Why do colors seem more intense in Provence, flavors more vivid? . It could be the hot dry climate which concentrates the essence of fruit and vegetables or maybe the sun beaming down on the market stalls. Whatever the reason , the real story of the food in Provence is the triumph over the elements. Here is how to savor its amazing flavors. As you bite into a Cavaillon melon or a snow- white fennel -perfumed sea bass fillet, you might think that nature has always been kind to Provence. on the wind battered coast of Marseille , fishermen salvaged the boniest rock fish to create the famous Bouillabaisse, that would become legendary worldwide. In the sun blasted mountains north of Nice, impoverished farmers created a repertoire of dishes found nowhere else in France ,using swiss cheese , chickpea four ( crispy Panisses) served with a rose. Salt cod ( shipped from Sandinavia) to compensate from the scarcity of fresh fish. In Camargue, the cowboys tamed the wild bull to create their own version of Daube , a quite long-simmered stew that transforms tough cuts of meat into a gourmet marvel. Olive oil is always used in Provencal cooking and has become a symbol of the south and has overcome a 1950’s frost that entirely wiped out France‘s olive groves. The production is tiny to that of Spain or Italy but of exceptionally high quality. Even the tomato has a relatively short history here, having been introduced in the 1820’s and at first only used in cooked dishes.
Provencal cooking is divided by the area’s dramatically changing landscape . In the Vaucluse alone, scorched plains punctuated by orcher cliffs give way to lush-orchard lined mountains and slopped vineyards. The wild Calanques of Marseille – source of spiky sea urchins and octopuses- ease into tranquil waters of St Tropez, home to bream and sea bass. Everywhere you can smell the fragrant flavors of fruits -dripping with nectar and vegetables so flavor packed-packed with that meat might not be a requirement for a meal. The true joy of visiting the region lies in discovering these differences, which might be subtle as in a ( local version of a bouillabaisse or fish soup) or unmistakable that signal that truffle season is here!.