Regional food of the Poitou-Charentes area


Poitou-Charentes, like so many of the French regions, is famous for its food. Seafood is an important part of the cuisine here, especially in the coastal towns such as La Rochelle. Sea bass, oysters, mussels and turbot are all widely caught in the waters off the Poitou-Charentes coast and feature heavily on restaurant menus.

The ideal destination for seafood fans, many of the regional restaurants serve freshly-caught fish which has only travelled a couple of miles to get from sea to table. Less popular with visitors to the region, snails, eels and frogs legs are also served in many eateries in this part of France. For those with less adventurous tastes, local beef and pork might be a better choice.

Vegetables commonly grown and consumed in the region include white beans, leeks and red onions and, of course, all the fresh salad vegetables you could imagine. Those staying in villas in France will almost certainly choose to cook most of their meals in their accommodation as the quality and price of the local seasonal produce is so appealing. The local goat's cheese is particularly good and can be served simply with fresh, crusty bread and a basic salad for a quick and easy lunch.

Those with a sweet tooth are well-catered for in Poitou-Charentes with many towns having wonderful chocolate shops full of handmade creations. Restaurant dessert menus are also a real treat with regional specialties such as Broye du Poitou a great end to any meal. The following recipe takes advantage of the excellent locally produced pork and regional cognac and is simple enough to cook on holiday if you're staying in one of the fantastic villas in France.

Côtes de porc aux pommes

Serves 6 6 pork chops 10 medium apples 300ml creme fraiche 50ml cognac 50ml good olive oil Green peppercorns in brine Dijon mustard Salt Heat two-thirds of the oil in a large frying pan. Sautée the chops for two minutes each side over a medium heat. Reduce the heat and cook for approx. eight minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. While the chops cook, peel, core and quarter the apples, then halve each quarter. Heat the rest of the oil in a non-stick pan and cook the apples over a low heat until soft. Lightly salt. Place the green peppers and brine, the cognac, mustard and creme fraiche into a saucepan and stir until well combined. Bring to the boil and cook for two minutes. Serve the chops with the apples then pour over the sauce.