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Top 10 specialties from Provence and the Côte d’Azur

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

There is probably no cuisine more beloved than that of France, and no French region more famous for its culinary prowess than the Southeast, where the warmth of the Mediterranean sun combines with French savoir-faire. One of the biggest benefits of staying in a vacation rental on your trip to Provence rather than a hotel or resort is that you'll have a home with a real kitchen to try your hand at cooking. famous cuisine of Provence and the Côte d'Azur. Keep reading our gastronomic guide which may give you ideas for more elaborate cuisine during your stay in a house in the south of France!


Top 10 specialties from Provence and the Côte d’Azur



1. Herbs of Provence

A real eagle's nest overlooking the Mediterranean, Eze is one of the most beautiful hilltop villages on the Côte d'Azur!

Like an eagle's nest (or rather Phoenix, emblem of the town), placed on a rocky outcrop,

Èze will impress you as soon as you arrive.

The old stones tell of its medieval past. The narrow streets lined with vaulted houses where many artists' and craftsmen's shops meet give this perched village a special atmosphere of authenticity and tradition.

On the ruins of the old fortress, its famous Exotic Garden plunges into the sea, offering an exceptional landscape on the peninsula of Cap Ferrat and the entire Côte d'Azur.



2. La tapenade

No ingredient is as strongly associated with the Mediterranean as the olive. Indeed, whether green, black or Kalamata, we find these tasty little fruits everywhere in the dishes of the region. Tapenade, now widespread throughout France, is the most famous Provencal seasoning made from olives. A basic recipe includes olives, carp, anchovies and lots of olive oil, a winning combination!



3. L’aïoli

While most foreigners know aioli as a delicious filling in a sandwich or a side for fries, this intricately spelled sauce is actually a staple of Provençal cuisine. This specialty is a mixture of garlic, olive oil, egg yolks and lemon juice, a tangy and creamy seasoning that accompanies many dishes. However, in Provence the word also qualifies a dish: composed of the homemade sauce of the same name of course, many boiled vegetables, poached fish and hard-boiled eggs.



4. La socca

Socca, which is one of the tastiest and most multicultural dishes in the region, is the equivalent of Breton and Parisian crêpes. This flatbread made from chickpeas is cooked in a pizza oven, usually on a huge copper pan almost a meter in diameter. Seasoned with Herbes de Provence and a good amount of cracked black pepper, the dish is best eaten fresh from the oven, with your hands!




5. La fougasse

Even though most French regions have their own version of fougasse, which comes from a Roman flatbread served throughout the empire, the one in Provence is unique. Like many other Mediterranean gastronomic specialties, this flatbread is revisited thanks to a large quantity of olives, cheese and anchovies. Does that tell you something? Some call fougasse a Provençal pizza, just like its cousin socca. While this may sound more like a marketing stunt than an apt description, the resemblance is undeniable!




6. La salade niçoise

Only a few salads have managed to make themselves known outside the borders of France. The best known of these is the Niçoise salad, a specialty from the other side of the South-East. Salad Niçoise, a real salad made according to the French tradition (different from the seasoned salad in the United States), contains fresh tomatoes, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, local olives and to top it off, anchovies. Covered with vinaigrette, this mixture has a unique taste that is rooted in the Mediterranean region.




7. La ratatouille

In the past, ratatouille was considered a cheap vegetable dish for peasants, but thanks to the health food craze and the famous Pixar film of the same name, it has become an iconic French dish over time. This stew, originating from Nice like many of these dishes, is made with tomatoes, aubergines, onions, zucchini and peppers (you can add other vegetables as you wish), and slowly cooked with salt. garlic and Provencal herbs which makes it a subtle but comforting dish, easily made.



8. La bouillabaisse et sa rouille

This authentic seafood stew from the port city of Marseille is renowned far outside the south of France. Traditionally, the soup is made with at least three different kinds of fish, red scorpion, gurnard and European conger, but this element of the dish is flexible. What is most important is the seasoning, a mixture of Provencal herbs, garlic, onions and tomatoes, and the traditional side: rouille. This sauce is similar to aioli and includes olive oil, bread croutons, garlic, saffron and chilli. Spread on a piece of crusty bread and dipped in fish broth, this mix of flavors is typically Provençal, perfect if you are planning a stay in Provence during the winter, or at any time of the year!




9. La soupe au pistou

You may have noticed that many of these dishes resemble northern Italian cuisine, an even more obvious resemblance to soup au pistou, the Provençal adaptation of Italian pesto. This cold soup contains the same ingredients as basil-based pasta sauce and is often served as a garnish to a vegetable stew like minestrone. Top it with lots of Parmesan or Gruyere and you have a hearty meal, perfect after a long day exploring the region.




10. Les treize desserts de Noël

Much of Provençal cuisine, like French gastronomy in general, is part of culinary traditions dating back centuries. Perhaps the most unique of these traditions is that of the Thirteen Dessert Calends of Christmas in Provence, also called a feast. The original version includes: 1) oil pump, 2) focaccia, 3) mixed nuts, 4) hazelnuts, 5) white nougat, 6) candied fruit, 7) apples, 8) pears, 9) oranges, 10) grapes, 11) cooked wine, 12) dates, and 13) jam. However there are many variations in the region.


 

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