There is probably no cuisine more beloved than that of France, and no French region is more famous for its cuisine than Provence and La Vallée de la Gastronomie - France®, where the warmth of the Mediterranean sun combines with French savoir-faire.
1. Herbes de Provence: one of the main ingredients of food in Provence
Herbes de Provence are a key part of food in Provence. This blend of seasonings is typically composed of marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Lavender is sometimes added for a touch of colour, but it is part of the flavouring.
2. Aioli: a Provencal food delicacy
Aioli is a mixture of garlic, olive oil, egg yolks and lemon juice; a tangy and creamy seasoning accompanying many dishes. However, in Provencal food terminology, the word also describes a dish: composed of the homemade sauce of the same name, of course, many boiled vegetables, poached fish and hard-boiled eggs.
Socca is a flatbread made from chickpeas cooked in a pizza oven, usually on a vast copper pan almost a metre in diameter. Seasoned with Herbes de Provence and a generous amount of cracked black pepper, the dish is best eaten fresh from the oven!
Olives, the main ingredient of tapenade, are another core component of food in Provence. No ingredient is as strongly associated with the Mediterranean as the olive. And tapenade is the most famous Provencal seasoning made from olives. A basic recipe includes olives, anchovies and lashings of olive oil!
5. Calissons of Aix
Calissons are a traditional Provencal sweet. The Confiserie d'Entrecasteaux, created in 1889, established its manufacturing workshop in the heart of an atypical covered market, Les Halles, in 1889 and it's well worth a visit. You can see the chefs working behind the glass roof: making fresh calissons and pastries, using only quality raw materials. Calissons are made with local candied melon or orange, and almonds harvested in the Mediterranean basin. The whole, finely ground, is placed on a bed of unleavened bread, then delicately topped with royal icing.
The tea room is only a few metres from the workshop, where you can quietly taste these sweets from Tuesday to Sunday. In the shop, you will also find pastries, desserts, Provençal sweets, sugared almonds, fine chocolates, nougats, artisanal biscuits, and other specialities.
6. Salad Niçoise
Salad Niçoise features fresh tomatoes, lettuce, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, local olives, and, to top it off, anchovies. Covered with vinaigrette, this mixture has a unique taste rooted in the Mediterranean region.
This stew, originating from Nice like many of these dishes, is made with tomatoes, aubergines, onions, courgettes, and peppers and slowly cooked with salt, garlic and herbs de provence, which makes it a subtle but eternally comforting dish.
8. Bouillabaisse and its rouille
This authentic Provencal food from Marseille is traditionally made with at least three kinds of fish, red scorpion, gurnard and European conger. However, this dish is flexible -the seasoning is most important, a mixture of Provencal herbs, garlic, onions and tomatoes, and the traditional side: rouille. This sauce resembles aioli and includes olive oil, bread croutons, garlic, saffron and chilli.
9. Pesto soup
This cold soup contains the same ingredients as basil-based pasta sauce and is often served as a garnish to a vegetable stew like a minestrone. Top it with plenty of Parmesan or Gruyere, it's a hearty meal, perfect after a long day exploring the region.
10. Lavender biscuits
These delicious, fragrant little biscuits are a speciality Provencal food and can be found at Bisuiteries de Provence - a family business since 1833. Discover a 300m2 gourmet hall with more than 150 recipes, fresh pastries and more than 300 local products carefully selected from local suppliers.