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Guide to Provence Food and Cooking

Provencal cookery is based on seasonality, and a focus on using the very best the land has to offer. Thanks to the climate, in late spring and summer there is a bounty of fruit - melons, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries. And it is not unusual to encounter a Provence restaurant taking one fruit as the theme for its menu.

Typically Provencal cooking will employ plenty of olive oil, garlic and tomatoes. It's a variant on the Mediterranean diet that is said to be one of the healthiest in the world.

In Autumn, mushrooms are the star. The woods are filled with cepes and girolles which are used in classic pasta and risotto dishes. The Italian influence is strong in Provencal cooking due to the large number of Italian migrant workers who arrived at the beginning of the 20th century. More inventive uses of mushrooms include adding girolles to a Bouillabaise.

Depending on how cold the winter is the mushrooms season ends towards the beginning of December. With the first frost comes the first truffles. By Christmas time Provence is in the midst of truffle fever as cooks seek to trump each other with the most inventive use of the black diamond of Provence. Despite their best efforts the classic recipes tend to remain the best, pairing truffle with eggs or rice.

           
           

Claude's Kitchen

The very best Provence food recipes

Provence Guru resident chef Claude Garcia serves up a monthly dose of the most delicious Provence food for all readers of Provence Guru. Her styles is to put a personal twist on regional specialities

Every month we publish a seasonal recipe from Provence. Claude Garcia plans her recipes according to what’s available in the markets, the fruit that’s falling off her trees in the garden and the freshest herbes de provence. Claude was born in Marseille, and has spent her life working in Aix en Provence. Her cuisine is redolent of the land of her birth.

She now spends her time writing recipes for Provence Guru and starting in 2016 she will be offering private chef services and cookery courses.

Anyone interested in taking part in one of Claude’s cookery courses, or employing her services for home cooking and menu planning should email: jamie@provenceguru.com

Get the latest recipes from Claude via our Facebook page

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Provence Food Festivals

Provence is so in love with its ingredients that it holds festivals to honour most of them. Here's a short list of ingredients and the rough date and place of the accompanying festival: It's also possible to organise walking food tours in major cities such as Aix en Provence and Avignon.

Truffles: Last Sunday before Christmas Rognes. January Richerenche truffle festival Cherries: La Roque D'Antheron May Melons: Cavaillon July Strawberries: Velleron May Fig: Carombe, July Chestnut: Banon, November.

For seasonal food events see the Guru Living Provence page

           
           
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Provence Markets

Provencal markets are of course renowned for their fresh fruit and vegetables. Even so many of the traders will purchase goods from large whole sellers, and then resell in the market at a margin. Provence weekly markets remain an excellent way to buy food and vegetables, but shoppers should not be afraid to ask about where a trader has purchased his goods.

Recently there has been a massive growth in village markets reserved only for people who produce the goods they are selling. These markets are called Farmers' markets or in French Marche de Producteurs. Two of the largest farmers' markets are Coustellet and St Martin de La Brasque, which both take place at the weekend, on Sunday morning.

Often farmers' markets are in the evening and they can be an extremely convivial experience, allowing holiday makers and residents to try delicacies such as local goat's cheese whilst sipping on local rose wine.

Farmers' markets are of course an excellent way for cooks to ensure they are only using the freshest of ingredients.

           
           

Food videos

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Bouillabaisse recipe

Here is the recipe we have all been waiting for, the golden soup of Marseille, as prepared by one of its inhabitants. An...
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