out to say coucou,

and of course we finished with a little coup de champagne.

this was the inside of the structure where the mares and stallions
are held to mate. interesting choice of location for a toast ...

and we finished the day with a late lunch in the soleil in bayeaux. delish.

Sunday, October 9

day trip.

I love Rennes so much, but I also love taking a day to escape to the coast to a. see the ocean, b. eat good seafood, and c. have a mini break from "the big city." This Saturday my friend Caely and I did exactly that. From metro to train to bus we arrived in Cancale around one in the afternoon. It was a beautiful train ride from Rennes to Saint Malo, and then we hopped a local bus through fields and campgrounds to get to Cancale. 

Cancale is a very small town of about 5,000 people that is infamous for their oysters. In fact, according to the most reliable site on the internet, that being Wikipedia, Louis XIV had oysters from Cancale delivered to him in Versailles. If that isn’t class I don’t know what is. With this in mind, Caely and I ventured north on a cloudy day to enjoy relatively warm weather and seaside dining. 

Cancale is basically a large boardwalk along the ocean consisting of oyster traps with dozens of crêperies, cute hotels and seafood restaurants. We chose a mom n’ pop looking restaurant where people were squished on small wooden tables and the owners were shucking oysters and picking away seaweed as they shuffled around taking peoples' orders. We settled on a dozen oysters to start and each got moules frites – mussels with fries. The meal was complete with bread and Breton butter and a nice bottle of muscadet. After overstaying our welcome and having a typical two-hour French lunch, we walked the boulevard a bit and marveled at the color of the water. Also, despite the weather we could see Mont Saint Michel, which Caely pointed out looked like a little sandcastle. We grabbed a pastry (or two) in Saint Malo before heading home and arrived home around 6:30. It was such a lovely day trip and even though we just ate and took a walk it was a very successful day - in my opinion.

the way lunch should be: part two

the color of the water here is insane

au pied d'cheval - where we ate 

very distant mont saint michel

oyster traps during high tide

yes please

famous statue 

art gallery? knick knacks? 

Sunday, October 2

gordon's visit: part two

As my cousin rightfully pointed out to me today what started as a "Dear Family and Friends, this is what I am up to!" blog, has really become Emma's adventures in eating. Not saying that is bad thing, but I feel like I should start writing superfluously about teaching, traveling, or my cultural discoveries to balance that out. Don't worry, I won't start today. There is too much to share - especially after having someone stay with you, showing them around/telling them what to eat allows you to experience all of your favorite things for the first time. 

gordon and berit
gordon, berit, and caely
enjoying berit's quiche!
Gordon's visit was wonderful and we couldn't have asked for better weather or timing. We had a very low-key weekend filled with lots of sunbathing and food. Saturday we got up early and went to the market for a couple hours. We pretty much bought anything and everything: figs, goat cheese, comté, duck and rabbit paté, kouing amann, caramel tarts, bread, Fall apples, homemade apple juice and beaujolais sausage (yup. wine flavored sausage). 

different kinds of sausage including mushroom, bison, duck, and cheese.

caely and gordon catching their breath at the market.
galette saucisse.
flower market.
We sat in the sun and enjoyed our purchases before heading to Apple Pie to meet the other English assistants. Gordon tried one of Lisa's raspberry cupcakes. Amaze. The way he put it was, "This is like eating a raspberry, but, like, in cake."Very philosophical G. 
apple pie's raspberry cupcakes.
We walked around Rennes a bit before heading home and waiting for Berit. The three of us had a nice little debrief of the day over paté, goat cheese, and cocktails before I made dinner. The weather has been so nice that we have been able to eat outside even at 10 o'clock at night. We are so so lucky that we have a little terrace and we can profiter from the sun. After dinner we may, or may not, have brought iPod speakers outside and had a bit of a dance party for all our neighbors to see. 

we are very sophisticated chez nous.
not sure it gets better then this.
dinner for three - very romantic. 
sunday flowers.

The next morning we slept in quite late ... let's just say well into the afternoon, then went to find a café open for business on Sundays. We had a coffee and a small pastry before remembering this weekend was the Festival Gourmand. Even though I included the link, for those non-French speakers, "gourmand" is the French way of saying "foodie." But, it has a bit of a negative connotation when you are talking about someone being a gourmand, unlike in English when saying you are a foodie simply reflects your love and appreciation for food. In French, gourmand is more along the lines of glutton. For instance, if you are a young American living without a refrigerator and you grab breakfast at the market and eat it while walking around, many of the vendors might look at you endearingly and say "bon appetit! quel gourmand!" which basically means, "wow. enjoy your breakfast ... glutton." Maybe not that harsh, but you get the gist. Back to the festival ... we wandered inside to find lots of vendors selling meat and apple juice and chocolate, and there was a food demonstration. The chef was local and he was making a three tomato tart on a basil, parsley, and cilantro based tart. I know, it was amazing. I translated for Gordon as we oo-ed and aww-ed at the final presentation. 

cooking demonstration.

Across the street from the festival there was an outdoor bar showing the Rennes/Lille soccer game so we sat for a couple hours and unfortunately watched Rennes lose. We rounded up Gordon's visit with a visit to my favorite créperie where G got a shrimp, scallop, and mushroom galette in a cream sauce, with a side of a special sweet bread and foie gras. They don't play around as you can thoroughly see. 

gordon's fancy galette. 
absolutely beautiful in front of the mayor's office. oh, and proof
i take pictures of things other then food ...

It was so nice to have Gordon here - very relaxing and low key, especially now that he knew what he was getting himself into.

School starts today! So as I write this I'm preparing to see some former students and meeting my new ones. I'm getting excited to start a routine because I feel a little like I'm on vacation, which is, don't get me wrong, fantastic, but not exactly realistic. I will work every day except Wednesday and have a bunch of tutoring gigs as well which will be great for some extra income. Tomorrow, there is a little get together at the lycée to meet the other foreign assistants which will be really fun. That is all for now - more to come once school picks up and I have some more pictures of ma vie.