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Specialities

One must not expect an excess of sophistication in Poitevan cuisine. Robust and generous, it is based on ancestral culinary traditions and local products : AOC-controlled butter, nut oil, goats' milk cheese, cabbage, “mojhettes” (white beans), “lumas” (snails), lamb and mutton, freshwater fish, crayfish, eels... Very simple and healthy stewed dishes form the main courses of timeless meals.

 

A famous traditional dish the visitor must taste is farci poitevin. Several variations of the recipe exist, but it generally consists of a terrine made of vegetables (essentially cabbage, but also with sorrel, spinach or chard, sometimes lettuce), bacon, and breadcrumbs or flour. Once baked, it is served in warm or cold slices.
The other gastronomic star is the most characteristic cheese from a region abundant in goats: chabichou. Its legendary origin has several historical references! It is said that after the defeat of the Saracen army against Charles Martel's troops in 732, many foreign warriors had established their families in the Poitou. As they herded goats, they invented a cheese called chabi -etymologically close to the Arabic word for goat chabli or chebli. Always present on the finest tables in Poitiers, chabichou, shaped like the bung of a cask, is eaten fresh or more or less ripe.

To end the meal on a sweet note, you can choose the traditional broyé. If you choose one that is appropriately baked, there is no need to cut this butter cake with a knife : it is traditionally shared by placing it on the table and breaking it with one single sharp punch in the centre: everyone can then help themselves !

Grimolée asks for more subtleness : finely sliced apples in a crêpe batter are then baked in the oven. In olden times, the batter was poured into a cabbage leaf which served as a mould.  This treat was generally prepared on bread-baking days using the remaining heat in the oven.

If you want to prepare a typically Poitevan menu, here is a suggestion along with a few recipes...

 

MENU

 

Sorrel soup
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Eel stew – beans à la crème
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Leg of mutton with garlic and spicy sauce - beans à la crème
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Assortment of goats' cheese
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Cheese Tourteau