Provence specialities: Local Ingredients
Like many French regions Provence can boast a whole host of local gastronomic specialities to feast on whatever the season of your visit. Here are a few suggestions of the most famous, must-try dishes and ingredients on your trip to Provence:
Synonymous with Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil’s health virtues have long been recognised. Why not visit some olive groves and see the production techniques for yourself?
This unusual fungus is known as the gold (or in this case: Black Diamond) of the culinary world. Notoriously difficult to find (you’ll need either a trained dog or pig – yes a pig) they hide beneath oak trees on chalk plains and can sell for astronomical sums of money. The best time of year to catch any of the events and festivals surrounding this fragrant fungus is between Mid-December and June.
In the salt marshes of the Camargue area, amongst the flamingos and the bull-herding cowboys, you can find the production of a pulse more commonly associated with Asia. The French rice production is of red rice – named for its colour – and grew from the wild rice that had been present for centuries. Agricultural production started after the Second World War, and today represents hundreds of rice growers throughout the Camargue area.
The wetlands of the Camargue are also home to local salt production in Provence. An ancient tradition, the sea salt pans are still in use today and indeed produce hundreds of tons of sea salt and its derivatives for cooking, or perhaps the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
An aniseed flavour spirit that is usually served with water and ice as an aperitif. Well-known locally as being commercialised by Marseille-born Paul Ricard in the 1930s, the Ricard family’s name and heritage lives on in the region in a legacy of the family’s islands off the coast of Bandol, and the Paul Ricard Oceanographic Institute that carries on his interest in marine-conservation. Pastis is most popular in south-eastern France; perhaps the higher temperatures mean that the cold drink is a little more refreshing.
Also served cold, the pink wines of south-eastern France are perhaps amongst some of the most well-known and respected throughout the World even. With the right climate and vineyard locations needed for the grape varieties that go into a good rosé, Provence could be said to specialise in rosé wines. Why not try the Wine Tourism Route for suggestions on where to find the region’s best wines and vineyard visits. (https://www.visitfrenchwine.com/en/vineyard/visit-the-vineyards-of-provence-wine-tourism)