Finding Claire Corvaisier of Breizh Crêperie, soon to be located inside Minneapolis Cider Co., wasn’t a pre-planned thing – even though, as the cidery’s co-founder David O’Neill explained, they’d been wanting to get food into the taproom for a while.
As O’Neill’s business partner Jason Dayton adds, “Crepes and cider have been paired together for hundreds of years.”
Nonetheless, the native of France's Brittany region entered the picture more serendipitously than either is letting on, coming from across an ocean and, somehow, right down the hall.
Minneapolis Cider is located in a cavernous, stylishly converted warehouse that dates back to the 1940s. Its neighbors are diverse, including folks like graphic designers, furniture sales specialists, MinnPost and… the Minnesota chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce.
One day, Corvaisier was catering an event at the latter, who recommended her to the cider folks. And it turns out that she, too, had been searching for ciders that could hold a candle to those of her homeland.
Both found what they were looking for.
Breizh’s menu stacked with authentic crepes and galettes will become available starting next Monday, October 26 from inside the cidery seven days a week, including “brunch” on weekend mornings.
As Corvaisier explains, she didn’t tailor Breizh's offerings to go with Minneapolis Cider's product. It just… naturally does.
“When I told [O'Neill] about the fact that, you know, 'When we eat crepes we don't drink wine or beer – we drink cider. He was like, 'Really? It's cool to know that we can pair food with our cider.' And I thought, 'I'm excited to pair my food with your cider!'"
Each fork-and-sip provides the Twin Cities with an experience straight from the Brittany region of France, the same region that gave the world crepes and galettes. Though the two bear a resemblance to each other, galette is the more specific term for savory crepes made from a traditional buckwheat flour batter (rather than one made with wheat), which makes for a flavor entirely its own. The base is perfect for folding bigger, bolder ingredients inside.
Of course, there’s a Sweet Crepes section of the menu, where options like the Calvados Caramelized Apple, or Salted Caramel (replete with vanilla ice cream), or Caramelized Pear drizzled with dark chocolate ganache might more easily fit into our tidy conceptions of "crepes." The latter goes nicely with a Brut cider, as suggested by the house expert.
Splendid as those are (and, yes, they soar), Breizh’s galettes are the ticket. For a bright, toothy, earthy combo, check out the Prosciutto, in which the delicate buckwheat envelope holds emmental cheese, tomato wedges, arugula, and a drizzle of pesto. (Suggested beverage pairing: a pour of easy-going Orchard Blend, to balance out those mega-flavors.)
Interested in cutting straight to the soul of buckwheat itself? Try the Brie and Honey. It’s exactly like it sounds, and wants for nothing. Like all its compatriots, the galette arrives with a perfect and simple salad of greens dressed in a light, mustard vinaigrette.
Asked why this project came to fruition now, Corvaisier says that by offering food in the taproom that can vary from light to more substantive, savory to sweet, she and O’Neill are responding to calls they’ve been fielding from customers.
“With COVID, people like to be in a place and stay… they don't go for happy hour, and for dinner, and for drinks, and dessert,” she says. “It's kind of like they pick one place and they try to stay safe in one spot.”
By bringing its low-key French flair to the cidery’s community, Corvaisier, O’Neill, and Dayton hope Breizh Crêperie will satisfy all of those meal-snack-dessert options in one fell swoop, safely.
Minneapolis Cider Co.
701 SE 9th St., Minneapolis