Within a few weeks of my arrival in Rennes, I began to hear talk of Apple Pie, an organic tea shop/restaurant owned by an Irish woman. Some of my fellow assistants had stumbled upon it accidentally, and quickly became obsessed. The girls I speak of are all from the UK, so they in particular were soothed by the presence of this cozy, bilingual tea house and its traditional Irish scones and tea. They praised its cute ambiance, warm atmosphere and delicious pastries. But more than anything, they lauded the kindness and sincerity of the propiotor.
Time passed, more friends discovered Apple Pie and sang its praises, but still I didn’t go. Finally, sometime around December I made it in there for an afternoon coffee with a friend. I was not disappointed: Apple Pie definitely lives up to its reputation. The interior is quaint and cozy: antique cake tiers full of scones and muffins are scattered amongst mismatched tea pots and saucers. The walls are decorated with beautiful photos of the proprietor’s farm, where the very flour that is used in the restaurant is milled. The tables are covered in vintage-looking mis-matched tablecloths and the napkins are nestled in quirky napkin rings. Everything about the place seems to say “welcome, come in, make yourself comfy.”
But nothing makes the atmosphere cozier than the propietor herself. Lisa hails from Ireland but has been living in France for 20 years. She is extremely warm, kind and outgoing, and makes every customer feel instantly at home. And she never fails to serve up a fresh vat of interesting stories, anecdotes and Irish wisdom along with her scones and tea.
But what makes me a particularly big fan of this spot is its commitment to local and sustainable food. As mentioned earlier, the flour is milled on Lisa’s organic farm located just outside the city. All of her produce, meat and other ingredients are also organic and locally-sourced.
I wouldn’t normally go this into-depth about a restaurant, but this place is like my imagination come to life. My time in France has made me so much more passionate about food and cooking and the vital connection between farm and fork. I hope to one day find my niche in this community of passionate cooks and farmers who foster mindful and sustainable cooking. I don’t have any clue, really, what I want to faire dans la vie (do with my life), but France is making me think more and more that I just want to live on a farm and grow things and cook and make jam all day. (I know, I’m a grandma trapped in a 24 year-old body). Lisa and her Apple Pie give me hope that this is possible. So, who knows that the future will bring. At least in the meantime, while I’m figuring it out, I have a place to go and eat good food…
Pictures: Flan with leeks, cabbage, quinoa and cheddar and a tuna melt with corn.