The Vendée has many delicacies to discover. We take you on a gastronomic getaway in Vendée.
The gastronomy of a country is the reflection of its geographical specificities, but also of its history. It is no coincidence that we speak of “ culinary identity ”. Tasting its regional specialties is a good way to soak up its culture, meet its producers and find good local products. We reveal a new facet of the Vendée to you, by exploring its terroirs and its culinary traditions.
Photos from Guide de la Vendée, unless otherwise stated
The Préfou comes from an old baking tradition. Originally, bakers used a little dough to test the heat of the oven. This unleavened bread remains fairly flat and it was not salable. To avoid wasting this food, this greedy bread was garnished with butter and garlic. The Préfou is born! Gradually it appeared on the stalls of bakeries. Today, he is one of the stars of the Vendée aperitif. Twenty years ago, its reputation spread beyond the borders of the Vendée. It is now consumed everywhere in France and its garnish evolves according to local customs!
La Grimâte is an ancestral family recipe. In the old days, each family would raise their pigs and they would come together to kill them and do this big chopping and cooking work together. As " everything is good in the pig ", they did not throw anything. The fat was cooked to make the lard. As some pieces resisted cooking, they were set aside and added the pork strawberry, part of the small intestine. They were then fried in lard for a long time, until they were crisp on the outside. The interior, composed mainly of fat, remains soft... Out of fashion in recent decades, it is making a comeback in traditional cold meats. It can be enjoyed as an aperitif, with a few oysters and accompanied by a white wine. It's a surprising mix!
Vendée is famous for its seafood. Mouclade is one of those essential dishes of the Vendée coast. To prepare a good mouclade, you need mussels from Vendée, Bouchot mussels, of course! They took the name of these wooden stakes which serve as their support, the “ bouchaus ”. What characterizes Mouclade is its sauce. It is made from white wine, crème fraîche, egg yolk and especially curry. It is a Vendée dish, with a touch of exoticism, which reminds us of this openness to the world of Atlantic ports.
Mouclade © Paul Einerhand Unsplash
The Vendée Hotpot is a rustic country dish. In the Vendée bocages, pig farming has developed. Famous salt and canning factories have set up shop. If Vendée ham is the star, other tasty cold cuts are produced there. The Vendée Hotpot consists of green cabbage, carrots, onions and Noirmoutier potatoes! The Bonnotte de Noirmoutier is a new potato perfect for making a good stew. You just have to add different pieces of pork: sausage, breast, shank...
Hotpot © IBU CC BY SA 4.0
Boudine is an andouille from the Vendée bocages, made with pork rinds. You can simply grill it on the barbecue or in a pan. To accompany it, a gray pumpkin from the Pays de Monts marshes roasted in the oven, Bonnotte de Noirmoutier potatoes, Vendée mogettes… Anything goes! You can also add it to your hotpot, replacing the sausage.
Boudine © Classiccardinal CC BY SA 4.0
The Fressure is a kind of pâté, which can be eaten with all kinds of sauces: as a starter with a salad, as a main course with potatoes, in mince pie... It is a mixture of blood, offal and pig's head, slowly cooked in several stages, finely chopped, then molded with a ladle. The preparation is long and delicate, we advise you to buy it as a charcuterie.
La Bignaie is a savory crepe. As is often the case in Vendée, the pork is the king of the plate! This pancake is therefore garnished with bacon. It's a very simple dish, but very convivial. Beforehand, the bacon must be desalted in milk. Then you make a pancake batter and incorporate your pieces of meat into it. Just cook it like an omelet. The traditional recipe is bacon, but you can add whatever makes you happy and even offer it in a sweet version!
Bignaie © pexels Eva Elijas
Halbran is reputed to be the oldest Vendée cheese. It is a cheese made from cow's milk, with a fairly mild taste. It is rubbed with potato starch, for its preservation, which gives it a significant ashy crust.
La Mizotte is the most typical of the Vendée. It is made from milk from cows raised on salt marshes. Then it is refined with the wine of Mareuil. It has a pretty strong taste and a strong smell! It is as good at the end of a meal as it is as a raclette with Noirmoutier potatoes.
The particularity of Tomme des Chouans is that it is the only cow's milk cheese from the Marais Poitevin, which mainly produces goat's milk cheeses. It has a fragrant and delicate flavor.
The seaweed spray cheese is amazing, since we add seaweed to it. Its milky taste is delicately enhanced with marine, slightly iodized notes.
Tomme des Chouans © Patafisik CC BY SA 3.0
La Gâche is a Vendée brioche. It is so emblematic of the Vendée that it has been classified as a “ Protected Geographical Indication ”. Composed of butter, cream and eggs, it is delicious, with a tight crumb. Its oval shape and golden color make it easy to recognize.
Gache de Vendée © Traaf CC BY-SA 2.0
Tourtisseaux are Vendée donuts. The recipe is a classic donut dough, but they are flavored with rum or a little local brandy. They require a growth stage of about two hours, before frying them and sprinkling them with icing sugar. In Vendée, they are prepared especially at Candlemas.
Tourtisseaux © Paul Lowry CC BY 2.0
La Fouace or Fouasse is a pastry halfway between brioche and cake. Its texture is both dense and soft. It's an Easter cake! It is generally scented with orange blossom, vanilla or brandy. It is a rather rich delicacy. It is served more for afternoon tea or coffee, than for dessert.
Fion is a traditional flan from the Vendée marshes. Rich in eggs, it is cooked especially at Easter and in spring. It is a recipe from vegetable farms, when the hens return. This mixture of eggs and milk with cinnamon and vanilla was called the " fionée ". Gradually, his name was shortened to give " Fion ". The custard is baked in a high-sided mold, garnished with dough.
Betchet is a soft cake, if eaten fresh. With its fairly compact dough, balls are formed which are baked in the oven. As it keeps very well, it was very popular with sailors from île d'Yeu. It becomes drier over time and is then steeped in coffee.
Surprisingly, prune tart is a dessert served at weddings on the île d'Yeu. It's hard to know why, since the island does not produce prunes! It is believed that the prunes of the Lot valley, traveled on the Garonne from Agen to Bordeaux, then they sailed back up by boat along the Atlantic coast before sailing to distant horizons. By the way, the sailors of the island of Yeu collected some for their own needs, because they keep for a long time, and distributed them to their families on the island.
Find all these good recipes on the Vendée culinary blog “ Une cuillérée pour papa ” (fr).
This tour of the territories, through its Vendée specialties, ends but it will continue on site, with pleasant tastings. We hope to have made you want to discover the gastronomy of the Vendée.