An explosion of flavours from the land
South Vendée Atlantic offers a vast array of delicious produce from the land, which you can buy from local producers or on the markets, or enjoy in our restaurants. To test without delay: the famous Préfou, a succulent bread speciality with garlic and butter; a local producer’s own fromage frais made with goat’s milk; traditionally-made jam; sweet-tasting melon; oysters and tidewater mussels; Mareuil wines; Kamok, a coffee-based drink you simply must try; gâche (Vendée brioche); and “mogette” haricot beans… Epicureans are sure to satisfy their desire for produce from the land!
Local producers and boutiques
Many local producers sell directly to customers in South Vendée Atlantic. In many cases, they have adopted a quality approach to satisfy an increasingly discerning clientele: Organic farming, Label Rouge quality label, AOC (Protected Designation of Origin) and IGP (Protected Geographical Indication), Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional etc.
If you want to try our local products, we have boutiques that specialise in their sale. Wherever you’re staying, you’ll find one nearby.
You simply must take some home with you…
Have a sweet tooth?
- Melon: for over a century now, Vendée has been a top producer of melons thanks to the dry marsh of the Marais Poitevin. Benefiting from generous sunshine, the Vendée melon is very sweet and tastes absolutely delicious. Savour it in summer, purchased directly from the producer at one of the melon stalls dotted all over the region!
- Marsh honey: a creamy taste and fairly typical flavour. Try marsh honey for breakfast spread on bread with slightly salted butter, or use it in place of sugar in your cake recipes. Test a honey that meets the criteria of the Marais Poitevin brand, Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional.
- Plaited brioche: it’s the leaven that makes the Vendée brioche so light. It’s other distinguishing characteristic is its plaited form that makes it easy to recognise. Enjoy it for dessert or for breakfast, or as a snack with the children or grandchildren. The best Vendée brioches carry the Protected Geographical Indication label (IGP, since 2003) or the Label Rouge brand.
- Gâche vendéenne: another Vendée brioche that is oval-shaped, slit along the top, and baked to a golden brown. Gâche vendéenne differs from other types of brioche because it contains crème fraîche which gives it a denser texture. It has been protected by an IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) since 2011.
- Gâteau minute: for surprise visitors, yesteryear’s housewives frequently made this “minute cake” which keeps well. It meant they always had a cake at hand, ready to serve within the minute. It was also a popular choice for big family get-togethers, weddings and communions.
Prefer savoury delights?
- Préfou: a Vendée speciality, Préfou is a flat loaf filled with garlic butter. It was invented by bakers who used to test their oven temperature with a small piece of virtually un-kneaded dough and came up with the idea of filling it with salted butter and garlic and serving it as nibbles. Nowadays, préfou comes in several versions: goat cheese, Roquefort, ham, etc. Heat it in the oven and serve it warm with an aperitif.
- Mogette: this haricot bean arrived from South America in the 16th century. It is a large, shiny bean with a very tender texture and a thin, fragile skin that tends to split when cooked. Mogette beans from Vendée boast the Label Rouge brand and an IGP since 2010. They taste great with the delicious jambon de Vendée (Vendée ham), or as a toastie (on a thick slice of toast rubbed with garlic and with a knob of salted butter melted on top, covered with the mogette beans).
- Poitevin farci: this is a vegetable pâté. It is made from finely-chopped leaf vegetables (sorrel, chard, cabbage, spinach, or even salad leaves) and herbs (parsley, onion, possibly garlic or leek), and bacon. It is bound with eggs and wrapped in large cabbage leaves before cooking. It is served cold as a starter, or hot as a main dish. A tempting experience? Head for the shop at the Maison du Maître de Digues in Chaillé-les-Marais.
- Market garden produce: South Vendée Atlantic is a market gardening region. Through the seasons, you’ll find carrots, green beans, tomatoes, cabbages, potatoes, onions, black radish, lettuces, strawberries, apples, melons, etc.. You can even pick your own vegetables at Mareuil-sur-Lay-Dissais.
- Cheese and dairy products: goat’s or cow’s milk, whatever your fancy, you’ll find a cheese to your taste… Our farmers sell their products directly at the markets, in the farm shops or directly from their homes!
Meat or fish?
- Jambon de Vendée: dried salted ham made from pork leg. It is prepared with sea salt flavoured with a blend of spices and condiments, and rubbed with brandy which gives it a special flavour, then pressed. It has been an IGP product since 2015. Some of the butchers and cold meat specialists of South Vendée Atlantic still make it using traditional methods. Enjoy it as a starter, raw and thinly sliced, with Vendée melon. Or for a main dish, cook a thick slice on the barbecue and serve it with mogette beans.
- Marsh eels: The eel is an emblematic fish of the Marais Poitevin. It’s delicious in a fricassee with butter, chopped garlic and parsley and washed down with a glass of white Mareuillais wine.
Prefer an aperitif with friends?
- Kamok liqueur: Kamok, an anagram of moka, is a coffee liqueur (40°) made from a recipe that’s more than 150 years old. It is an after-dinner drink but is also used in desserts and blended into cocktails. To be enjoyed all year round, in moderation.
- Trouspinette: a typical aperitif based on young blackthorn shoots steeped in brandy and wine. It can be purchased from some of the winegrowers. To be enjoyed all year round, in moderation.
- Mareuil wines – Fiefs Vendéens: We owe the “fiefs vendéens” AOC to Cardinal de Richelieu. The Cardinal donated his vineyards to local farmers when he was Bishop of Luçon. Today, the vineyard (AOC since 2011) produces the wines of 5 terroirs (Brem, Chantonnay, Pissotte, Vix and Mareuil-sur-Lay).
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