La Bretagne, ca te gagne!
Il etait une fois… once upon a time…
There was a sailing ship called Avontuur escaping the cold German winter to head South with its precious cargo as quickly as possible. The wind followed, until the ship neared the legendary green coast of Brittany. „You would pass this by?“ The wind was shocked. „This is not acceptable!“ The wind had a plan: it stirred itself into a frenzy out in the Bay of Biscay, exactly where the ship was headed. The ship had no choice but to seek shelter, anchoring in the Baie de Douarnenez.
It didn´t take long before curious fishermen approached to admire the ship´s fine lines, ask a few questions, learn her name, indiscrete questions about her age. Just as they were leaving, the ship´s cook leapt out of the galley shouting the magic word: KOUIGN AMANN!! The fishermen were startled to hear their favourite word (Butter Cake in the Breton language) and turned back with gleaming eyes. „We cannot go ashore, we are bound at anchor“, the cook explained. „How can it be? We are so close to one of the most mouth-watering delicacies of all Europe, yet we cannot taste it!“ She cried. They nodded, understanding the gravety of the situation. „On verra que est-ce que on peut faire…We will see what we can do…“ A happy chorus followed them back to shore: „Merciiiiiii!“
The ship buzzed with anticipation. Would the fishermen remember? Would they really deliver this world-renowned cake of butter, sugar and caramel with its unbelievable ratio of butter to everything else? Night fell over the quiet ship. „Kouign amann…“ the shipmates murmured in their sleep.
Another bright day illuminated the cliffs of Brittany. The ship was as busy as a beehive: greasing, rust-busting, oiling, splicing and whipping new gaskets, new safety lines, cleaning the galley, the fo´c´sle, cooking, monitoring the anchor, taking bearings, taking meteorological measurements, shipmates learning knots and lines in preparation for crossing the Bay of Biscay. They had almost forgotten their buttery dreams.
A lookout ran to the watch officer:“ Boat approaching starboard! A fishing vessel! The boat appears to have a bearing that will lead to sure collision! There is only one explanation… Someone call the cook!“
Painters were thrown onboard and the little fishing boat secured next to the Avontuur. The beaming faces of Yves and Jean-Claude appeared, eager to jump aboard and tour the ship. The crew were excited to welcome them. Sadly, rules and regulations stood in their way: much as the crew cannot step off the ship while only at anchor and not ´cleared in´, nor can anyone board the ship, even when bringing pure gold in the form of caramelised butter cake! As they stayed on their boat and the crew on their ship, bureaucracy could not stop the friendly exchange of tales about ships, ocean-crossings and the good old days. They met all the crew, offered advice about local carpenters and sailmakers, and as the evening breeze rocked their little boat, Jean-Claude finally reached into the the deckhouse and silence fell. With grin he emerged, proudly bearing a package containing TWO large Kouign Amanns, still warm from the organic bakery in the town of Crozon! „Il faut les manger tout suite! You must eat them soon!“ Yves insisted. The crew assured him that he had nothing to worry about: the kouign ammans would not see the sun set! The Captain emerged with a few souvenirs for the fishermen of this unexpected encounter. They cast off their painters and called back to the ship „Good luck, fair winds, and following seas!“ The crew replied „La Bretagne ca te Gagne!“Brittany will win you over! And that is a sure statement. The lookout reported: „Fishing vessel to starboard, heading away from us, our heroes of the Bay of Douarnenez!“
The crew gathered around the compass to share a slice of happiness: the very first tasting experience of long promising voyage to the West Indies.
-Giulia & Athena
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