Provence is situated in the south-east of France and is famous for its breath-taking countryside, rolling hills of vineyards and picturesque stone buildings. It is a region of tranquillity, romance and delicious cuisine. Home to a variety of delightful local produce, Provence is a brilliant spot for not only sightseeing but also, experiencing an array of different flavours. In this blog, we discuss the many different foods you must try when in Provence. Taste your way around the region with the regions local produce!
Provence is the primary region in France that produces truffles, around 80% of all the truffles in France are produced here. Truffles are essentially an underground mushroom, and truffle hunting takes place from November through to March. The master of all truffles is the “truffe du Perigord” and chefs love to include them in their winter menus. Truffles can be used in an array of different forms, but perhaps the most common is in butter, or sprinkling a dusting over potatoes, or infused in eggs (truffle and egg is a match made in heaven). You can get your hands on truffles yourself in the local markets throughout Provence but be aware of the cheaper alternatives, such as “truffe de Borgogne”, as these may not taste as nice. Some of the best markets for truffles are St Paul Trois Chateaux, Carpentras and Richerenches. Furthermore, there are festivals held purely for truffles, and some of these include one in January in Richerenches and one in Menerbes in December.
With wine being a hugely popular thing in France, it is no surprise that cheese is too. What better combination than cheese and wine? In Provence, the vast majority of cheese tends to be made from goats milk. The majority of the goats graze in the north of Provence and produce a wide variety of fresh and mild cheese. For those who enjoy a stronger cheese, many have been aged to create a more flavoursome taste. Various cheeses can be bought at local markets where you can try before you buy, brilliant for finding the perfect taste. Create a delicious cheese platter with an array of flavours and some local fruits, such as figs or apricots.
As Provence has a mild climate and clay soil, olives flourish in the hillside vineyards. Olives were established in Provence by the Greeks, and since then, the olive tree has been a staple in the scenery of the region. There are a variety of olives grown in Provence, the favourites being picholine (green olive marinated in herbs), niçoise (black olive used in the famous salad of its name) and lucque (green and mild in flavour). However, around 80% of the olives grown in Provence go straight into making olive oil rather than being sold as they are. Even with the large proportion being used to make oil, you can still find many locally produced olives in the markets of Provence.
Famous in the region of Cavaillon, cantaloupe are small round melons with green stripes on the outside and bright orange on the inside. The season for melon harvest is from mid-summer to autumn, and the cantaloupe is that popular that the town hosts a festival in celebration of it in the middle of July. The melon can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways, but the locals tend to have it as a dessert or wrapped in ham as an appetiser.
Since the 17th century, nougat has been produced in Provence, and it is a well-loved confectionery made from almonds and honey. The sweet and sticky combination is considered a traditional treat in the region, and there are several factories dotted around Montelimar that offer guided tours. The recipe is hard to come by, and it is a very strict rule that you can only call your nougat Montelimar if you use this specific recipe. It dates back to when the Duke of Bourgogne and Duke of Berry took a pit stop in Montelimar during their horseback journey from Spain. While in the region, they were offered some nougat and then from this point onwards, it has always been considered a present. You can find nougat in almost every market in Provence and most of them will let you try before you buy.
We hope that you have been enticed to try some of the delightful local produce in Provence. With all of it being available at local markets, we are here to help you make the most of your trip, so take a look at our tips for shopping at a market in Provence.
Here at Quality Villas, we want to ensure that when you visit the beautiful region of Provence, you not only get to try a delicious array of food and explore the breath-taking scenery but that you are staying in fantastic accommodation. We offer luxury holiday villas in the French Riviera that are perfect for your getaway to Provence. We not only provide accommodation in this area, but we also have handpicked villas across the rest of France, Italy, Morocco and Croatia, so why not take a browse today and find your perfect holiday spot!
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