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Poitou-Charentes is known for its fields of sunflowers and corn but fruit and vegetables also grow in abundance. They can be bought direct from the farm or at one of the many local markets around the region. Also watch out for signs for maraîchers (market gardeners) across the region...

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With over 4,000 hectares dedicated to melon production, Poitou-Charentes is France’s foremost producer of melons; they have been cultivated here since the 16th century. Most common is the Charentais canteloupe but look out for the juicy Melon du Haut-Poitou - grown here for the past 150 years. This was the first French melon to be given an Indication Géographique Protégée, giving it and the area it is grown in an official recognition of quality. With its sunny micro-climate and soil blend, the Poitou-Charentes region provides ideal cultivation conditions for melons.



The town of Secondigny in the Deux-Sèvres is known for its ‘Pommes de Gâtine’. These include the Golden apple and Clochard (also known as the Reinette de Parthenay). This last apple is considered particularly delicious with a nectar-like taste and crisp, dry finish.



As well as the Île-de-Ré potato, a number of other vegetables have special status in the region, being granted the Signé Poitou-Charentes label. Look for them in local markets.

The Carotte de Jarnac-Champagne is grown by just a few producers in the commune of Jarnac-Champagne in the Charente-Maritime. They are known for their tenderness, yet they are also crisp and sweet.

The Echalion du Poitou (also called Echalion ‘Cuisse de Poulet du Poitou’ because of its chicken leg shape) is a member of the onion family and is a speciality of the Vienne. It is related to the shallot but has a softer, less aggressive taste.

Mojhette beans are small pearly-white kidney beans from the area around the Marais Poitevin in the Deux-Sèvres and the Charente-Maritime, where they are grown in marshlands reclaimed for agriculture in the mid-1800s. There are two types: the more common are the Mojhettes de Pont l’Abbé. The Rognons de L’Oise are considered tastier but must be eaten within 48 hours of being picked.

On the coast, you’ll see salicorne (samphire) a wild and succulent plant that grows along the seashore and in the salt marshes. This can be eaten raw or cooked and is often a coveted ingredient in expensive restaurants. Its salty taste goes well with seafood, particularly lobster.



Known as the ‘green terrine’, spinach leaves, sorrel, swiss chard cabbage leaves, fromage frais, onion, shallots and leek are chopped and blended, then ‘set’ in a terrine dish or a casserole dish known as a pot au feu. Sometimes, it includes strips of pork. It is usually eaten cold as a starter and can be found amongst the charcuterie.



A simple but delicious starter is a slice of melon, deseeded and sliced, and drizzled with pineau

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