Receipts. Buckwheat, the small seed that has everything of a big one

A botanical precision before lighting the billig (the Breton plate on which pancakes and pancakes are cooked): buckwheat is a flowering plant of the Polygonaceae family. A scholarly name that reflects the angular shape of the seeds. The arrival in France of the nutty-tasting polygon from China remains a subject of debate. The plant would have been imported by the Crusaders or the Vikings. One thing is certain: buckwheat took root in the Middle Ages in Brittany, but also in Auvergne, Limousin and Normandy.

Devoid of gluten, buckwheat, on its own, is not suitable for bread-making. Its seeds reduced to flour, on the other hand, make it possible to make pancakes called galettes in upper Brittany, bourriols in Cantal and Rouergue or even crozets in Savoie. Everywhere, these nutritious specialties become the daily bread of workers, laborers and peasants.

A Protected Geographical Indication since 2010

Ironically, in the post-war period, buckwheat eats its black bread. Planted in abundance by the Bretons, its cultivation was almost abandoned in favor of corn and wheat, which were more profitable in the context of intensive agriculture. It was not until the 1980s that producers, pushed by Breton millers, replanted buckwheat. The sector then came together in an association which campaigned and in 2010 obtained a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for the « buckwheat flour from Brittany » from the five departments that once made up the region. Today, cultivated areas represent between 3,000 and 4,000 hectares. A renaissance that is not enough to satisfy French consumption. Breton production must therefore face competition – not always clearly displayed – from flour from Eastern Europe and China. But it should continue to progress as the agronomic advantages of the “100-day plant” are so precious. The cultivation of this hardy plant does not require phytosanitary products and its high covering power limits the presence of invasive plants.

Its taste and nutritional qualities are not to be outdone. With a slightly bitter flavor when ground, buckwheat is especially up to date: the absence of gluten has become a major asset. Rich in protein, fiber and vitamins, it is also packed with amino acids and antioxidants. On the plate, buckwheat is no longer confined to the pancake pan. It comes in pasta, sweet or savory biscuits. It can also be transformed into glass (see our products opposite). Pleasing to the palate, it is just as pleasing to the eye. In summer, buckwheat turns from green to white and pink when it flowers, then to red when it reaches maturity. Beautiful, good and healthy, buckwheat definitely does everything well.

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Buckwheat blinis

Preparation : 15 mins
Cooking : 20 mins
Rests : 30 min Difficulty: easy
Ingredients for 6 people. 200 g of buckwheat flour, 10 cl of milk, 1 plain yogurt, ½ sachet of baking powder, 3 eggs, 1 drizzle of olive oil, 1 pinch of salt.

  1. In a bowl, pour the plain yogurt. Add the sifted buckwheat flour, the baking powder and the pinch of salt. Mix, then pour the beaten eggs into an omelette. Beat with a whisk, then thin out little by little with the milk.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan. When it is very hot, place several small ladles of batter to form 3 to 4 blinis, depending on the size of your pan. When bubbles appear, flip the blinis. Let them cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Let the blinis cool before serving.
  4. You can accompany them with smoked salmon, tuna mousse, fresh goat cheese or Roquefort cheese.

Icon TitleBeer. A fluffy blonde
Special feature of this brewery located in Rillieux-la-Pape, north-east of Lyon: the raw material, grown locally in organic farming, does not go through the malting stage (grain germination). In addition to saving water and electricity, this original process makes it possible to obtain more distinctive flavors. 100% Buckwheat is a bottom-fermented blond beer, soft and mellow, with aromas of hazelnut and cereals.
Blonde Buckwheat 100%, Brasserie Dulion, 7.80 euros for 75 cl.

Icon TitleSpirits. A buckwheat whiskey
Near Quimper, the Distillerie des Menhirs launched the world’s first buckwheat whiskey in 2002. The choice of buckwheat is a real headache: its agricultural and alcohol yield is much lower than that of barley, and it is more difficult to malt and ferment. Eddu Silver, the first edition of the range, is 100% buckwheat aged for five years in oak barrels that have previously contained cognac. The result is unctuous and fruity with notes of apple, orange peel and candied apricot.
Whiskey Eddu, Distillerie des Menhirs, 44 euros for 70 cl.


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