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An island of delights

An island of delights

Discover the island and all its delicious flavours with tastings of quality local produce!

Fine dining, a bistro, a meal out on a terrace overlooking the harbour or on the seaside, an oyster hut hidden in the marshes? There are so many ways to tickle your tastebuds and try the local delicacies of the Ile de Ré.

RESPECT FOR TRADITION AND UNBEATABLE TASTE

Since the arrival of the Cistercian monks in the 12th century, wine-growing, salt production, market gardening and oyster farming have shaped these uncommonly beautiful landscapes and forged the savoir-faire that is still so central to the authentic identity of the Ile de Ré.

Across land and sea, viniculture, salt production and use of natural marine resources bring income to the island. These age-old practices play an essential role in keeping the island economy healthy and ensuring that this ancient knowledge continues to be handed down through the generations.

SALT PRODUCTION

SALT PRODUCTION

In the North of the island, the salt marshes of Loix and Ars en Ré stretch as far as the eye can see. Since ancient times, the "white gold" of the island has been cultivated here: the sea salt and the fine "fleur de sel", which adds a delicate flavour to local dishes. In high summer, almost 90 saltworkers harvest the salt by hand over an area of 400 hectares, working until sundown with exactly the same methods as their ancestors once used.

OYSTER FARMING

All around the island, the 62 oyster farmers of the Ile de Ré work in harmony with the natural cycles of the sea and tides to produce 6000 tonnes of oysters per annum, which is almost 4% of France's total oyster production. The oysters start their lives in the sea, then mature in the oyster beds or marshes to absorb the water's rich green colour and hints of sea spray and hazelnut. They can then be tasted in the oyster huts along the cycle paths, the perfect place for a delicious bite to eat.

VINICULTURE

VINICULTURE

Across 580 hectares of vineyards, nearly 60 wine-growers have come together to form a cooperative winery offering a wide range of wines, Pineau and cognac, to showcase the best of the Charente-Maritime region of Western France. The first vintages made with bioculture, infused with a deep connection to nature, are hugely commercially successful.

MARKET GARDENING

MARKET GARDENING

Founded in 1933, the market garden cooperative brings together the fresh produce of various farmers. The pride and joy of Ile de Ré market gardeners is the Pomme de Terre Primeur potato: small, soft, sweet, and with a hint of hazelnut, in 1998 it became the first fresh product in France to be awarded the A.O.C. (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, or Registered Designation of Origin) label by INAO (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine, or National Institute of Designations of Origin).