It is an understatement to say that the Provence region of France is superlative. There are so many adjectives that describe the landscape, the people, the cuisine, the experiences and the place as a whole. If you do nothing else, try the food here. Over the past several centuries the landscape and harvested foods have impacted local cuisine to create distinctly Provencal dishes full of local sun-ripened tomatoes, plump melons, sweet cherries and peaches, bitter olives and the freshest fish out of the Mediterranean combined with Alpine cheeses. Take a seat, take a long lunch and relax over a meal of Provencal classics and flavours.

Bouillabaisse

A world-renowned dish, bouillabaisse is a seafood stew that’s infused with saffron. This dish combines freshly caught fish and shellfish from the Mediterranean covered with a flavourful and intense tomato broth. It’s usually served with a crispy, fresh baguette covered in aioli, a traditional creamy garlic spread.

 

Salade Nicoise

Provence is the birthplace of salade nicoise which literally means “nice style salad” and it is an elaborate and layered entrée comprised of crisp greens, tomatoes, boiled potatoes and haricots verts (green beans) all dressed with vinaigrette, hard-boiled eggs, olives and a seared tuna steak.


 

Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a hearty dish of stewed vegetables – tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers and onion—that swims in a fruity and garlic-tinged olive oil. It can be served hot or cold and can be a side dish or served as a meal on its own with pasta, rice or bread on the side.

Brandade

Because of the proximity to the sea, many dishes from Provence include fresh seafood. One such dish is Brandade – a fish and potato specialty. This meal is usually eaten in the winter and is made of pureed salt cod, olive oil, bread, garlic and milk. It is easy to make and easier to enjoy.

Herbs de Provence

Perhaps the most obvious list item in this article, fresh and dried herbs are an omnipresent addition to most Provencal dishes. The flavours are always subtle, but distinctly provincial. Nutmeg, mace, almond and lemon are also used to sweeten traditional desserts like biscottins, and sugar-dusted almond pastries.

Fresh fruit and Vegetables

Provencal climates bring dry, warm summers and cool, wet winters. This combination produces incredible amounts of fruits and vegetables that have made their way into the traditional cuisine. Typical vegetables from this region include peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, potatoes, beans, Swiss chard and squashes. To add a sweet flavor to dishes, Provencal dishes rely on fruits and nuts such as citrus, melons, apricots, peaches, figs, pine nuts, hazelnuts and almonds.

 

Thinking about eating adventurously abroad when you’re travelling through Provence? It’s hard not to be drawn to the intense flavours and classic preparations found in France. Before you leave on a food-tour, be sure to protect your health and your holiday with an international travel insurance plan from Cover-More Travel Insurance.

Image courtesy of Flickr users mari, jenny downing, yoppy, Eugene Kim, and Tristan Ferne