I am on a countdown to our annual escape to France, and already hungry in anticipation of the food treats ahead. Not sure if it makes us dullards, or just greedy, but we have been to the same part for the past 3 summers, and still each year we find new places to try, new foodstuffs waiting to be tasted. The area around La Rochelle has done us proud on all counts in recent years, and expecting this year to be no exception.
Whilst I am really hoping for some new stuff, there are some old favourites most definitely worth a visit. If you’ve never been to the area (and La Rochelle is perfect for a quick weekend getaway) then some of my must do’s would be:
* The market at La Rochelle
Stunning looking building, fantastic produce, and great range. Cheese stall to do die for inside, and the foie gras pate with figs is on my treat list. Ok, so hate me. I wrote last year about when is local food not all right, and foie gras is one of those traditions that still divides. Not my photo, comes courtesy of mksfca on Flickr.
* Ice creams from Ernest in La Rochelle. Looking forward to seeing what new flavours he has this year, although the mojito sorbet is still calling to me
* Lunch at Bistrot du Marin in Saint Martin on the Ile de Ré, especially if the Cote de Boeuf is on. Go hungry.
* Exploring Brouage further. Really interesting walled town, that both happened to be near where we stayed, and got a lot of mentions in the book I was reading, Cod. And there is some terrific eating to be had, from high end to casual. Will be heading back.
* Head a bit inland and go to Cognac. Beautiful place, and almost obligatory to tour on the houses. We did Hennessey and it was great, even a little boat trip thrown in. Then head to Hotel Heritage for a great lunch, hopefully out on the terrace.
* For probably the best meal I’ve ever had at a “tourist attraction” I would head for the restaurant at the Corderie Royale in Rochefort. Fantastic lunch, great children’s menu with no sign of a burger but plenty of fresh fish.
So, those are my treats that I have in mind already, does anyone have anywhere in the area to recommend? I’m thinking this time we should experience the cooking of at least one of the family Coutanceau, as they do rather dominate La Rochelle, but with huge variety between father and sons. Any thoughts or recommendations gratefully received!
Now all I need is the arrival of HSA and HSU, which are my lovely house sitting aunt and uncle. More to follow on the foodstuffs I stock up on for their arrival!