With its marshlands, fertile soil and incredible terroir, the department of Deux-Sèvres is home to plenty of fantastic ingredients. You’ll love sitting down to enjoy the region’s plentiful dishes, specialties and culinary traditions, passed down through the years.
As the gateway to the marshlands which have shaped the region, the Poitevin area around Niort has plenty of history – and even more to delight the taste buds. With its abundant water supply, the region’s soil is perfect for growing an incredibly wide range of fruit and vegetables. From the field to the plate, from the garden to the table, local farmers know just how to produce beautifully fresh food. Angelica, one of Niort’s most well-known products, is often used in baking and to make desserts. It’s been grown on the banks of the Sèvre-Niortaise in the shade of the river’s poplar trees since the twelfth century; legend has it that it protected the city from the plague in the Middle Ages. Known for its medicinal properties, it’s also used to make delicious liqueurs and sweets. Whether candied in pastries or cooked in jams, creams, coulis, ice cream and sorbets, angelica is the region’s ultimate ingredient when it comes to sweet dishes! Another specialty, another story. Farci poitevin is a traditional dish which has been enjoyed for generations. Although there are as many recipes as there are cooks, it’s generally made from green vegetables (chard, sorrel, cabbage, spinach), flavored with herbs and bacon and includes eggs to bind the mixture together; it’s then covered in beautiful cabbage leaves. It’s sliced and eaten hot or cold with bread, like a terrine. You can’t stay in the Poitevin area without trying Mogettes beans: delicious white beans grown on the marshlands with a firm, smooth texture. They’re simmered for hours with onions, herbs, tomatoes and carrots to create a tasty, comforting dish. Snails of all sizes are also to be found in the region’s wetlands, along with the goats whose milk is used to make Chabichou, an AOP cheese with a distinctive flavor. With its white rind, smooth texture and conical shape, Chabichou is a delicious local cheese! There’s the Tourteau Fromager too: a cake with a blackened crust, made using fromage frais from goats or cows. Although its beautiful color was originally caused by a forgetful cook, the cake itself has a light, spongy texture and a delicate taste.
Just 20 minutes from Niort, Le Logis, the gourmet restaurant of the Hôtel Saint-Martin, serves local brandy and snails: just two examples of the tasty regional dishes. This historic stone building from the Middle Ages truly excels when it comes to hospitality and fine dining.