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La Chikolodenn: take home the Best of Brittany!

How about if we told you that there’s a place where you can find all your favourite Breton dishes, prepared in the time-honoured tradition, and just waiting for you to come and take them home? There is such a place! It’s La Chikolodenn, an artisan Carantec business transforming traditional dishes into tins and small glass jars of joy, so that those who love good food can appreciate it easily.

This year, (re)discover all the pleasures of Breton specialities!

Simple and authentic, the dishes on offer at La Chikolodenn are like an edible tribute to local produce. Inspired by seafood and local crops, the choice on offer threatens to overwhelm you: the famous Kig Ha Farz, tinned fish dishes, Langoustine Bisque and the Breton Sausage casserole from Molène - each recipe draws on the roots of Breton culture and local ingredients !

conserverie chikolodenn Carantec, Finistère Bretagne

An interview with Frédéric Aubin, the man who managed to get Kig Ha Farz into tins

How did La Chikolodenn come about?
In the beginning, we had a very simple idea: why not try to preserve Kig Ha Farz? Casseroles and Paëlla were available in tins, so why not try this iconic regional speciality, which surely deserved to be enjoyed by as many people as possible!
After that initial idea, my wife, Françoise, and I sold our restaurant 10 years ago - La Chaise du Curé, behind Carantec church. Since then, we have developed our family business, which we called La Chikolodenn after the traditional head-dress of St Pol de Léon; our range has gradually grown and expanded over the years.

You mentioned Kig Ha Farz. This dish is both typical of the region and very tasty, abd many people discover it for the first time at La Chikolodenn - can you tell us about it?
Kig ha Farz is THE dish you have to taste if you’re in north Finistère! You find it in the region known as ’Léon’, stretching from the west of Morlaix over to Brest; it’s an iconic regional dish. There’s meat (called ’Kig’ in Breton) and stuffing (’farz’) made from buckwheat flour; these are then cooked in a muslin bag placed into a casserole with vegetables. It’s similar to a dish called ’Mique’ from the Corrèze in the way it’s cooked. There are as many different recipes for Kig Ha Farz as there are chapels in Brittany! To prepare the version we use at La Chikolodenn, we follow to the letter the recipe of Françoise’s grandmother, who came from Cléder.
La Chikolodenn is an artisan-style tinning centre, but how is it different from the industrial tinning factories that also offer Breton dishes?
Here, everything is done by hand, there are no production lines. The quality of the produce is ensured by a human being in a way that’s not possible with machines. Our cooks turn the produce into dishes, which also explains why no two tins are exactly the same.
You offer traditional dishes from Brittany - what are your star ingredients?
We draw inspiration from everything in Brittany. Many of our recipes use the Pink Onions from Roscoff or the Paimpol Beans. Any seafood usually comes from the Roscoff fishermen, the langoustines (Dublin Bay Prawns) are from Le Guilvinec. We source our ingredients as closely as possible and as fresh as possible!

You’ve also developed a new range - could you tell us a little more about it?
Yes, we recently started to offer flavoured oils and vinegars such as Sunflower Oil flavoured with Breton Lobster, or Olive Oil with broom flower from Roc’h Trévézel and even Xérès Vinegar flavoured with gorse flowers from Roc’h Trédudon... you can’t get more local than that! The most recent addition to this range is Vinaigrette flaouvred with Tome cheese from Rhuys.

conserverie chikolodenn Carantec, Finistère Bretagne

The preserves are just one part of your work; what else do you offer?

We’ve launched another range called Taoledenn, named after the head-dress of the area around Carantec, Taulé, Henvic and Locquénolé. With this range, we now offer vacuum-packed dishes, which are sold in large supermarkets (mostly in Finistère).
We also play a role in local restaurants as we work in partnership with restaurants under the label ’A l’Aise Breizh Café’. We all share a passion for Brittany, and strive to preserve the cultural identity by promoting the flavours of the region. To make this project happen, I drew up a menu for ’A l’Aise Breizh Café’ in Vannes and again in Brest, on the harbour.
We also offer a catering service for weddings and private functions. This part of our work enables us to move beyond Breton dishes and also to respond to the wishes and tastes of individual clients.
Perhaps, to tempt to tastebuds of those reading this page, we could share a recipe for one of our dishes, that you could try at home?

Recipe for Seabass with Paimpol Beans, for 4 people

You will need:

  • 1 line-caught seabass of about 1 kg
  • 4 thinly-sliced rasher of smoky bacon
  • 1 tin of Paimpol Beans
    Method:
  • 1. Ask your fishmonger to lift off the fillets and remove the skin from your seabass
  • 2. Use tweezers to remove the bones, then cut each fillets in half
  • 3. Roll each piece of fish in a rasher of bacon and then pan-fry
  • 4. Heat the Paimpol beans in a saucepan
  • 5. Dress 4 plates with the hot beans and lay the Seabass on top
  • 6. Serve nice and hot (perhaps with a fine gravy reduction)
    An ideal wine to accompany this dish would be Saumur champigny

Where can we buy your products?

In various delicatessen stores in the region (there’s a list on our website). You can also buy directly from us on-site.

Practical Info

La Chikolodenn
ZA de Kerinec 29660 Carantec
Tel : 02 98 72 22 67
www.conserves-lachikolodenn.com

On-site boutique opening hours
in Summer: Monday to Saturday, 9am-12pm and 2-6pm
in Winter: Monday to Friday, 9am-12pm and 2-6pm
Frédéric Traiteur (outside catering service): www.frederic-traiteur.com