- red mullet - on sale in a Provence market
Olives on sale in the market at Aix
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France's most popular tourist region
.... is classically Mediterranean; with most of the
population living on the coastal strip, fish naturally play a big part
in Provençal cuisine; but Provençal food is
perhaps more famously reputed for its use of herbs and vegetables,
notably aubergines .
The main herbs used in Provençal
cooking are thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano and fennel.
However, if there is one item that characterises
all types of Mediterranean food, it is the use of olive oil for
cooking. Provençal cooking is no exception, and many of the
finest Provençal dishes are based on Mediterranean
vegetables and olive oil.
Among popular Provençal dishes, one can note:
au pistou - a thick vegetable soup flavoured with basil and herbs
marseillaise - the great Mediterranean fish soup.
d'aubergine (called by several different names): sliced aubergines
baked in olive oil, with chopped onion and tomato, seasoned
with herbs, and covered with grated cheese .
provençal - a stew made from beef marinated in red
wine, with herbs pepper, garlic and olive oil.
- basically any mixture of vegetables chopped and stewed together; the
traditional Provençal ratatouille is a mixture of tomatoes,
peppers (bell peppers), onions, courgettes (zucchini) and aubergines
provençal - provençal rabbit stew: rabbit
marinated in white wine, then stewed with shalotts, rosemary, thyme,
black olives, tomatoes, garlic and lardons (cubes of bacon)
a sepciality of Nice : an onion and anchovy tart, or a kind of pizza
Olives have been grown in Provence for thousands of years. The most
famous Provence olives are the fleshy black "Olives de Nyons",
the green Picholine olive, with a mild and nutty flavour, and
the small "niçoise" olive that comes in a variety of colours.
Provence is famous for its red and rosé wines. Perhaps the
most reputed of Provence's "appellation contrôlée"
wines is Chateauneuf du Pape, from just outside Avignon.
A lot of the vineyards in the Rhone valley part of Provence
are in the "Côtes du Rhône" designated area. The
also famous for its dry "rosé" wines, that are
served as an accompaniment to local dishes. Another well-known Provence
wine is Bandol,
in one of the oldest wine-growing areas of France; it is a distinctive
dark red wine, which is very southern Mediterranean in flavour.
For more on French wines, see the French wine guide
Les Calissons d'Aix: delicious slices of almond paste topped with a
Les fruits confits: candied fruit, produced by traditional