Chouchen - Gastro Obscura



Ancient Celtic settlers brought this honey-based drink to Brittany.

Locals in the French region of Brittany know their home as Breizh, from the ancient Celtic language of Breton. Celtic tribes originally settled the northwestern peninsula thousands of years ago, long before the area was conquered by France. Even after Brittany was officially incorporated into a unified French state, its rich Celtic heritage continued to give the region an identity unique from the rest of the country.

One enduring element of influence comes in a glass; it’s the region’s specialty mead, known as chouchen. Drinkers often enjoy the fermented honey beverage chilled as a refreshing, earthy aperitif. Folklore says chouchen was considered an aphrodisiac and elixir of eternal life, but also that it used to be poisoned with bee stingers. Either way, the modern rendition is neither a proven love potion, nor laced with bee parts.

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