Another day in Brittany and we are hoping to see a range of cows. Those lovely Red Pied cows from yesterday’s post are not the only pied cattle of Brittany – the prized sighting tonight will be spotting one of the Pie Noir.
This breed was on the brink of extinction not long ago and at around 1600 head the herd is still small, but these bovines have attracted the support of some dedicated foodies who are credited with its re-emergence. They are celebrated for their hardiness, their fertility, and the creaminess of their milk (the cows, that is, although perhaps the same could be said of their champions, the foodies). The milk is used to produce cheese and the local yoghurt, gwell. “Huh, yoghurt, whatevs” I hear you scoff, but food blogger Carly describes gwell as one of the “five best dishes” she ate at a Slow Food conference. You can read more about the Pie Noir and how its comeback has been carefully managed at the Slowfood Foundation page.
I don’t want to get over-excited with expectations of an abundance of cows, but we might also get a glimpse of Maine Anjou. The breed was developed in this corner of France and were prized for their milking ability and docility (just as well, because they look big) but are now largely used for beef production1. They come in a variety of colours so take a look at the rotating header images on the home page of the Maine-Anjou Society of Australia to familiarise yourself with them for spotting.
Image: Beachside Retreat
Hopefully the butter cake you made yesterday will keep you going through this stage – remember to let us know of any cows spotted!
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