The Coast

By the Atlantic coast the production of salt has a history going back several centuries. A couple of days by the sea will provide some of France’s best beaches, and for the sailing enthusiast, La Rochelle is where sailboats from all of Europe drop their anchor. The islands of Ile de Oleron and Ile de Re is the favoured summer paradise of the French. The coastal city St Martin has numerous small shops and many fabulous seafood restaurants. South of La Rochelle you will find villages like Royan, Talmont and Mortagne, all well worth a visit. This is the heaven for the oyster lovers, so eat all you want or go harvest them yourself in Marennes-Oleron. The history and culture of times past are evident in the whole region, bring some sea salt with you home (the variety with seaweed mixed in is exceptional) or just enjoy the seafood selections at the numerous speciality restaurants.

Due to its location by the bay of Biscay, the entire region of Cognac is known for its fresh seafood. Fish and shellfish is at the core of the regional cuisine, the oysters are probably the best there is. Add lobster, crayfish, varieties of grilled fish as well as steaming plates of other crustaceans and you will have a culinary experience of a lifetime. During springtime remember to sample the fresh asparagus and mushrooms, in the summer fresh vegetables are in abundance and autumn is the time varieties of game, preferably grilled, possibly on coal from old vines. The last speciality to be mentioned is goose liver, the fresh version. To accompany this delicacy we recommend Pineau des Charentes, an aged blend of grape juice and Cognac.