Poitou Charente is home to a whole host of wonderful growers, breeders and producers of top quality ingredients. Many have open door policies to welcome the public to learn about their work, have tastings and of a course the opportunity to purchase some of their produce. Below is a list of some that we will visit.
Oysters & mussels are farmed along the Charante-Maratime coastline with the largest concentration around Marennes-Oleron, 30 minutes south of La Rochelle. We will visit Mornac sur Seudre, perhaps one of the prettiest coastal villages in the region, to learn about oyster and mussel production, enjoy either freshly shucked oysters or the amazing and little known moules eclade. A method of cooking where mussels are barbedcued under pine leaves creating a truly unique flavour. https://parc-des-graves.jimdo.com/
Vinaigre de Pineau des Charentes. This stunning vinegar made by Francoise et Philippe Fleuriet at their property in Rouillac, close to Jarnac, is made with the same grapes used in the production of cognac and Pineau. They also make a range of conserves, chutneys and and syrups in their amazing home. http://www.francoisefleuriet.com
Goat Cheese is made throughout the whole of Poitou Charente including chabichou from Deux-sevres. We have several fabulous local producers selling a range of different goat cheeses. We will visit L’ecoferm de L’Azure where you can meet the goats as well as learn all about goat cheese production. It is a fabulous opportunity to get to know more about goats and their cheese. https://fr-fr.facebook.com/ecoferme.delazure
Pineau des Charentes is a fortified wine made by combining grape must and Cognac. It is produced exclusively in the Charente and Charente Maritime. Pineau is either rose or white always served chilled as an aperatif (or apero as it is known in France) in a similar way as sherry in Spain. It is my favourite product of the area and is simply heaven in a glass. It is also used in cooking and I will incorporate it in several dishes. We will visit Chateau de Plasson where will learn more about the production of both Pineau and Cognac as well taste the different varieties available. http://www.chateaudesplassons.fr/
For duck and foie gras check out http://www.bruno-bachelier.com/ They also have a wonderful cafe in the covered market in Angouleme (our nearest town) where they use their products to cook homemade dishes that are simple yet delicious.
Saffron grows well in the temperate climate of both the Charente and Charente Maritime where you will find several growers. Although the season for picking is limited to just a few days in October it is still worth a visit to talk to growers and check out some of the amazing products made with this fabulous spice. I make a strawberry and saffron jam that is really wonderfully and we can make this during one of our cooking classes.