The Marennes Oléron oyster, the star of the end of the year celebrations!

Marennes
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The Marennes Oléron o ...

Introductory photo: the Marennes Oléron basin, seen from the Seudre estuary


Unbeatable, the Marennes Oléron oyster is the queen of seafood platters during the festive season. Both an ambassador of good taste and a showcase of an ancestral and sustainable economic activity, Marennes Oléron is the only French oyster to be honored with Label Rouge recognition, which distinguishes superior quality products. In its breeding basin which extends over more than 3000 hectares between the Seudre and the island of Oléron, the oyster farmers work the “pebble” like a diamond, “from birth to sale”. At the beginning of December, the marathon begins for these professionals of the sea who enter the busiest period of the year. The oyster is a major festive product in the eyes of consumers and tons of this tasty shellfish will soon be shipped to the four corners of France to the delight of gourmets. Everyone is active in the twenty-seven municipalities of the appellation!


The good idea We offer several addresses to buy delicious Charente Maritime oysters, including Marennes oysters, directly from producers or in specialized stores.


Marennes Oléron  Marennes Oléron
Marennes Oléron, a land and a mark of excellence

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Know-how passed down from generation to generation

Marennes Oléron oysters  Marennes Oléron oysters
Marennes Oléron, a tasty oyster
The Seudre estuary
The Seudre estuary


With its 60,000 tonnes of oysters each year, the Marennes Oléron basin alone provides half of the national oyster production. Composed of around 6,000 hectares of oyster beds and 3,000 hectares of clears divided into 20,000 plots shared by a thousand companies, Marennes-Oléron is the leading oyster basin in Europe! This territory between land and sea claims loud and clear the gustatory excellence of its oysters which, not only have benefited for more than 10 years from the “Protected Geographical Indication” but also from two “Label Rouge” distinctions, the only ones to be recognized. to French oysters.


Red Label  Red Label


The first distinction, awarded in 1989, concerns the Fine de claire verte, moderately fleshy, round and generous. The Fine de claire Label Rouge has a characteristic green tint of its gills, testimony to its clear greening. This very particular color is obtained naturally thanks to the presence in the clears of the blue navicle, a micro algae filtered by the oyster which retains its pigment, the marennine. The second exceptional product awarded in 1998 concerns La Pousse en Claire Label Rouge, a high-end, fatty and tasty oyster which is the pride of oyster farmers. A taste like no other delights the palate of lovers of iodized flavors!


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The largest oyster basin in Europe

The village of Marennes Oléron and its refining basins  The village of Marennes Oléron and its refining basins
The village of Marennes Oléron and its refining basins


The geographical area for maturing, clearing and packaging Marennes Oléron oysters is spread over twenty-seven municipalities: 12 located on the right bank of the Seudre (Le Gua, Nieulle-sur-Seudre, Saint Just-Luzac, Marennes, Bourcefranc-le-Chapus, Hiers-Brouage, Moëze, Saint Froult, Port des Barques, Beaugeay, Soubise, Saint Nazaire), 12 towns located on the left bank of the Seudre (La Tremblade, Etaules, Chaillevette, L'Eguille, Arvert, Breuillet, Mornac) and 8 towns located on the island of Oléron (Saint Trojan, Grand Village, Le Château d'Oléron, Saint Pierre d'Oléron, Dolus, Saint Georges d'Oléron, La Brée les Bains and Saint Denis d'Oléron).


The good idea Discover our article on the specialties and products of the Charente Maritime region, including the delicious oyster.



La Tremblade  La Tremblade
La Tremblade
Oyster beds in the open sea
Oyster beds in the open sea


In most of these villages, it is possible to buy oysters directly from the parks from the producers and to taste them on the spot. A whole art of living! We sit in the front row, on the terrace of a straw hut, an oyster hut or a restaurant with a panoramic view of the sea or the marshes to savor a dozen oysters accompanied by buttered bread and 'a glass of white wine. A simple and authentic pleasure in Marennes Oléron!


The good idea Our selection of oyster bars and huts in Charente Maritime, to taste the region's oysters in the purest of traditions.


Foray into oyster land

Fort-Royer
Fort-Royer  Fort-Royer
Fort-Royer
Fort-Royer


The breeding of oysters is a long-term job since to arrive on your plates, the oyster knows a long and complex course of 3 years. To understand this rather particular breeding carried out in the open sea, several sites in the Marennes Oléron basin are essential to visit. The century-old village of Fort-Royer in Saint-Pierre d'Oléron and its colorful oyster huts literally immerse us in the confidential atmosphere of this ancestral island activity. Located in the heart of the Moëze - Oléron nature reserve, some forty oyster huts perpetuate the tradition in this timeless place, shaped by men and nature over the centuries. A still wild place that breathes tranquility and serenity!


The Baudissière channel
The Baudissière channel  The Baudissière channel
The Baudissière channel in Oléron


A little further south on Oléron, the oyster site of the Baudissière channel reveals a series of picturesque wooden huts where it is good to stroll to soak up this traditional culture, savor a plate of oysters fresh from the clearings or buy directly from the producers a few baskets to taste at home (and at a lower cost!)


City of the Oyster
City of the Oyster


Finally, to perfect our knowledge of this famous marine mollusk, head to the Cité de l'Huître de Marennes located 2.5 km from the entrance to the Cayenne channel, in the heart of the Marennes-Oléron marsh. In the small wooden cabins, so characteristic of the region, this lively, fun and educational “museum” offers visitors the chance to discover all the secrets of oysters and oyster farmers, their profession and their history. We discover an oyster farm and the “Chemin des Claires” , a marked path that crosses the Seudre marsh in a 3.5 km loop, between ripening clears, huts and irrigation channels. A beautiful iodine walk to learn all about oysters!


The good idea To go more lion, discover the museums of Charente Maritime, which presents the heritage, culture and know-how of this department between land and ocean.


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Article and photos prepared by Lesley Williamson for the Charente Maritime Guide


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