Flavors of France > A culinary Journey to Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Preparing a meal Provençal-style means learning to cook with olive oil
“The oil that they produce here from the most beautiful olives in the world is used in place of butter and I was dreading the change. But I tasted it in sauces, and without a word of lie, there is nothing better.”
This is wine country, from Chateauneuf-du-Pape to Cassis and Provençal rosés. It is a land where the food sings with a southern accent of olives, aromatic herbs and 46 different species of fish, as well as the garlic, tomato and saffron that join forces to provide a burst of flavor and color.
The mountainous backcountry provides game that has been well-fed on aromatic herbs, and herds of goats that produce renowned cheese like Banon and Brousse.
The fruits and preserves are a reminder that Nostradamus long ago wrote a treatise on jam-making here. The “golden fruits” – oranges, mandarins, clementines and lemons – add warm perfumed notes to every garden in this charmed land. When candied, they turn up everywhere on the Côte d’Azur, elegantly presented in rattan baskets, a feast for the eyes and palate.
There is a variety of fig found here called the “golden drop,” large and pale that splits near the eye when it is ripe and oozes a very sweet amber juice. In the 18th century people would take 2 or 3 ripe figs, spread them onto a slice of bread and top them with a grinding of pepper.
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