Farine de blé noir de Bretagne® (buckwheat flour from Brittany) is a symbol of the region. Coming from a long tradition, it is made from buckwheat that is grown, stored and ground in Brittany.
What you need to know
Despite the name, buckwheat is not a cereal! It belongs to the same family as sorrel and rhubarb: polygonacae. Nonetheless, its nutritional properties are similar to those of wheat and it can be ground into flour. It originates from Asia Minor, appearing in Brittany in the 15th century. Its popularity peaked in the 19th century, when it became an essential part of the Breton diet. A low maintenance crop requiring no phytosanitary treatment, buckwheat gained ground and by the late 19th century, it made up 20% of crops in Côtes-d'Armor and Ille-et-Vilaine and a third of crops in Morbihan. The 20th century saw a decline in buckwheat however and to protect the traditional cultivation of this crop and their know-how, farmers joined forces and created the Farine Blé Noir de Bretagne organization. Their efforts were rewarded in 2010, when Farine de blé noir de Bretagne® was awarded PGI status.
For consumers, this guarantees that the buckwheat has been grown, stored and ground in Brittany (including historical Brittany, which includes Loire-Atlantique), as well as the absence of phytosanitary products and traceability from field to mill.
Buckwheat contains proteins and non-irritant soluble fibers. It is also rich in magnesium and in rutin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. Lastly, buckwheat flour does not contain gluten.
How to use
Tasting Tips Buckwheat flour from Brittany
Russians use it to make blinis, but it is also used in noodles, such as Japanese soba noodles. Finally in Brittany, galettes are prepared entirely with buckwheat flour and usually served with a savory filling like ham and shredded Emmental or "complète", that is with an egg added. Why not try something different by making a sweet galette with salted caramel toffee apple...
Savory: ham, Emmental, egg, bacon, Andouille sausage
Sweet: apple, caramel, honey
To drink: cider.