In general, the French aren’t big on vegetarianism (and neither am I: I love seafood too damn much). They love their meat, and their philosophy is waste not, want not. They eat the brains, the tongue, the feet, the blood. Instead of chucking most of the animal into the bin as we Americans do, they turn it all into sausage, pâté, and all other sorts of lovely, rustic dishes. In my opinion, this is how it should be. It seems cavalier to take the life of another animal and unabashedly throw most of it out. Disrespectful, even.
However, as illogical and paradoxical as it may seem, there is a growing movement in France towards vegetarianism. I know, I know: it seems absurd to picture a French person without the inevitable sandwich au jambon beurre in their hand. However, proof of this phenomenon is right around the corner from my apartment in the form of the restaurant St.Germain des Champs.
This restaurant is one of the rare vegetarian restaurants in Rennes. In addition to being vegetarian, it is also completely bio (short for biologique, the French word for organic). I’ve walked past the restaurant many times and my eye was always drawn by the bright sign and the cheery Tibetan-esque (yes, I’m making up words) decor. I finally tried it recently with several friends, and the food is just as colorful as the interior decorations, I’m happy to report. I ordered the flan au ricotta et chevre which was served with braised fennel, purple cauliflower, a galette, roasted parsnips and carrot and a raw salad (which included watermelon radish, to my delight: see picture below).
I felt very full and very healthy afterwards, and was happy to know that all the ingredients used were local and in season: my favorite things. I would say I’ll go back soon, but there are just too many amazing-looking restaurants here to try.
Coming soon, a pizza dinner with friends, and the first tale of adventures in my own kitchen: my attempt at boeuf bourguinon……