Charente-Maritime Cuisine and Wine

Ile de Re salt, the fleur de sel is the fine top layer of salt and highly prized amongst chefs

Seafood is an important part of the cuisine of Charente-Maritime as a look at the quayside restaurants of La Rochelle with their menus of sea bass and turbot and Marennes-Oleron oysters will confirm.

Look for langoustines from Oleron, caviar from Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde and try local favourite, ‘moules au Pineau’ - mussels cooked with tomatoes, Pineau, garlic and parsley.

Early new potatoes from Ile de Re are known for their buttery flavour and salt from Re’s marshes is respected for its high quality.

From the Marais come melons, Parthenay beef, eels, white mojhettes beans and red onions from Niort along with small creamy Chabichou goats’ cheese, and desserts and sorbet flavoured with angelica.

‘Broye du Poitou’ is an interesting dessert (literally crushed of Poitou) as it is broken instead of cut to be served.

Enjoy your meals with one of the red, white and rose wines from the Thouars area which are similar to those of Anjou, after an aperitif of Pineau (made from mixing sweet, unfermented grape juice with Cognac brandy). Cognac from the vineyards on the sandy soils of Ile de Re is thought by some to have a hint of iodine from the sea in its flavour.

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