Poitou Charentes’ most famous export is cognac – produced in the vineyards of the Charente valley. This liquor is also mixed with grape juice to produce sweet tasting pineau. The region produces several wines, including samur, haut poitou and blanc marine. The Loire Valley and all of the associated vineyards are all within striking distance (within 2 hours drive), such as Chinon (beautiful medieval fortress town, famous for red wine) and Ackerman (Saumur) with it’s famous Crement de Loire – superb sparkling wines to rival the best Champagnes.
The region boasts the largest oyster producing area in France thanks to its sunny climate and combination of seawater and fresh water. The dairies in the region produce the famous Charentes-Poitou butter and a huge number of goat’s cheeses. In the summer you can buy fresh local melons from markets and roadsides.
And, of course, even the smallest villages have an artisan boulangerie and / or patisserie selling fresh bread, pastries and tarts. Chiche boasts a rural gem behind the main street where the local baker produces a rustic selection of baguettes and pain grande accompanied by fresh croissants and pain au chocolat.