Cuisine of Charente
There is little that beats sitting down to a local speciality dish while enjoying the scenery of the region in which it’s produced. The cuisine of Charente provides something to whet the appetite of even the most discerning diner, and since many of the ingredients come from the seas and farms of the area, there’s no better place to indulge than in a local café or restaurant.
Aside from its renowned Cognac, Charente also excels in the production of highly sought-after butter. Produced in the small village of Echire and with AOC certification, the slow cultured butter has a delicate taste complemented by a soft texture. Having been developed in the same manner for well over a century, the taste and prestige of the butter of Echire – which can transform a plate of simple vegetables into a deliciously subtle dish – comes in part from it 80% butterfat content. As such, its use in local dishes gives a refined flavour.
Cognac production is the speciality that is largely responsible for driving commerce and tourism to Charente, and continues to thrive both at home and abroad. Only those brandies produced in the region are entitled to take the name and, with such illustrious brands as Hennessy and Remy Martin enjoying global reputations, anything else would be but a poor imitation. The distillation and maturation processes are renowned and take time, yet the quality of the spirit ensures that those with patience will be duly rewarded.
With Charente’s position on the Atlantic coast, it’s no surprise that much of the area’s cuisine focuses on freshly prepared seafood. The renowned Mouclade cream often accompanies mussels and other dishes, a delicacy that can be found in many eateries throughout the region. In addition, oysters, scallops, and clams, as well as skate and sea bass can be savoured, with traditional recipes and accompaniments offering an authentic local dining experience.
For those with an appetite for desserts, the traditional tourteau fromage is a cheesecake that is not only distinctive in taste, but equally as original in appearance. Featuring a black crust that gives it a burnt appearance, the cheesecake is cooked from the flavoursome goat’s cheese produced in the region, and has its roots in the 19th century and the small district of Deux Sevres.