Ré, an island of flavours and fragrances
Bursting with light and caressed by ocean winds, steeped in iodine and sunshine, Ré La Blanche has been spoiled by nature. Aside from its beauty, it offers the riches of the land and sea, allowing its population to provide for itself and develop an economy based on authentic flavours.
The AOP new potato
It needs no introduction! Ile de Ré’s little potato has earned its stripes. Officially AOP (French certification -protected designation of origin) since 1998, it is always eagerly awaited and popular with food service professionals and connoisseurs, who each year are delighted to see the little turquoise crate stamped Ile de Ré arrive at their door.
An ancestral cultivation started by Cistercian monks in the 13th century, vineyards are part of the landscape and really flourish thanks to exemplary sunshine, a temperate climate and chalky, sandy soil ensuring the diversity of grapes. Red, white or rosé, the wines, pineaux and cognacs do not lack personality.
To ensure the economic development of the vines, Ile de Ré’s vineyards grouped together as a cooperative in 1950.
In 2019, after two years of conversion, Ré is now proud to produce an organic rosé wine: l’Azuré.
In the South of France, no real aperitif is complete without it. Did it get lost on the island? Definitely not! Ile de Ré simply created its own! Developed with the same care as a noble wine, it is the fruit of the combination of organic herbs, liquorice and of course fennel grown on the island, for a truly unique taste! Try it at La Baronnie Hôtel & Spa**** bar.
Developed in 1996, the island’s beers are made using 100% French malt and hop. Refreshing and highly appreciated, Blanche de Ré is without doubt the most well-known. But L’Ambrée and La Déferlante will also win over connoisseurs, as will the two special beers and organic options.
“Spéciale de claire“, “Fine de claire”, open water, size No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and even “cocktail“… crunchy, fleshy and of course remarkably fresh, Ile de Ré’s oysters are a delicious treat for any occasion.
You’ll find them everywhere: on the markets, in the island’s restaurants or directly from the oyster farmers and their now famous “shacks“. Check out: “Les Copains Babord” and “La Cabane océane” in La Flotte, “La Ferme des Baleines” in Saint-Clément, and many others you will come across as you explore seaside tracks.
A super-short cycle for unparalleled pleasure: a glass of fruity white wine, oysters, sun and sea… What more could you want?!
In the middle of the 19th century, there were up to 1,000 salt merchants on the island who produced around 30,000 tonnes of course salt. There are only around 70 left today. They belong to the Coopérative des Sauniers and still have the same passion for this white gold gifted by the sea. 100% natural, salt is harvested in the traditional way. Course and grey for cooking or pure and translucent white precious fleur de sel, used to season lightly browned new potatoes. And most importantly 100% made on Ile de Ré!
Sea asparagus, the vegetable that comes from the sea
After white gold, we have green gold! And one’s never far from the other because sea asparagus needs salt to survive. It flourishes in salt marshes. This plant with a special shape is also known as “pickleweed” or “sea beans“. Because its taste varies depending on the season (spring and summer) during which it is harvested. It is now grown by Cédric Fortunier at Rive Saline. Check it out at “La Ferme des Baleines“.
Algae and herbs
Algae come from the sea and can be prepared in many different ways. It is virtuously farmed in Ars en Ré by a couple of enthusiasts, founders of the start-up “Algorythme“, who have made it their business to blow us away with new flavours and to protect the plant and the fragile marine ecosystem. Whether in herbal teas or as a vegetable side dish, algae is surprising and refined!
Herbs prefer solid ground and grow on the land of “L’Estancia Bel-Air“, an extraordinary place in Loix, where herbs grow in a way which is respectful of their natural environment and are loved for what they are: flavour-filled treasures and fragrances which bring dishes to life.
All kinds of gourmet treats
Honey, jams, biscuits and chocolate… everyone loves them!
Established in Loix, the “L’Abeille de Ré” apiary produces and harvests six different types of honey and proposes tasty specialities, without forgetting to raise public awareness about the wonderful world of bees.
It is passionate about jam, the real stuff, filled with fruit rather than sugar. Melgie runs a shop in Bois-Plage. Through her brand “Les Confitures de Lydie” she proposes a vast variety of recipes, turning the most humble slice of bread and jam into a fruity delicacy.
If it’s biscuits you’re looking for, then make your way to Sainte-Marie. It is there, at “La Biscuiterie de Ré“, that you can taste Ile de Ré’s shortbread, the galette charentaise, almond biscuits, brioche and cakes of all kinds. You won’t know which to choose! But don’t worry, everything is natural, with no artificial colours or preservatives and made in accordance with traditions, so you can enjoy them to your heart’s content.
For more than 25 years, “Ile de Ré Chocolats” has been making chocolate obviously, but also salted caramels (from Ile de Ré). Discover the numerous specialities on offer including pilotis de sel or potatoes grown on Ile de Ré, not to mention mussels, oysters and galet… The list is long!
Bringing together the land and sea, Ile de Ré wants for nothing!
You’ll find plenty of the island’s delicacies on the La Baronnie Hôtel & Spa**** breakfast menu. As for the hotel team, they can share all the must-try restaurants and secrets of Ile de Ré’s gastronomy.