Each region of France enjoys its own specialities, based on the produce that is successfully harvested from the land or sea, or that which is reared. Each dish can be served with a recommended regional wine, beer or cidre, which enhances the flavours and the dining experience.
On 26th to 28th September, the flavours of France are celebrated in the French Cuisine Festival and to mark this national celebration of good food, we wanted to highlight some of the best known dishes in Vendee.
Mussels, squid, oysters and fresh fish are the favourite dishes of this coastal area. The rich Atlantic seas have created a strong fishing tradition which continues along the west coast of France today. All the towns and resorts will include a seafood restaurant and a cycle ride along the coastal paths will uncover unspoilt fishing harbours which still play a vital role to the local communities today. Fish is typically served with a simple accompaniment, so it remains the star of the plate.
La Rochelle was a prominent trade port on the west coast of France and saw the introduction of many spices to French food. This influence continues today in a traditional dish called Mouclade, where locally caught mussels are served in a spiced curry sauce. It would certainly add a twist to your usual take away favourite!
Inland from the coast, Vendee is a rural region where cattle and sheep can be seen grazing on the open pastures. This means that meat dishes also play a prominent part in Vendee cuisine. Gammon, beef are included in many menus, as does rabbit and marsh mutton, from sheep that graze in Vendee’s salt marshes.
Meat is not the only produce of this rural region; there are also plenty of fresh vegetables. As Vendee boasts a unique microclimate, a wide range of fresh Mediterranean vegetables and delicious fruits can be bought from local markets. Grapes are a fruit associated with the Loire Valley, Vendee and Poitou regions, typically in the form of wines that may make the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
For those with a sweet tooth, Vendee brioche is not to be missed. This light buttery bread is traditionally sold as a plaited loaf and is delicious for breakfast. Variations with raisins, chocolate or custard fillings are also sold.
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