You cannot visit a country or a region without discovering its gastronomy and the Camargue will not disappoint. Its wide range of Mediterranean cuisine mixes foods influenced by both the land and sea as well as from the salt marshes and rice fields.
By hiring a canal boat and travelling through the region you’re in the perfect position to discover them all. Below is by no means the complete offering...but instead is our list of the local products not to be missed while on your canal boat holiday...
A visit to the 'Salins du Midi'©
groupe salins du midi
The salt of Camargue :
Did you know that the salt production within the Camargue region is all down to the monks who settled in the area way back under Louis IX reign. A must see visit should be to discover the secrets of ‘white gold’...that is the ‘Salins du Midi’ which is located facing our Nicols base at Aigues Mortes! They are within walking distance and you’ll enjoy a ride on a small train through the salty land and pink waters – giving a full understanding of how salt is produced.
The first production of rice in the Camargue dates back to the end of the 16th century, when King Henry IV ordered the development of the crop.
Several centuries later and the cultivation of rice is still key to the area and has become as iconic as the bulls and white horses of the Camargue. The different varieties of rice all benefit from the ideal growing conditions – humidity and sunshine – to develop their taste qualities. Varieties grown included round rice, long rice, red rice....there are even some local producers of red rice beer!
To find out everything you’d want to know about this famous Camargue product head to the Maison du Riz in Albaron. Here you can enjoy a fun and educational visit to their rice farm.
You can moor your canal boat either in St Gilles or at the foot of the Château d'Avignon on the Canal du Rhone in Sète. From here by bike it is about 7km from your mooring point.
For more information and to book visit: www.maisonduriz.com
Camargue rice© maison du riz
Products of the sea
Oysters from Bouzigues, mussels, tellines, fish from the sea at the port of Grau du Roi… the Camargue is a fish lovers paradise!
If your chosen route for your canal boating holiday leads you to the Etang du Thau lake then make sure you stop in the village of Bouzigues – home to oyster arming within the Etang since 1925. Nowadays the Etang produces more than 12,000 tons of oysters per year! Many restaurants serve these delicious oysters keeping that great flavour they are renowned for.
At the harbour there is also a museum and if you’re travelling in the summer then don’t miss the Bouzigues Oyster Fair which runs the second weekend of August every year!
Oyster park at Bouzigues©
Other regional products and vineyards
It is impossible to spend your holidays in the Camargue and not taste some of the other special southern flavours on offer:
- Asparagus Célestine Camargue or ‘Asperge des Sables’ has been grown in France since the 15th century. This white asparagus is popular with chefs for its straight shape and fragrant flavour. The region of Gard has for several years been the leading national producer.
- Olive oil: yet another culinary emblem of the south of France! The olive oil produced at Nimes is protected by a PDO which certifies its traditional method of production that has remained across generations. There is also another fantastic local producer in Aigues Mortes – ‘l'Oliveraie de Paul’.
- A fougasse pastry from Aigues Mortes: head to a bakery in the heart of the medieval city and ask for a fougasse. This sweet brioche is moistened with butter and orange blossom before being sprinkled with sugar.
- What to wash it all down with?! The Camargue is home to some excellent regional wines: Try ‘le vin des sables’, or the wine of Costières de Nîmes. Also there is the Muscat de Frontignan or the Picpoul… For something completely different why not try rice beer!
If you want to learn (and try!) more of the regions wines then we recommend a stop at the wine cellar of Gallician to taste the wine Costières de Nîmes. Also, if in Aigues Mortes then head to ‘Caveau des remparts’ at the foot of the medieval city.
What are you waiting for – for a food themed cruise and some great local wines round up your crew, take a slow canal boat cruise through the Camargue and enjoy!
Sources : http://www.tourismegard.com/accueil/deguster/gastronomie/terroir/produits-du-terroir
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