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The Cuisine of the South of France

French cuisine is among the most acclaimed and renowned in the world. The South of France is one of the regions most famed for its culinary diversity and unique terroir. For centuries, the sun-soaked produce of Provence and the Côte d'Azur has been used to create dishes brimming with flavour and fragrance.

The Cuisine of the South of France - Provence


Whether black or green, this small fruit is used in all kinds of culinary preparations in the south. With fields of olive trees as far as the eye can see, it is only natural that the olive is the pride of the Mediterranean region. There are many varieties, each offering distinct properties and qualities to the recipes that they serve. Although used primarily in oil, olives are also eaten as tapenade as an aperitif or cooked in sauces.

Herbs de Provence

This blend of seasonings is the most important ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. The mixture has no single recipe, but is essentially composed of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. These herbs add a real touch of sunshine and underpin the identity of the region's dishes.

The Cuisine of the South of France - Provence

Bouillabaisse and its rouille

An authentic Marseille classic. This seafood and fish stew is traditionally made with red scorpion fish, gurnard, conger eel and a seasoning of herbs de Provence and an aromatic provençal garnish. To taste a proper Mediterranean bouillabaisse, it is essential to add rouille, a small, red-coloured sauce, made of olive oil, garlic, bread croutons, saffron and chilli pepper.

Pistou soup

Pistou, the Provençal adaptation of Italian pesto, is made with basil, garlic, and olive oil. This cold soup includes string beans and green beans, and a host of other local vegetables. A traditional Provençal dish, it is ideal for terrace lunches.

The Cuisine of the South of France - Provence

Rice and Salt from the Camargue

The Camargue is a paradise of salt marshes, with its endless patches of land offering a wonderfully unique array of colours. Cultivated for centuries, the salt of Camargue has the particularity of often being pink as a result of the significant concentration of tiny shrimp in the basins and offers a pronounced iodized taste to your dishes. Since the 13th century, rice has been widely grown in the Camargue. From wholegrain rice to steamed or aromatic white rice, the soil and climate of this region offer a veritable cornucopia of flavours.


Often mistaken for a sandwich sauce, aioli is in fact a traditional Provençal condiment. It is a mixture of garlic, olive oil, egg yolks and lemon juice - a true southern mayonnaise. But in Provence it is also the name of a dish, where you can find the famous sauce, vegetables, fish, and hard-boiled eggs.

The Cuisine of the South of France - Provence


When it comes to bread, socca is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine. The equivalent of Breton crêpes or cannelés from Bordeaux, it is a bread made of chickpeas cooked on a copper tray in a pizza oven. Freshly baked and seasoned with herbs de Provence, socca is the treat you didn't know your taste buds were missing.

The Cuisine of the South of France - Provence

The Wines of Provence

The winegrowing region of Provence extends over more than 200 km, and in particular in the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône and Var. The pride of the Provençal terroir, the region's wine is made up of three colours: red, white, and rosé. The reds are powerful and full-bodied, the whites more tender and airy and the rosés have a fruity taste, ideal for the summer. The wines of Provence are grouped under three appellations: Côtes de Provence, Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence; and there are a dozen grape varieties used in their elaboration. With more than 600 producers, Provence is the leading producer of AOC rosé wine in France.

The Cuisine of the South of France - Provence

3 Desserts Not to Be Missed: Calisson d'aix, Oreillettes and Tarte Tropézienne

The Calisson d'Aix is a sweet made of candied melon and almond paste, coated with a glaze. Originally from Aix-en-Provence, as its name suggests, this delicacy is reported to have been invented by the confectioner at the court of King René for his wedding feast. Its oval shape represents the cradle of Jesus, and its name comes from "canissoun" in Occitan, the shape in which the pastries are laid.
Oreillettes, or Merveilles provençales, are doughnuts that are traditionally eaten for Mardi Gras. The recipe varies according to each family, but the main elements are a doughnut batter fragranced with orange blossom and citrus peel, fried and then sprinkled with a thin layer of icing sugar.
A legendary cake from the south of France, the Tarte Tropézienne was invented by Alexandre Micka in 1955 when he opened a pastry shop, of course, in Saint Tropez. The recipe is simple: a brioche pastry filled with a pastry cream. Nowadays, it is symbolic of holidays by the sea and of joie de vivre. A light and fresh dessert that you absolutely must try on your next holiday in the south.

The Cuisine of the South of France - Provence

Discover our selection of luxury villas for your next trip Provence

Villa Mandaline

4 Bedrooms

Villa Elfi

5 Bedrooms

Mas des Lauzes

8 Bedrooms