Provence is renowned for their cuisine and fresh food and ingredients. The region hosts several of the best restaurants in the world and is known internationally as a gourmand’s preferred retreat to enjoy a back to the basics approach to cuisine. In addition to the extensive list of specialties of Provence, Provencal dish are typically healthy. A meal typically consists of a vegetable, grilled meat or fish, tomato sauce with a trickle of olive oil. Products are slow cooked over a fire but never over cooked that can harm flavor and nutrients. You will mainly find tomato, zucchini, eggplants, onion, shallots and of course the Provencal herbs as a main stay of Provencal cuisine. Cheese is always accompanied with all meals but each region has its own cheese. Provencal is known for goat cheese, creamy and strong. For dessert, fresh local fruits found in the markets are the basis for the end of the meal whether cooked in a cake or a special pie.
So yes, French people love eating but the Provencal cuisine offers much more than just a meal. It offers a healthy dish with fresh and tasteful products with the intention to relax and appreciate the fine details as you linger for a long lunch or dinner.
With Carpentras as a capital of the strawberry, taste the fresh, juicy and savoring strawberries in all markets of Provence. On May 8th, the Strawberry festival takes place in the small village of Velleron (capital of the Gariguette strawberry).
Cavaillon is the capital of the Melon. Juicy, fresh and sweet, the melon will be easily associated with the cured ham and the local rosé wine…
Cherry trees are everywhere in Provence. Mainly in the Luberon area (north and South). The cherries were usually picked up for the candied fruit production but since a decade ago, cherry trees are gradually being replaced by grape vines.
Black/purple, intensively tasteful and delicate, the Fig will appear on the markets by the end of August. Discover fields of fig trees near the Mont Ventoux… In Caromb, its capital.
A specialty of Apt, the worldwide’s market of the candied fruit mainly originates from Apt. Numerous factories produce and sell their local fruit crystallized into the sugar to a global customer base.
Made with almond and a paste of candied melon or orange, the calisson d’Aix-en_Provence is internationally well known. Workshops are still under production to answer to the worldwide demand.
Matured in a chestnut leaf, the Banon cheese is strong, creamy and tasty… local farm in the village of Banon produce this authentic goat cheese. Banon goat cheese can be found in local markets.
Lavender rows are everywhere in Provence and even more in the Sault area and next to Apt. The large plains showcase hectares of lavender fields that are in production. Visit the Museum in Coustellet to become gain further knowledge and experience with harvesting and distilling lavender.
As Provence offers a landscape bursting with sunshine and various terrain and soil, a vast variety of herbs are cultivated in Provence. The Provencal herbs include: thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, savory, marjoram (or oregano), but wild thyme, chervil, tarragon, lovage, sage, fennel and basil.
The essential base of the Mediterranean cuisine. Green, black, purple, broken… all varieties are surely included in the Provencal cuisine. It is unimaginable to make a Niçoise salad without black olives, or that popular aperitif, the hand made tapenade – a secret recipe from our grand mother. Unthinkable to prepare a salad without the AOC Olive oil, tasty, strong and refine – Gosh it’s good!
All over the Luberon and the Alpilles areas, you will discover beautiful landscapes with lavender fields and olive orchards.
Certain olive oils will have an AOC designation. For example, the Baux de Provence have their own AOC labled Olive oil to protect the quality of the olive oil against the competitor and also the savoir-faire of the local.
75% of the production is directly sold to customers while 5% is exported out of France… So a unique experience for you to try our Olive oil, fine, strong and delicious…! Welcome to Provence!!
The more popular name of the truffle is "black diamond", but actually, truffles come in black and white, and in numerous variants of each of the two colors.
The truffle is a type of subterranean mushroom, growing around the roots of plants, mainly oak trees and hazel trees and sometimes lavender or thyme. A typical truffle farm is a plantation of oak trees, either hidden in the wilderness or well fenced and guarded during the season.
Average sized truffles generally weigh between 30 and 60 grams.
Truffles are found mainly in Provence (Luberon, Mont Ventoux, Alpes Maritimes) and in the Perigord. The main Provence market towns for truffles are Apt, Carpentras, Richerenche and Valréas.
A truffle hunter knows that "truffières" are not eternal. They grow and they die like all living things. And when the "truffière" dies, the grass grows again at the foot of the oak. Still, it's worth checking the old places, because the truffles can return again to where they once were.
Truffles "season" is in winter. It begins in November and continues until the following March.
The truffle does have a very strong, pungent flavor, and is used in paper-thin slices in a variety of recipes. We recommend placing the truffles with the food they are accompanied with (eggs, chicken, scallops…) the day before preparation so the food can absorb their flavor and aroma.
Don’t forget that, the less a truffle is cooked, the more the truffle retains it’s flavor, it is better to add truffles towards the end of the cooking session.
It takes about 40 years for a wild oak tree to grow to a point where truffles will be created. You can, however, obtain specially treated young trees that will grow to truffle-maturity in about 10 years. In the larger truffle markets you'll find professional truffle-tree vendors that can provide you with the young trees and with expert advise about planting and maintaining them.
In the village of Saint Saturnin-les-Apt you can see a life-size stone statue of Joseph Talon, the "father of truffle raising."