After saying goodbye to Captain Fabien and Claire, I continued my solitude ride through Rochefort, along the coast I picked some edible wild plants Fabien told me and ate them, fresh and organic, I will definitely do more research on them and promote the idea of consuming natural green leaves.
Then I carried on to Marennes and crossed the bridge to La Tremblade, there are plenty of oyster farm along the way already!
That night I was going to visit my Hong Kong friend Zoe, who has just married to his French husband Samuel. They are super friendly couple who made me try three traditional French dishes. As Chaillvette village is located in an area famous for its oyster farm, Samuel’s uncle is one of the farmer. I was lucky to visit the site where they breed oysters. That area is an intersection of sea water and river water, which provides a perfect environment for growing oysters, farmers split half of the time putting the oysters in the two different water allowing them to be feed with nutrients of both sides.
Knowing they are organically grown, I really have to try it once. Absolutely fresh, and I can still recall the taste! Much much better than the one I tried in Hongkong.
After the starter, we have La Raclette as the main dish. Samuel explained me it is a dish from the Alps where people eat plenty of meat, cheese and potato to keep them warm. La Raclette is the name of the dish, a mix of cooked potato, different kinds of sausages (saucisson) and hams, served with melting cheese. It is a very heavy dish which gives you a boost of carbs and protein! However, definitely it is not healthy at all. Be careful!
Snail is another delicacy in France. Usually the French bakes snail with garlic and butter. The texture is similar to those we eat in China (田螺Tianlou: river snail) but with earthy taste.
The other night, Zoe even made Thai tomyum soup and 三寶飯 (rice with roasted pork, salty egg and 臘腸Chinese sausage). I was utterly impressed!
We were so lucky to visit Ile de Oleron in a good weather. It was an area famous for making salt, but now all are transformed into oyster farms. The houses are beautifully painted in different colours.
The citadel was partly destroyed during second world war, and now the renovation is still under progress.
We had lunch sitting on a wooden bridge, piece of bread with a glass of wine. I can totally understand why French people are that proud of their living style, some people define it as lazy; some regard as enjoying life. Life is not always about rushing and planning, it is about being at the moment, embrace what you are having.
It is almost 5 months since I started pedaling from St Petersburg, it is definitely a life changing experience. All the people I have met, all the situation that had happened shape me into a better person. I am so grateful to have such opportunity to see the world in a humble way.
Thanks Zoe and Samuel’s parents for giving me such a French cuisine tour. I really look forward to our next meeting in another parts of the world!
La Rochelle to Chaillvette 75km