Behind the words, there is a watercolor of aromas and colors, lulled by the salty scent of the sea and the sweet song of the land. In Royan cuisine, names emerge that inevitably speak to the locals, as much as they awaken the senses and arouse the curiosity of tourists who come to spend their holidays in Charente-Maritime: terrée, pibales, cagoouilles, millas... Their little music sometimes bursts into the alleys of Royan market and their spelling lays on many leader cards. Discover our local products.
Fish and seafood: oysters and mussels in the spotlight
In a restaurant or in a cabin, big appetites are tempted by the seafood platters. They are overflowing with shellfish (cockles, winkles, whelks), crustaceans (grey shrimps, langoustines, brown crab) andMarennes-Oléron oysters. The particularity of these oysters? Refining. The oyster farmer immerses them in shallow basins initially intended for the harvesting of salt to develop its taste of the land. We don't forget the imperial shrimp of our marshes more commonly called gambas: the Rolls of local crustaceans. Strong in flesh, it can be cooked, grilled or flambéed.
The principle ofburst of mussels : the seafood, piled up on a wooden board, points upwards, are covered with a layer of dry pine needles passed over a flame. This gourmet bonfire of five to ten minutes leaves the shellfish to taste a delicious "smoky" taste. His name is sometimes confused with the muclade. It is a more common preparation which consists of impregnating the mussels with a juice cooked from eggs, shallots, garlic and fresh cream with a hint of Pineau des Charentes. Another culinary must on this part of the Atlantic coast: the famous “cahower”. A fish soup close, at least in spirit, to Provençal bouillabaisse. Also to be discovered are the pibales, eel larvae also known as "elvers", which can be cooked in butter, garlic and parsley.
Pineau, Cognac and Charentais Wines: grape marriages
Since Gallo-Roman times, men have been able to take advantage of the clay-limestone soils of the Royan wine-growing basin to produce wines and spirits, rewarded today with 3 appellations: the IGP label Charentais wines, the AOC Cognac and the AOC Pineau des Charentes.
The combination of the professionalism of the winegrowers and the aromatic palette of ancient or modern grape varieties allows in particular the revival of charentais wines. We thus find them today on the best tables of our territory.
Part of the wine production is assigned to the distillation of Cognac whose appellation is world famous. The know-how of the elaboration of this wine eau-de-vie has been listed in the inventory of the intangible cultural heritage of France since 2020. Unbeatable regional aperitif, the Pineau des Charentes results from a subtle blend of young Cognac and grape must (juice not yet fermented). The diversity of the terroirs and the experience of the winegrowers make it possible to produce a liqueur wine of excellent quality.
Other local specialties: melon, meats and condiments
Le charentais melon is grown mainly on agricultural land in the south of the Pays Royannais. It settles on the stalls of local markets to open the summer season. For the starter or the dessert, you have to know how to choose it. To each his own technique: we breathe in his perfume, we feel his bark...
On the banks of the Gironde, farmers traditionally raiseestuary lamb. It grazes on marshes from March to November. This iodized meat owes its quality to the commitment of its breeders to rationalize their farming methods while respecting the environment.
Le charentais cricket is a pork pie flavored with garlic and pepper. It is eaten as a starter on a nice slice of country bread. It takes its name from the pieces of grilled lean meat that make it up. It accompanies another typical dish of Charente-Maritime: Marennes-Oléron oysters. According to tradition, it is also eaten on the 1er May accompanied by a sprig of garlic.
" There balaclava, keto kole k’cheu? “, understand” the cagouille, what is it? ". It's the squirrel, the snail in good Charentais. Here, it is the fetish animal, so much so that the inhabitants of the 2 Charentes self-proclaim themselves "cagouillards". The recipe for Charentaise cagoilles is simple. They must be stuffed with sausage meat and simmered in tomato sauce.
To enhance the taste of dishes, we use the flower of salt which is harvested on the surface of the marshes at the end of the day. This 100% natural product has only one motto: “less but better”. We also consume glasswort, the “pickle of the sea” which invades the marshes with the fine weather. It can be eaten plain or as a condiment (in vinegar in a jar).
In Royan, wonders of dessert
Before moving on to dessert, a short cheese break with the littered. This cheese is made from cow's milk. Between the month of May and the month of June, the producer therefore picks up the rushes himself in which he will ladle the curdled milk by hand. They are then sorted, calibrated and then cut before being sewn by machine. These cheeses have a grassy taste. The natural rush must be eaten within 48 hours either sweet or salty.
In a sweeter register, we find in particular the famous Galette Charentaise, angelica butter, this herb with angelica with slightly peppery, spicy and musky notes. Let us also quote wonders (donuts), the royannette (chocolate sardines) and the cult “ broken wood ". These boiled sugar candies, originally from Saint-Jean d'Angély, whose stretched shape is reminiscent of sticks drawn up on the coast from the ocean. You can also finish the meal with the traditional “ millas charentais at the family table.