Search
Provence Holidays

Savour the Specialities

Our beautiful region offers an exceptional range of rich and delicious dishes based on olive oil, fragrant herbs, garlic and spices. Provençal cuisine is characterised by the abundant use of vegetables. It is extremely inventive! Some preparations are known throughout the world, others a little less so.

Of course, the dishes proposed here can be enjoyed all year round! However, the specialities recommended in this section are recommended because they reflect tradition or because the vegetables used have reached maturity in spring. Today, it is important to favour seasonal fruit and vegetables: they taste better, meet our nutritional needs, are richer in antioxidants, are less processed and less expensive! Bon appétit à tous !

Aïoli

What is it exactly?

Aïoli is a garlic and olive oil emulsion sauce that is very common in the Mediterranean region. It has become a dish in its own right, combined with the sauce, made with cod, whelks, prawns or mussels, boiled seasonal vegetables - carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, leeks, hard-boiled eggs. It is a unique dish that rhymes with conviviality and can be enjoyed with family or friends!

Origin

This preparation is very old. It is said to have appeared in the Roman Empire and in ancient Egypt.

Aïoli remains one of the favourite dishes of the Provençal people and is eaten today all year round. But tradition has it that in the Middle Ages, it was eaten during Lent, on Fridays, and especially on Good Friday! After the plague of 1720, the people of Marseilles began to use garlic in large quantities for its antiseptic properties. Frédéric Mistral, the great Provençal poet, described aioli as we taste it today in the Armano Provençau in 1874:

"Aïoli concentrates in its essence the heat, the strength, the joy of the sun of Provence, but it also has a virtue, that of chasing away flies. Those who don't like it, those whose stomachs revolt at the thought of our oil and garlic, will not come and hang around us...".

A Recipe

Marseille Aïoli:

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 min

Cooking time: 20 min

Ingrédients

For the aioli:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 35 cl of olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 dash of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

For the filling :

  • 800 grams of desalted cod
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 1 handful of green beans
  • 1 half cauliflower
  • 16 ratte potatoes
  • 4 purple artichokes from Provence
  • A few cooked whelks
  • 8 cooked prawns
  • bay leaves
  1. Crush the raw garlic cloves to a purée. Whisk the aioli into a mayonnaise-like sauce. Add a pinch of salt, the egg yolk and the lemon juice. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to obtain a firm mayonnaise.
  2. Poach the desalted cod in a pot of simmering water with a few bay leaves.
  3. Steam the vegetables separately.
  4. Cook the boiled eggs for 9 minutes and shell them.
  5. Arrange the fish, the still warm vegetables, the shelled eggs, the shrimps and the whelks in a large serving dish.
  6. Enjoy!


Unbelievable but true!

Aïoli remains a source of pride for the people of Provence, so much so that there are associations to defend and promote this dish blessed by the gods! The Compagnons de l'aïoli de Solliès-Toucas (Var), the Confrérie des Chevalier de l'Aïet de Trets (Var) and the Confrérie roussillonnaise de l'aïoli.

There is a Petit Traité amoureux de l'aïoli! Written by Jacques Bonnadier and published by A l'asard Bautezar ! (2015), this little book tells the essential history of aioli and the uses to which it is put by the Méridionaux.

Niçoise Salad

What is it exactly?

A speciality of Nice, as its name suggests, the salade niçoise is so successful that it is eaten all over the world. This salad is made up of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, salted anchovies, tuna, cebettes, small black olives from Nice and basil. You can add raw fava beans and purple artichokes, celery hearts and green peppers. The dish is rubbed with garlic, and a vinaigrette made from olive oil, salt, and a little vinegar and pepper is added.

Note: There are no cooked ingredients in the Niçoise salad except for the hard-boiled eggs. 

Origin

Two centuries ago, the Nice salad was only made of tomatoes, anchovies and olive oil. People were poor in Nice. Later, conditions became less harsh and more and more vegetables were grown. It gradually became full of ingredients! But be careful, you don't put just anything in this salad! At the beginning of the last century, the famous chef Auguste Escoffier committed a sacrilege by adding potatoes and green beans! Today, it has unorthodox versions that outrage the people of Nice who are attached to their traditional cuisine!

A Recipe

Niçoise Salad:

This recipe is taken from "Carnets de cuisine du Comté de Nice".

Serves 8

Preparation time: 20 min

Ingrédients

  • 100 g mesclun
  • 500 g tomatoes
  • 100 g spring onions
  • 100 g small celery hearts
  • 400 g small purple artichokes (in season)
  • 160 g small green peppers for the salad
  • 250 g long radishes (18 days)
  • 50 g black olives from Nice
  • 400 g of fava beans (in season)
  • 200 g tuna in olive oil
  • 8 anchovies in salt (16 fillets)
  • 20 g garlic
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 8 to 12 basil leaves
  • fine salt and freshly ground pepper.
  1. Wash the vegetables.
  2. Clean the radishes, keeping them whole with their tender leaves.
  3. Garnish a large dish, previously rubbed with garlic, with mesclun.
  4. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, arrange them on the mesclun and season with salt.
  5. Thinly slice the white of the celery and the tender part of the artichokes, the green peppers and the spring onions. Add the fava beans.
  6. Arrange the vegetables on top of the tomatoes. Add salt.
  7. Add the tuna, leaving large pieces, the chopped basil and decorate with the hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters, the anchovies and the olives.
  8. Pour in the oil at the last moment, plus the ground pepper.
  9. Enjoy!


Unbelievable but true!

There are associations that defend the cuisine of Nice! They have agreed with the Union départementale des Offices de Tourisme et Syndicats d'Initiative on about fifteen fundamental local recipes. The famous Nicoise salad is one of them. They created a "Cuisine Nissarde" label in 1995, according to certain criteria. To qualify, restaurant owners must offer at least three of the recipes mentioned in the booklet on their menu. It is also stated that the products used must be local and in season.

Courgette Flower Fritters

What is it exactly?

Courgette flower fritters are a speciality of Provençal cuisine. They are courgette flowers coated in batter. Courgette flowers bloom from April to October. They are orange flowers that are sometimes as big as a hand! There are two types of courgette flowers: male and female. Only the male flowers are harvested to allow the courgettes to develop.

Origin

Courgettes originate from Central America. Europeans brought them from the New World, but they remained botanical curiosities for farmers. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, fritters began to be used in Mediterranean cuisine.

A Recipe

Courgette Flower Fritters:

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 min

Cooking time: 10 min

Ingrédients :   

  • A dozen courgette flowers
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 15 cl of milk
  • 125 g flour
  • oil for frying
  • salt and pepper
  1. Beat the egg, add the flour, oil, milk, salt and pepper, stirring constantly. The dough should be slightly thick and smooth.
  2. Leave to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.
  3. Wash the courgette flowers.
  4. Heat the frying oil in a pan or deep fryer.
  5. Dip the flowers in the batter.
  6. Dip them in the frying oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them over when they start to brown.
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Enjoy!


Unbelievable but true!

Courgettes are increasingly used in baking! It replaces butter and adds softness to a preparation. In chocolate or yoghurt cakes, the taste of courgette is so neutral that it goes unnoticed. And you gain in fibre, vitamins and minerals, not to mention the reduced calorie intake! It's the solution to indulge yourself without feeling guilty!

Artichokes à la barigoule

What is it exactly?

This local recipe is a dish based on purple artichokes, known as "artichokes poivrade", harvested before they are mature and have developed their hay. They are accompanied by lemons, onions, garlic and herbs. The pepper artichoke has two seasons: March to May and July to September. It is therefore in spring that we start cooking it again each year!

Origin

Originally, the recipe consisted of cooking the artichokes, cut short of the tail, sprinkled with oil and grilled. The cooks of the big houses took over the recipe and developed it by adding a special stuffing mixed with bacon. They stuffed the artichokes and braised them. In the 18th century, the stuffing disappeared from the recipe. The oldest recipe was found in the Cuisinier royal ou l'art de faire la cuisine, la pâtisserie et tout ce qui concerne l'office, a book by Viard and Fouret, published in 1822.

A Recipe

Artichokes à la barigoule:


Serves 4

Preparation time: 30 min

Cooking time: 30 min

Ingrédients :   

  • 12 artichokes with pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 25 cl white wine
  • parsley
  • basil
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Keep 5 cm of the artichoke stems. Remove the outer leaves and cut flush with the heart. Peel the base of the heart and the stem with a peeler. Cut the artichokes in half and lemon them.
  2. Peel the carrots and slice them.
  3. Peel and chop the onions.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves.
  5. Rinse and chop the parsley and basil.
  6. Heat the olive oil and brown the carrots and onions. Add the artichokes, the bouquet garni and 1 clove of garlic. Cover with three quarters of the water, add the white wine and salt.
  7. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat and reduce.
  8. Enjoy!


Unbelievable but true!

Did you know that there is no barigoule in this recipe? But what is barigoule? It's a mushroom used to stuff these artichokes, the delicious milkweed. For more than a century, this mushroom has not been used at all. The recipe has evolved but the name has remained!

Savour the Specialities