The French cuisine is celebrated for many reasons and there are always several tempting options on any menu across the country. The cuisine in the South is very different to that of the North and even the South West, with influences coming from the neighbouring Italy and from further afield in North Africa. The Provencal cooking mixes together all of these influences to come up with some truly breath-taking meals. Affinity Holidays France is a villa rental company with over 25 years of experience in the region and we have come together to produce a list of foods that reflect the tastes of the south to try if you are planning to head down to the South of France.
Daube Provencale: This dish is extremely popular during the winter months, as it is slightly heavier than many local dishes. It is a traditional stew, with braised beef cooked for a long time in a red wine, herb and onion sauce, which is then added onto spaghetti. Alternatively, the stew can be served alongside root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes.
Socca – Found in nearly every bakery in the Provence Cote d’Azur region and especially in the coastal city of Nice, this savoury snack is made from chick peas, rolled and comes in the shape of a thick pancake. The longest queue at any market or bakery is on a Sunday where the entire region appears to stop and eat Socca.
Pissaladiere: Another snack which is popular in every town in the area. It is here where we can see the Italian influence on the Southern cuisine, as Pissaladiere has many similarities with pizza. It is a bread, traditionally topped with olives, onions and anchovies and can also be found in almost every bakery in Provence.
Farcis: This is essentially a stuffed vegetable which is served in so many of the restaurants in the local area. The vegetable used ranges from courgettes, to peppers, to tomatoes. These vegetables are stuffed with meat and onions after having been cleaned and hollowed out, and are then placed in an oven to bake.
Seafood: The Mediterranean Sea boasts a wonderful array of seafood, the majority of which is used in some form throughout the South coast of France. Fish platters range from the extremely popular, but occasionally rare, swordfish, in addition to tuna, salmon and sea bass. In restaurants, fish is normally served with vegetables and salad. Cooking is fairly simple with lemon, salt and garlic added to the fish and with a garnish of onion, tomato and coriander.
Tapenade: Another snack or nice starter to add to the list. Tapenade is a type of purée or paste made from local produce, such as sun dried tomatoes or olives. Tapenade goes very well alongside a glass of Rosé wine.
Dessert is another area where the Italian influence is felt. Whilst pastries are as popular in the region as they are anywhere else in France, there is no better dessert on a hot summer day than ice cream. In nearly every town you visit in Var, or on the coast, there are hundreds of small ice cream vendors, serving creamy, home-made ice cream. Several of these have hundreds of flavours to choose from, which just helps you to come back time after time.
This is by no means a complete list and we are sure that many of you will argue that other dishes should have been added. However, it is always good to have a start if you are planning on renting a holiday villa in Provence. Affinity Holidays France has over 40 villas in this beautiful region and the friendly staff are on hand to answer any questions that you may have, so contact us today if you are interested in visiting the South this year.