We start another long flat stage in Carhaix, Finistère – from Finis Terreæ or The End of the Earth. Quaint. And long, and flat.
Breton (or Brittany) cows have travelled the world, credited variously with giving rise to Quebec Jersey cows in Canada, Guinea cattle of Florida and even St Helier breed sent to New South Wales via the Channel Islands. They produce high butterfat, yellow milk and butter and have a yellow tinge in their skin. A small cow which gave milk up to 18 months after calving they were popular with small land holders.
Three days in Brittany have left your cow-respondents with an enduring craving for crepes and cider. Luckily – we knew just the place to put our cravings to rest for a few weeks at least , Roule Galette in Melbourne with its traditional buckwheat crepes. We *tried* to order cows’ milk cheese fillings – we really did! But they didn’t have any so we had to have goats cheese (which is more traditional anyway).
There aren’t many breeds that have inspired and artistic movement but Seiz Breur was an artistic movement founded in 1923 in Brittany. The name they chose refers to Ar Seiz Breur (The Seven Brothers), a folk-tale collected and published by Malivel in its Gallo language form. It tells the story of beautiful and virtuous young woman who finds her lost seven brothers, but is then victimised by an evil witch who turns the brothers into cows. One of the cows is a small Breton cow and “the young girl always loved best the Breton one”. She is seen by the king who marries her, but the witch throws her into a precipice. The witch also tries to make the king kill the Breton cow. However, the cows lead the king to their lost sister, who is restored, and the brothers regain human form.The story was interpreted as a metaphor for devotion to Brittany and of threats to its existence.
And as we leave Brittany – listen with split eardrums as Breton farmer, Didier, calls his cows in for milking (we can’t make this stuff up!).