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Taste Trip Around Ile de Ré

Written on : 09 May 2019
By : Clarisse Haurogné

Our exquisite French cuisine is highly praised throughout the world for its quality and originality. From traditional dishes to pastries and various alcohols, French cuisine is renowned in many fields. It is the different specialities of each region that contribute to the famous french heritage of great cuisine. Ile de Ré is a prime example of this, thanks to the harvesting of salt and the breeding of oysters which thrill the taste buds of the whole world. Ré la Blanche also offers fine gourmet thanks to the cultivation of vines and vegetable crops. These traditional activities that have helped to modify and shape the island's landscape over the centuries are now an integral part of this territory. So if you want to discover and taste local specialities during your stay on the beautiful Île de Ré, this article is made for you. Let's go to the four corners of the Île de Ré for a culinary journey that you will not soon forget!

Enjoy fresh oysters

Enjoy fresh oysters

Ile de Ré is the ideal place to enjoy seafood in abundance. You will find many oyster beds scattered throughout the entire island which are visible at low tide. About sixty oyster farmers work all year round to produce the best possible oysters, depending on the season and the tide. The farmers favour totally natural production methods that enable the oyster to be of superior quality and obtain an incomparable taste. There are several varieties of oysters such as the fine de claire (not very fleshy) and the special de claire (fleshy). Do not hesitate to chat with the farmers who will gladly talk to you about their passion and help you discover the different stages of production of this precious dish. It is therefore imperative to not leave Ré la Blanche without having tried this signature local delicacy. Oysters are also excellent for health because they contain all the vitamins, trace elements and mineral salts that the body needs to be in shape. You will be able to taste these oysters in the many oyster shacks located along the cycle trails. So don't hesitate to make a stop and enjoy a gourmet break!

Take a salty break

Take a salty break

The salt marshes extend for kilometres in the communes of Loix and Ars en Ré, to the north of Île de Ré. A white gold cultivated for a millennium and whose production has fluctuated greatly over the centuries. Recently, the younger generations of sauniers have taken possession of this clay territory in order to take over the activity of their ancestors and preserve the tradition. In a natural and preserved environment, these young salt farmers take up the skills of the previous generations in order to produce a superior quality salt that is totally natural. In addition to preserving this local heritage to which the local population is so attached, saltwork farming also makes it possible to protect a unique and precious fauna and flora such as the salicorn, a wild plant also known as the wild pickle used for gastronomic purposes. In the summer, you will probably have the chance to watch the salt workers perform the ancestral techniques in order to collect the salt by hand. Don't leave without your sample of flower salt and coarse salt to flavour your dishes!

Enjoy exceptional wine

Enjoy exceptional wine

Another key activity of the Retais heritage whose origins go back to Ancient Rome, the wine-growing. Ile de Ré enjoys ideal climatic conditions for the development of the vines. You will find vineyards as far as the eye can see, mainly concentrated in the south of the island, where red, rosé and white wines, cognac, sparkling wine and pineau are grown. A wide range of tastes and sensations that will delight wine lovers and enthusiasts. Discover the two star products of Ile de Ré: the Rosé des Dunes, perfect to accompany a seafood dish, and the pineau rosé or white Ilrhéa, ideal for an aperitif. The success of the Retais wine is mainly due to the ancestral craftsmanship of the winegrowers who work with respect for local biodiversity. A deep respect for nature rooted in the Retaise tradition that is found in every farm, production or culture. During your stay at Île de Ré, do not hesitate to come and discover the many vineyards whose owners will be pleased to show you around. Also stop between Sainte-Marie de Ré and Bois-plage to visit the distillery and learn more about the production and development of the various local wines, cognac and pineau. A free visit that will delight your taste buds!

Enjoy the PDO potato

Enjoy the PDO potato

This potato cultivated on the Island of Ré is a real success with consumers. The early potato is renowned for its inimitable taste with hints of sweetness, its fine and melting texture and its superior quality that meets all PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) quality criteria. The island began to take an interest in it in the 20th century, after the devastation of its vines by phylloxera, a species of insect that destroys vines. Its production flourished thanks to favourable climatic conditions and soil favourable to the cultivation of early potatoes and is now the main market gardening activity on the Île de Ré. This small size Ritaise potato is highly sought after by gastronomers. You will find them on the shelves of most local markets but also at the Bois Plage cooperative. However, be careful if you want to buy them because the PDO early potatoes do not last more than a week. Steamed, baked or browned, accompanied by a hint of fleur de sel, this little potato is a real delight!