The essential of the Provencal gastronomy
It will be soon the time for the gastronomy festival and, on this special occasion, we invite you to discover the products from Provence, the Provencal flavors, from the aperitif to the delicacies, from a landscape full of beautiful landscapes and exceptional products... under the golden sun!
In celebration of the gastronomy festival, from 23rd to 25th September, we would like to invite you to discover products of the Provencal terroir. Here, even if the accent is the same, in Marseille, in Provence and in Camargue, the landscapes are so various that their products seem to be from different region! Here, in Provence, gastronomy is a full religion! A return to the tradition, between fish products, earth products, Provencal dishes, Mediterranean specialties, recipes to become a real little Provencal chief, delicacies and aperitif, we will take you on board in a culinary journey around the gastronomy of Marseille, Provence or Camargue. Be careful, this could heighten your appetite appeal and wriggle your taste buds!
«Look at my fresh fish! » If fish cuisine is your thing, this is your cuisine... At the Vieux Port, people from Marseille always bought their fishes at the source, upon arrival of the boats, and every mornings, this is such a big surprise! According to the season, the weather (of course, always best-in-class), you can find there many whitings, see breams, anglerfish (be careful, near the Atlantic, it’s called monkfish. In the same way, we said «sea bass», loup in French, not «bass», bar in French…), red mullets in summer time, often some octopus and sometimes lobsters. Sardines and mackerels are present in abundance, even if these «blue» fishes are less popular today.
The famous traditional dish of Marseille! The bouillabaisse is made from a fish soup that you can eat with garlic croutons spreads of rouille sauce, some fishes served whole such as Weevers, John Dory, Mediterranean gurnard, anglerfish, red scorpion fishes, congers and little fishes... The traditional recipe passed down from generation to generation is quite different from the exceptional dish served in the best restaurant of the city. The fishermen will tell you that, formerly, it was made with their last fishes.
The «ade » Festivals
In Provence, our local products are celebrated with a renewed sense of fervor. On the «Blue Coast», the oursinades take place in January and February, while the mouclades of Camargue and the sardinades of Martigues or Port de Bouc take place in June-July and the great sardinade of Marseille looks forward to seeing you in September. The great sardine’s grills will be welcome when the little blue fish is abundant.
Fish market in the Vieux Port of Marseille
The Marseille's Bouillabaisse
AROUND THE CAMARGUE
The Camargue is a good place to grow rice, thanks to its sunshine and its low differential temperatures. The freshwater input in the rice paddies allows to regulate the ecosystem of the delta which, otherwise, would have been a salt desert. The choice and the rice varieties are wide: brown rice, white rice, fragrant rice... The brown color rices are long cooking ones, about 45 minutes. The most emblematic one is the red rice of Camargue, a dark red rice, discovered in 1982, at the foot of Montmajour Abbey.
Lamb of La Crau
Between Arles and Salon, and from Graveson to Fos sur Mer, Merinos lambs are present since the 18th century. And this is an exceptional meat: every summer, herds migrate to pastures then return to the plains. Lambs must graze at least 90 days in the production area, from the Alpilles to the dry plains of Crau. Some chefs cook the meat in stew, in hay covered with a crust of clay, or smoked with the hay of Crau whose they were fed for 3 months.
Generally, bulls are intended to arenas for bull games, races to the cockade or bullfight, but when cows are not selected, they are sold for their meat. Here, bulls live free and enjoy a total freedom that preserves their wild character. They feed on plants that grow on this unusual land. The meat of the bull is very red, lean and slightly marbled, and excellent grilled or roasted, and some pieces happily simmer in a stew, beforehand marinated, the traditional recipe of "guardians" of the Camargue ranches, called «Gardianne de Taureau».
Various rice’s of Camargue : white rice, whole rice, black rice, red rice...
Provencal lamb chops
Bull of Camargue
More than a culture, an emblem! According to different terroirs, the olives varieties are numerous and supplementary (the Provencal accent is highly recommended to pronounce the poetic names of our varieties): Grossane, Picholine, Salonenque, Aglandau, Bouteillan, Cayon, Tanche, Broutigan, Calian, Cayanne, Petite Noire, Negrette and Verdale… to enjoy as an aperitif, on pizza or in... Tapenade!
…to green, black, mature olive
The green fruity or black fruity is obtained with same varieties, the difference will be due to the maturing time between the olive picking and the olive crushing. A fruity green is obtained with olives picked in the morning, processed within 24 hours and will offer aromas of grass cut or raw artichoke, sometimes with bitterness and pungency that will fade with time, so that a fruity black is achieved by keeping some olives between the collection and crushing, offering candied olives aromas, black olive, cocoa, truffle, mushroom, cooked artichokes, sourdough bread, a softer feel and no pungency. Finally, the ripe fruit is a pressed oil with olives picked more belatedly, but without fermentation period between the picking and the crushing. Here too, the oil will be sweet, slightly bitter, with almond or fruit flavors.
Find the olive oil producers in our guide.
Essential ingredients of Provencal cuisine and of its bouquets, herbs give a very particular identity to the cuisine. In Provencal, thyme is called the «farigoule» and the wild thyme, the «farigoulette». Thyme, rosemary, savory and oregano, wild thyme, laurel, sage, marjoram and fennel... Aromatics herbs of hills fear neither the sun nor the mistral. Without water or just few drops, the plants are almost standing dried up when they are picked, and their aroma are terribly concentrated.
The garlic is essential in the Provencal cuisine. Like thyme or olive oil, it’s a preamble to each recipe. In the pot, a dash of oil, an onion and a pressed garlic clove. Many recipes start like that and will finish in ratatouille, stew or "pieds et paquets" (sheep's feet and stuffed tripe). That’s the basis of certain specialties like aioli, often served on Friday!
Olive oil of Provence
Provencal herbs: the rosemary
Olive oil of Provence
No cow's milk in the Bouches du Rhône... or very few. Here, goat is the queen. Alpine goats are everywhere and give an abundant milk. There are several artisanal cheese diaries in the department which produce fresh, semi-dry or dry goat cheeses. The most inventive ones stuff their fresh cheese with tapenade, figs or nuts, or coat them with Provencal herbs. The best recipe is to sprinkle a fresh cheese with a new green olive oil...
In the cheese diaries, the milk is transformed to «brousses», traditionally drained with transparent cones. It’s an exceptional product, difficult to distribute and to preserve. The production paused from November to February, to let goats breastfed their babies all winter long. Elderly often taste the «brousse» as dessert, with a drop of rum or honey. But it is also very popular with a good olive oil and salt flower, or with pasta and pine nuts.
Beautiful goats in Provence
The «navette» of Marseille
Close to the St Victor’s abbey of St. Victor, let’s go on a pilgrimage to the oldest bakery of Marseille. For 200 years, the Four des Navettes carefully keeps its navettes in French recipe, these delicious cookies flavored with orange blossom water, whose scent fills the street «rue Saintes». Across the Vieux Port, behind the City Hall, another manufacturer started in the 90s with a great success, the navettes des Accoules, which are also delicious and quite different from those of Saint Victor.
Frills (Chichis) of Estaque
Since the 50s, three huts are located on the port of Estaque and offer chichis and panisses every afternoon. Time to stop after the beach of Corbières, just nearby. The chichis are orange or vanilla flavored sweet fritters, large or flat, thin or elongated ... and each huts has its secret recipe!
The calisson of Aix
Fine paste of chopped almonds with candied oranges and melon, topped with royal icing, stand on a wafer paper, almond shape, the calisson is a specialty of Aix-en-Provence since the 15th century. Some manufacturers, like the Confiserie du Roy René, innovated by designing flavored calissons of all colors and for every opportunities. Some sweets-and-sour calissons also try, now, to make their presence felt.
For gourmets, find our guide of the sweets and delicacies producers…
The Navette of Marseille
Panisses of Estaque, perfect for aperitif
Calisson of Aix-en-Provence
There was never any official list of the 13 desserts. Some ingredients are essentials, others are admitted according to the Provencal region and the family tradition. However, they must be 13 on the table! Some of them are essential such as the oil pump, the white nougat and the black nougat, candied fruits, dates and “four beggars”: walnuts and hazelnuts, dried figs, almonds and dried raisins. We can also find some fresh fruits, winter melon type, mandarins but also sweets such as calissons, quince paste or almond paste. According to the tradition, each guest must eat a piece of each dessert to ensure good luck for all the year.
The oil pump is the traditional brioche served for Christmas. It’s a dough made of olive oil and orange blossom flavored, in which 7 notches will be made to symbolize the 7 weekdays. It will be broken, not cut with a knife, as the bread was broken by Chris, according to tradition.
The Provence have always been known for its candied fruits. In the early 16th century, our region was quite poor. However the fruits grow there abundantly, but large amounts were lost each year. Nostradamus, born in St Rémy de Provence, had then the idea to keep them in sugar and in particular, thanks to successive broths. During the realization of candied fruits, each fruit is treated differently. We like to taste the Provencal cake of kings for Epiphany.
Oil pump served for Christmas
Christmas desserts in Provence
Christmas Candied fruits
Pastis of Marseille
A little yellow and nothing else! Streched Pastis, strong Pastis, it’s up to you! The pastis service in the way of Marseille, is one part of pastis with five parts of fresh water and ices. To the bar, you can ask for one of Pastis variations with a drizzle of syrup: mint for a parrot, orgeat for the Moorish or grenadine for a tomato.
Well iced for summer! The rosé production is important thanks to our climate, convenient for the tasting of a well fresh rosé in the shade, to accompany the meals during the heavy summer heats. Even if the Provence still a rosé specialist, we cannot forget the other wines, between light white and aerial whites, and powerful and sturdy reds that may age for several years in the cellar.
Specialties of Marseille, the panisses are discs shape made of gram flour, that we can eat for aperitif… sprinkled with pepper!
Marseille before Milan! Topped with Provencal tomatoes and cooked on wood-fires, the pizza will go quickly out the Italian district of Marseille to invade the city in the year thirties. It will arrive in Milan and in North America only in the sixties. In certain pizzerias of Marseille, the «half-half» (anchovies - cheese, of course!) can be eaten as an appetizer. Royal is also possible. However, purists don’t like the white pizzas with fresh cream. The real pizza is made with tomato sauce.
In general, the fougasse is a soft and salty brioche with holes, made from a bread dough covered with a mixture of olive oil and other ingredients to flavor (olives, bacon ...). In Provence, it’s perfect as an aperitif.
A fresh rosé please!
Aperitif pastis and rosé with friends
Pizza with tomato sauce, the real one
Want to go to snack now? Don't miss out on the September event, the gastronomy festival, from 23rd and 25th! This is the new program, good tasting everywhere in Provence!
Don't miss a thing
Find out all sardinades, oursinades, thonades, tastings and aperitifs on the Agenda MyProvence !
Celebrate the gastronomy festival in Provence
Enjoy wine tasting in the wine estates and vineyards of Provence
Do not miss the festivals "ades": the sardine, sea urchins, the thonades or grilling ...
RECIPES ON THE ROAD !
… Sea recipes: the Bouillabaisse according to the Miramar restaurant
Ingredients : 4 weevers, 2 John Dory, 4 Mediterranean gurnard, 1 anglerfish, 2 red scorpion fishes, 1 congers, 2 kg of little fishes, salt, pepper, onions, garlic, saffron, olive oil, branches and seeds of fennel, parsley, potatoes, tomatoes and 2 glasses of pastis.
Preparation : Slice the onion, crush the garlic and fry the whole in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut 3 tomatoes into quarters. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato concentrate, the tomato pieces, dry fennel and 2 doses of saffron. Add 2 kilos of small fish, wet all up with water and add 4 cm of water to the level of the fishes. Add salt, pepper, and cook 20 minutes. Blend the fish soup, filter and cook it again 10 minutes.
Then : 1 Peel and slice the 2cm potato slices, add them into the fish soup.
2 Arrange all fishes depending on their thickness (from the largest to the smallest: Mediterranean gurnard, weevers, John Dory, anglerfish, conger, red scorpion fishes, scorpion fish, rockfish) on the potatoes to bottom of the fish kettle.
3 Wet the fishes with the rest of the soup until covered. Rectify the seasoning. Add the saffron, start with a high flame for the 5 first minutes then reduce the heat and cook 30 minutes.
4 Preparation of the rouille sauce: beat the rouille with 3 egg yolks just as a garlic mayonnaise. Add the salt, chopped garlic, olive oil gently and the saffron.
5 Cut 1cm bread croutons, rub them with garlic and soak with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, bake at 220°c. Put a tablespoon of rouille on the croutons. Serve the soup in small soup bowls and decorate them with croutons.
6 Serve the fish aside.
7 Secret of the chef: before using the broth, add 1 good dose of pastis and whisk it!
8 Serve in the presentation tureen.
Enjoy your meal!
Source : The Miramar restaurant
Fishes for the Bouillabaisse
Preparation of the Bouillabaisse
Enjoy your Bouillabaisse!
… Earth recipe: Provencale red rice of Camargue
Ingredients : 250 gr of red rice, 1 eggplant, 2 zucchini, 1 pepper, 4 ripe tomatoes, 1 onion, Provencal herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Preparation : 1 Wash and cut into square all the vegetables, unpeeled. Dessed the tomatoes. Slice the onion and let it brown in the olive oil, in a large cast iron casserole.
2 Add all vegetables
3 Add Provencal herbs
4 Cover and simmer gently 30 minutes.
5 Add the red rice and 50 cl of boiling salted water. Simmer again 10 minutes until the desired cooking rice.
6 Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Enjoy your meal!
Source: Le Ptit Chef
Markets of Provence to find the best vegetables
Preparation of Provencal vegetables
Stuffed tomatoes, another typical Provencal dish