QUIBERON – After three and a half hours on an early train from Paris and another hour on the bus, the idea of sitting around tourists and retirees in a restaurant didn’t really float my boat. Returning from a meeting to set up an outing with a gooseneck barnacle fisherman, I walked right in front of the solution: La Belle-Iloise cannery.
Five minutes and a six-can variety pack of sardines later – everything from the little silver fish marinated in muscadet to two peppers, olive oil and lemon – I was in business. Sitting on the seawall, I ate a tin of sardine ŕ la tomate served on pain Poilâne that I smuggled from Paris. Though there’s a fierce debate as to whether La Belle-Iloise or La Quiberonnaise makes the better sardine it didn’t seem to matter; in the space of five minutes, three people walked by jealously eyeing my picnic and smiling. One guy even offered up a “Bon Appetit!”
On the bus, I had listened to an interview with Alice Waters who extolled the virtues of both cooking and eating with friends, yet here I was, straddling the seawall by myself, getting a sense of place from a can.
Globe travel correspondent Joe Ray writes own blog, Eating The Motherland and contributes to the English language version of Simon Says!, the French food and lifestyle blog run by French food critic Francois Simon.