The French Riviera boasts rolling landscapes, vibrant lavender fields, azure blue coastline... and incredible food. Situated on the southern coast of France, Provence-Côte d’Azur offers miles of rich blue Mediterranean coastline and delicious sunshine food to go with it. So if you're planning a trip to the rainbow Riviera, make sure to try these traditional dishes.
King of regional dishes, bouillabaisse is the signature dish of Marseille. For locals, its appeal lies as much in the flavor as in the ceremonial of serving and eating it: first the broth, then the fish flesh, and copious quantities of croutons and rouille throughout. It requires a minimum of four types of fresh fish cooked in a rockfish stock with onions, tomatoes, garlic, saffron and herbs.
Traditionally a poor man’s dish, this Provençal beef stew remains a favorite on southern tables, especially in winter. Beef is slowly braised in red wine, vegetables, garlic and herbs and served with polenta or gnocchi.
No apéritif in Provence-Côte d’Azur is complete without tapenade, an olive dip made of black olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and olive oil and served with croutons. Numerous variations exist, featuring green olives or sun-dried tomatoes.
4. Omelette aux truffes
The area around Carpentras in Provence is famous for its ‘black diamonds’ (truffles). The fungi is used in numerous guises – infused in olive oil, shaved on pasta dishes or salads – but it is eggs that best complement its pungent aroma.
Perhaps Provence’s most famous culinary export , ratatouille is a vegetable casserole consisting of tomatoes, onions, courgettes, aubergines, peppers, garlic and herbs. It can be served on its own with a good chunk of bread to mop up the juices, or as an accompaniment to pork loin steaks or cutlets.
6. Tarte Tropézienne
This is a sandwich cake consisting of a round, flat-topped sugar-coated brioche filled with an orange-flower flavored cream. The cake was created by Alexandre Micka, a Polish baker who settled in the seaside village in 1955. Film director Roger Vadim happened to be shooting And God Created Woman at the time, starring the sultry Brigitte Bardot, and Micka’s bakery quickly became the crew’s favorite pit stop. Having developed a soft spot for Micka’s treats, Bardot suggested the cake be christened Tarte Tropézienne.
Find out more dishes of Provence in the new issue of My French Country Home Magazine