The heart of Provence
is in the hills that bind the sea to
the Alps. These are the sloping vineyards;
the cultivated lands and the colorful
scenery that charmed Cezanne (Aix en
Provence), Van Gogh (Arles), Chagall
or Giono. In Provence or the Midi the
local people have a soft singing accent
which evokes their whole relaxed lifestyle.
They have no greater pleasure after a
hard days work than to enjoy a delicious
and hardy meal shared with friends...
This is the picturesque
Provence of Pagnol, Raimu, and Fernandel.
Here one can find
900kms of beaches, inlets and marinas,
27,000km2 of snowy peaks, forests and
pine groves all awash in sunlight (about
3000 hours per year)! Provence is both
picturesque villages in the hills and
busy metropolises possessinginternational
airports (Nice and Marseille). Provence
is of course olive groves and lavender;
but there are also the famous vineyards
of Côtes du Rhône, Côtes
de Provence and Bandol (see our Wine & Provence
page), everything growing to the
hum of the cicadas!
A mayonnaise sauce with
(garlic mayonnaise) epitomizes
the heat, the power, and
the joy of the Provençal
sun, but it has another
virtue - it drives away
de Carpentras: Berlingot (From the name Bertrand
de Goth) of Carpentras. Around 1313, the last teacher
by the name of Sylvestre, had made a baked caramel, its
found with a quantity of syrup not used. He had the idea
of recooking the caramel adding mint and lemon.
Sweet cookie. Made in Aix en Provence.
Seafood dish and originally a fisherman's dish. In the
traditional Marseilles bouillabaisse, fishes are cut
up in front of the guests or family.
Delicious confection made with almonds and candied melons.
Calisson appeared in Aix in its modern shape around 1473
for a meal made for Roi René's second wedding.
Provencal cheese, mainly from sheep's milk.
In the seventeenth century, the linens coming from the
Indies through Marseille via the sea, had bright colors
causing a sensation throughout the South of France. Because
of their costly prices, imitations were inevitable. The
south France textile industry tried to copy the new indiennes
first exactly, then creating a provencal art.
confits: The village of Apt is known for its
fruits confits (candied fruits): include apricots, clementines,
prunes, pears, melons, clementines, cherries...
de Provence: A mixture of dried herbs from Provence,
dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, savory...
The provencal much-loved drink made with plants and spices.
Mixed with fresh mineral water, it is a fine aperitif
for any occasion...
Onion Tart, Nice's version of the Italian pizza, made
with onions, olive oil, garlic cloves, thyme, sea salt,
anchovy fillets, nicoise olives, bread flour.
The French version of Italy's pesto usually served with
the fish soup.
Speciality of Martigues with mullet or muje roe covered
with fine salt and turned over regularly, grated on to
a slice of farmhous loaf.
Provencal Crib figurines made out of terracotta
Queen of the Provence summers, gorged of sunshine, the
finest tomatoes one could possibly imagine...
provençales: Tomatoes covered with garlic,
parsley, breadcrumbs and olive oil and roasted in the
A provencal dish made with eggplant, zucchini, onions,
peppers, tomatoes, and garlic.
Big blocks of olive oil based soap have been crafted
for one thousand years in Provence.
Socca is a popular snack food of Nice made from chickpea
Paste made with black olives, capers, anchovies, fresh
basil, olive oil, garlic, coarse salt, served as an appetizer
on bread croutons.