The specialties and local products to taste absolutely in Charente Maritime

Ars-en-Ré
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The gastronomy of a country reflects its land and its history . It is part of his identity. Browsing its territories, through its regional specialties , is a good way to immerse yourself in its culture , to meet its producers and to find good local products . We take you to discover the seafood from its coast and its islands, the oyster farms at the mouth of the Gironde, the angelic sweets of the Poitevin marsh in the land of Aunis, the wine-growing region of Saintonge, ... for inspire you with a gourmet getaway in Charente Maritime .

Opening photo: Lesley Williamson

Our selection of 15 Charente Maritime specialties


By the ocean, seafood is the star of the cuisine, but you will find many other delicacies there. We have selected about fifteen, salty or sweet, local products or traditional dishes. Here is an overview of the flavors and local dishes , to taste, in this department between land and sea .

  1. Oysters : This is our number 1. Normal, they are essential. They are the stars of the seafood platters, but they can also be eaten hot and au gratin… Our blogger takes you to the heart of the oyster farms . If you want to know everything about oyster farming, from oyster farming to tasting, visit the city of the oyster , in Marennes. One last good address to take a full look at the question: the Corre family welcomes you to La Flotte, on the Ile de Ré .
    Oysters
    Oysters from Charente Maritime. Photo Credit: Lesley Williamson

  2. Bouchot mussels : This is another emblematic shell. The mouclade and the eclade are more than typical recipes, they are part of the culture of Charente Maritime. We open the kitchens of a great chef to discover these culinary traditions .
    Eclade
    the Eclade of Mussels. Photo credit: Lesley Williamson

  3. Shrimps, crustaceans and fish : The ocean brings many other fruits than these famous shellfish. Charentaise gastronomy takes advantage of all the seafood which forms a basis for many traditional recipes.

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  4. The pibale : The estuary eel and the glass eel (its fry) are eaten fresh or smoked. Its rather fatty flesh is traditionally cooked in matelote , that is to say in wine.
    Pibale
    La Pibale is a little eel to be tasted sparingly, to preserve populations! Photo credit: Tamorlan CC BY 3.0

  5. Salt from Île de Ré : The salt marshes are an integral part of the coastal and island landscape. We set off to board the Ile de Ré in the footsteps of the salt workers' white gold .
    Salt
    The salt workers of Île de Ré at work, for an exceptional product.

  6. Charentaise seaweed : Seaweed is a seaweed still unknown in France, even if it is widely consumed in Asia and especially in Japan. In Ars-en-Ré, we put on our boots to pick these algae with multiple benefits .
    Algae
    Algae, to taste to fall in love with it! Photo credit: Lesley Williamson

  7. The salicornia : It is one of the rare plants which appreciate the salty environment and which grow on soils loaded with salt: beaches, salt marshes… Oyster farmers cultivate it in addition to their oyster production. It is eaten young, when it is still crunchy, in a salad. But it can also be blanched or candied.

  8. The potato from Île de Ré : In “ Protected Designation of Origin ”, it is a so-called “ early ” production because it is harvested young. If its thin and delicate skin does not allow long storage, it is eaten whole and its flesh is tasty.

  9. Charentais crickets : It is a kind of pâté, made from lean pieces of pork, which are left to candy for several hours. We simply spread a slice of country bread ...
    Crickets
    Charentais crickets, for charcuterie lovers. Photo credit: Conserverie Les Plats du Gîte

  10. Saintonge cagouilles : These are small gray snails, cooked with wine or Pineau de Charente.

  11. The Charentaise galette : This is a traditional cake from the Poitevin marshes , flavored with angelica.

  12. Cornuelles : These triangular dry cookies, with a hole in the center, are usually offered for Palm Sunday.

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  13. The "broken wood" The mistake a confectioner of the 19th century created this sweet cooked sugar, instead of a carton. Today it is famous and renowned far beyond the Charente.

  14. The Charentais melon : It is called "Charentais", but it grows in all the south and the center of France. If it is very sweet, it can be eaten from starter to dessert!

  15. The kiwi : The oceanic climate and sunny valleys are well suited to this fruit. Sweet and slightly tangy, it is an exceptional product. We invite you to meet a producer passionate about this little fruit .

Kiwi fruit
The kiwi is very happy in Charente Maritime. Photo credit: Lesley Williamson

The delicious beverages of Charente Maritime


As an aperitif, we recommend a Pineau des Charentes of course. Born in the 16th century, it is recognized by the "AOC". It is a liqueur wine , obtained when the fermentation of the grapes is stopped by the addition of alcohol. For Pineau, we use cognac. Pineau can be red, rosé or white. Pineau blanc tastes of honey and spices. Rosé and red Pineaux are more fruity.

This young vineyard offers a labeled “ Vin de Pays ”, in red, rosé and white. The red wines are very marked by red and black fruits. These are gourmet wines that complement grilled red meats or cold cuts. The rosés are fruity and accompany tapas or fish dishes. White wines have iodized notes and a floral scent, with a slight hint of citrus, which will pair wonderfully with a seafood platter or fish.

As a digestif, it will of course be a cognac . This “ burnt wine ” originally comes from the distillation of local wine, which is aged in oak barrels for at least two years. In “ Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée ”, it is the blend, carried out by the cellar master, that gives it its character and a longer aging gives it its letters of nobility.

Learn more >>>>>> To find out more, we will introduce you to the vineyards and the products of the Charente Maritime vineyards .


You will also find some local brewers who offer you interesting local beers. To be able to taste them directly from the producers , here is our selection of breweries .

Wines The wines of Charente Maritime, cognacs and aperitifs are a perfect accompaniment to the rich gastronomy of this region.

Meet the producers


To taste all these products, learn about their know-how and meet enthusiasts, here are our good addresses:

As a bonus: Less typical but more original, we invite you to discover a new breeding: the ostrich of Plants and Plumes, in Pommiers-Moulons .

Market The Royan Market, a must-see for gourmets, open almost every day! Photo credit: Lesley Williamson

Our discovery of Charentaise specialties is over! We hope to have made you want to continue it there with a tasting, during a gourmet getaway .

Did you like our article? Find more on our Blog . Follow us on the Facebook page of the Guide de la Charente Maritime and on Instagram @guidecharentemaritime.

Article written by Stéphanie Tempier for the Guide de la Charente Maritime.


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