Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Travel and food: Spaghetti Vongole on the Ile de Ré

foraging for clams,  Ile de Ré, France, Pic: Kerstin Rodgers
Foraging for clams at low tide to make campfire spaghetti vongole
 spaghetti vongole,  Ile de Ré, France, Pic: Kerstin Rodgers
Driving through the margarine sunflowers of Charentes-Maritimes I get to possibly my favourite place in the world....the Ile de Ré, a pale sunlit island off the Atlantic coast of France, a lengthy bridge ride from former Huegenot stronghold La Rochelle. If you don't have access to a holiday home, visitors can camp cheaply on the isle, in shady pine-scented forests next to champagne coloured dunes; you can hear the rolling sea as you sleep. There are flat paths lacing the island where you can cycle safely. The villages are chic, populated by willowy tanned rich people wearing blue and white stripes and straw fedoras. Around the small white cottages tall crimson and dusty rose hollyhocks sprout like weeds. The starry night sky hums to the rythmic rotation of the lighthouse beams at the end of the islet.

For a food lover, this place caters unique ingredients:
In the morning, walking on the deserted beaches, you can forage your own shellfish: mussels, oysters, crabs. I like to go out at low tide (try Plage de Trousse Chemise) and dig up clams, you can spot them by the little breathing holes they leave in the sand as they burrow down. Here, in my first column for the Hampstead and Highgate Express newspaper, is my recipe for campfire seaside spaghetti vongole.

10 comments:

  1. Really beautiful blog post Kerstin. I want run away right now!

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  2. Just the right thing to read of a dull rainy day like today. Elinor x

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    1. Grim isn't it? What happened to our summer? As a beach lover, you'd love ile de re Elinor

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  3. God's gifts - hollie hawks(sp) - love them - made dolls out of them when I was a child way back then - memories!!!!! Thank you for sharing such beauty!!!!!! Sincerely, Jud

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    1. I've never heard them called Hollie Hawks before! xx

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  4. I adore it here, many happy holidays and that's my favourite ice cream shop there - my favourite "bag for life" for grocery shopping is a huge wide La Martiniere bag with that design on it.

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    1. It is lovely, a real haven. The icecream place is as good as any in Italy I think.

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