The taste of the island

by Katharina Woitczyk

Ile de Ré, these three words make one think of holidays, sun, surfing, sailing and of course beaches, many beaches. Apart from these typical holiday pleasures, the island is also known for its regional specialties and cuisine.

For many, many years, this isle off the coast of La Rochelle has been famous for its wine, its salt, also referred to as the “white gold of Ré” and of course its oysters, mussels and crustaceans. The growers of ile de Ré also cultivate salicornia, a plant that grows in the salt marshes and which is very popular as a side dish or condiment. Freshly harvested and fried salicornia has a taste somehow reminiscent of green beans.

The famous Ile de Ré potato is grown in the South of the Island. It is extremely popular with great chefs and benefits from its own AOP (Appellation of protected origin). Its season is May and June when it is sold on the numerous markets of the island but also on the “continent”.

Those who love to indulge in good food and wine will find their paradise on île de Ré, which offers a multitude of sport activities. Numerous bicycle paths make the healthy discovery of the Island easy and fun.

Ile de Ré can also be explored on a hike or horseback. Special paths reserved for horses cross the salt marshes and forest and end inevitably on the beach, which offers great occasions for a refreshing gallop!

Whatever the means of transport you chose to cross the island, you will surely remark the difference between the agricultural countryside of the South and the maritime countryside of the North.

Where the South is characterized by vineyards which stretch to the sea, the North is famous for its marshes and oysters.

In the following articles I have tried to dress the picture of the gastronomic landscape and inimitable lifestyle of Ile de Ré.