The island of Noirmoutier has light sandy soil which produces excellent new potatoes. Sunshine & seaweed are two essential ingredients for early potatoes. A little-known potato variety known as the "caviar of the potato world". This old variety of potato but recently revived, is planted on one day in February, & harvested on one day in May. Just 100 tons are produced every year, mainly because they have to be picked by hand. It has a delicious salty flavor, and is also very rare and expensive. Once the residents of Noirmoitier are done with their annual hand-harvest of the tuber, they throw it its own festival.
A flat, slipper-like garlic bread
An aperitif flavoured with the leaves of the blackthorn.
The famous white haricot bean of the Vendee, are cooked by slowly simmering, and flavoured with garlic & herbs. Once cooked can be spread on toasted bread and served with generous slices of grilled local ham (Jambon Vendéen or gammon).
The ‘Mogette’ was awarded “IGP” status “Protected Geographical Indication” limits its productions to the Vendée and some parts of the Pays de Retz.
La Brioche Vendéenne
The Brioche is kind of a pride for the Vendean people. Sweet and flavoured with brandy, orange flower water or a mix of both. La Gâche, is the younger relative of the brioche, it's slightly different to brioche: more sugar, just as much butter and the addition of cream... making it denser.
Brioches and gâches are now protected by an IGP (Protected Geographical Indication).
Les Fiefs Vendéens & La Bière
The wine producers of the Vendee continue to work towards quality and the region is now credited with an AOC label guaranteeing the grape varieties and methods used in the “Fief Vendeen” wines. The Vendee is best known for its refreshing rosé wines (Mareuil, Brem, Chantonnay, Pissotte & Vix) and its light white wines (the AOC Gros Plant) served with sea-food & oysters.
- Mélusine – 6.5%- A blonde, flavoured with a little honey and angelica beer.
Fished in quantity off the Vendee coasts, the sardine has become the emblem of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie. It’s a charming sea resort but also the largest Atlantic Sardine Fishing Port. Each year over 2.500 tons of sardines are landed to be conserved. The canning company “la Perle de Dieux” produces tins of them in all sorts of subtle flavours. St Gilles Croix de Vie has been awarded with the Red Label.
Les Huîtres de l’Atlantique
Three basins (the Bay of Bourgneuf - Noirmoutier, Talmont Saint Hilaire and bay of L'Aiguillon) are oyster farming centers or oyster production. For example, every year about 10,000 tons of oysters are produced over almost 80 km.
La Fleur de Sel « L’or Blanc des Marais Salants »
Fleur de sel (pronounced “flure-de-SELL”) from the Noirmoutier region of France is known for its fine, highly irregular grains and mild brine flavor. Here it’s called “White Gold”. Fleur de sel is produced by collecting the thin layer of salt that rises to the surface of shallow pools of seawater along the coast. Salt or "white gold" is gathered at the edge of the salt pans using a large flat wooden rake called a "simoussi". The harvesting period is from May to September.