A fertile region with many local products and specialities
Markets adorn the Bouches-du-Rhône area, just like 'santon' figurines, sea and lavender… They are an integral part of local culture. Held in every town, they offer the local inhabitants and producers a regular chance to get together. They are a stage for all types of local products, whether food or craftwork. Among the shiny pottery and Provencal fabrics, you'll come across sun-packed fruit and vegetables, spices and, of course, Herbes de Provence. A cornerstone of sustainable tourism, they are also the best way to discover the local specialities.
Provence is proud of its thriving market gardening industry. The local markets also overflow with specialities such as peaches and nectarines from La Crau, olives from the Alpilles, aubergines from Barbentane and Brousse cheese from Rove… Many of Provence's numerous markets have maintained a genuine local identity.
Provence offers a big choice of varieties !
Marseille, Fish Market on the Old Port (Vieux-Port)
This is undoubtedly one of the best-loved attractions by visitors to the city. And despite its folkloric aspect, this market held every day at the bottom of La Canebière, the city's main thoroughfare, stands witness to the area's thriving fishing trade. Sea bass, gurnard, red mullet, denti, bream and even lobsters are sold here right 'where the boats come in' by the local fishermen. Prices vary in the twinkling of a tail according to the season and who's buying…
Every morning until 1 p.m. Marseille Vieux-Port
Marseille, Farm Market on Cours Julien
One of Marseille's only markets selling 100% farm produce. Organic kitchen gardeners abound here and all the produce comes from just a few kilometres away. The stalls are rustic and prolific. You'll find everything you need to fill a healthy fridge, with lots of vegetables, a small choice of meat (poultry, pork and lamb), organic and gluten-free bread made locally, edible flowers, fruit juices, jams and even some fish, all sold in recycled paper bags. Come early!
Every Wednesday morning. Cours Julien
Located just a few km from Marseille, the town of Aubagne has reinstated its local farming traditions. The farm market on Saturdays and Sundays attracts many local producers all adhering to a strict quality charter, grouped under the 'Jardins des Pays d’Aubagne' flag. Don't miss a visit to Roberto, who brings the very best pancetta, parma, parmesan and burrata back from Italy every weekend. N.B. There's a free storage area at the centre of the market where you can drop off heavy parcels and retrieve them at the end of the market.
Saturdays and Sundays. Cours Voltaire
On your left, fabrics and pottery. On your right, fruit, vegetables and spices! The 'Marché des Prêcheurs' in Aix is a delightful melting pot of Provence. Set just after the fountain, the producer's area overflows with colours and flavours. Organic and sustainable farmers rub shoulders here in a profusion of herbs, heritage vegetables and noble varieties. And just a few metres away, you can stop off at the famous 'Farinoman' to grab some of the best bread in town.
Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends. Place des Prêcheurs
This vast market – one of Provence's finest – is a genuine temptation for both your wardrobe and your larder. Numerous local producers come here to sell their wares, whether garlic cream, fougasse, paella or cockles sold by the litre. This is also a stage for the many treasures grown in the Camargue Nature Reserve, such as rice, bull beef and fruit. The stalls stretch 2 km along the main thoroughfare, so you'll be spoilt for choice. A small area is reserved for organic vegetable, rice, bread, honey, etc. producers. The fruit and vegetables don't look pretty, but my they taste good!
Saturday. Boulevard des Lices
Provencal proverb "A change is as good as a rest, whether it's food or romance"
Here, markets are always very colourful
"So Food so Good" is a blog created by a culinary journalist who simply loves scrutinizing the most creative dishes on offer from every angle! Cécile Cau talks about the restaurants she loves, and regularly delivers up her favourite recipes and little secrets unveiled by her favourite chefs.
Whether it's served hot with a salad, used to crown a cheese platter, or savoured fresh with honey or olive oil, goat's cheese is an absolute culinary must. Provence's dry, sunny climate is perfect for goat breeding -and that's lucky for us!
A gourmet treat…
Provence has been famed for its candied fruit from time immemorial. In the early 16th century, the region was fairly impoverished. Fruit grew here in abundance, but much of it was lost every year.
In a sauce or salad, red is the colour!
Not having qualifications doesn't mean your life is ruined
Can anyone resist an almond? Everyone raves about these little nuggets of happiness you can savour every which way – fresh, dried, whole, grilled, sliced, ground or made into a cream or milk!
The Gourmet's New Eldorado
It had all but disappeared from the markets, but then – perhaps as a result of Halloween arriving in France – squash made a big comeback on our stalls just over a decade ago
It all starts with a crushed clove...
Provencal cuisine simply wouldn't exist without garlic
Francis lived happily close beside his tree...
Picked ripe from the tree, figs are simply to die for. They can also be scattered on trays and left to dry in the sun for 3 days: "That's the best way to keep your figs all winter – we serve figs at Christmas as one of Provence's famous 13 Desserts," smiles Jacqueline Honoré.
A story that will make you turn to jelly...
As yellow as sunshine and as warm as a winter fireplace... The quince isn't very pretty, but the people of Provence love it. You could even say that a passion has been born between this irregular-shaped fruit, somewhat resembling a dented, rustic pear and our lovers of jams, jellies and pastes.
When we talk about the South of France, what's the first thing we think of? The MEDITERRANEAN SEA! (and the sun of course – it's all part of the package).