Crystal Blue Persuasion
I’m not kidding about the color in Brittany. Everything is blue. It’s a cinematographer’s wet dream, a palette of dark blues, light blues and blue grays that forces everyone to unconsciously dress to match the surroundings. Against a background of ocean and sky, I look around at my crew and realize that all of us are appropriately and exclusively garbed in near matching shades of navy and gunmetal. You don’t think about it. When you wake up in Brittany, somehow, the color orange never occurs to you. Heading out the door in yellow or bright green or even brown would feel disrespectful of the elements.
So much of a place reveals itself off camera. It’s why I stopped taking photographs of my travels years ago. You miss everything. What you won’t see on the show — but should probably know about Brittany — is that always, constantly — in the moments between scenes, when the crew sits down for a break, when the show’s over, cameras put aside, there’s food. Delicious, delicious things coming at us from every direction. Mountain ranges of shellfish tower everywhere you look: oysters, lobsters, crabs, periwinkles, clams, shrimp and prawns.
Turbot and Dover sole beckon. Cheap but wonderful wines — as if issuing from some bottomless artisanal well — our glasses just seem to refill magically. The butter is so fresh and rich and so tasty you’d be happy to eat it with a spoon. There’s rough, country bread, sausages wrapped in buckwheat crepes, hard cider and apple brandy.
And cheese. Or should I say cheeses. They’re everywhere in this damn country and I can’t lay off the stuff. I can be jammed to the tonsils and when the cheeseboard passes by, wafting of an enchanting reek, I’ve got to have some. Soft, ripe, runny, stinky, moldy, plump and in every shape imaginable. Great cheese is a birthright here and there’s just no way to get through a meal without it.
And right after Brittany, we’re off to shoot the Provence show, where it’s gonna be more cheese and wine — this time the peppery Cote du Rhones I love. And pastis, of course, in between. Really — the only question for the crew is Canyon Ranch or Betty Ford when this trip is over. Or both?