Eating and drinking in the Vendee are absolutely some of the highlights of any holiday to this beautiful area of the country, thanks to the richness and variety of the gastronomy on offer. Whether its deliciously sweet brioches or mussels and oysters from the Vendee Atlantic, the region is well stocked with the finest local produce, including its delicious Jambon de Vendee cuts of ham. Seafood lovers will be in heaven, surrounded by fine establishments trading in the highest-quality langoustines, sardines, tuna and sea-bass. Thanks to its location on the Atlantic coast, the Vendee is home to a veritable bevy of delights from the sea and many of the finest are caught fresh in the waters of L'Aiguillon Bay. Here, stout stakes planted firmly into the shallows hold within their grasps thousands of shellfish, just waiting to be plucked. It's definitely worth visiting the bay if you have time. There are great walking and cycle routes around its edge and you'll be able to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach before sampling the catch of the day at one of the fine eateries nearby. It's not just seafood for which the Vendee is known and the region's land-based foods are just as divine. Thanks to the plentiful nature of high-quality rural pastures in these parts, salt-meadow lamb and home-bred beef are just two of the delicacies you can enjoy, while the ducks of Challans are also revered across the land for the tenderness of their meat. Ask any Vendean and they'll likely say that the perfect way to start the day is with one of the previously mentioned brioches. These rich and tender pastries are popular across the whole of France, but in the Vendee you'll find some of the best - flavoured with orange flower water and served either as breakfast or dessert. If you still have room after that, also make sure that you sample the gaches, a pastry that is similar to brioche but with a heavier, fuller texture, and the delicious egg custard treats called flan maraichin.
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