Whether planning your next in-person visit or virtually exploring the region through your friends’ Instagram photos, bringing a taste of Provence to your home is actually quite simple. Known for fresh fish, flavor-packed produce, and tons of local herbs, Provençal cuisine provides some of the tastiest options for summer enjoyment – and preparing said meals yourself isn't as complicated as you may think. Check out five of our go-to dishes for bringing a taste of the south of France to your home, here.
Synonymous with southern French cuisine, bouillabaisse holds all of our favorite Provençal flavors in one hearty, delicious stew. Generally speaking, classic bouillabaisse must use a minimum of three types of fish, one of which is typically red rascasse. An equally important part of the recipe is the classic rouille, a sauce composed of olive oil, garlic, and saffron. However, the most imperative component of it all is the way in which the stew is served. First comes the broth, served with grilled slices of bread and topped with rouille, then the fish (and other optional vegetables) are served after. Live out your inner fisherman and give it a whirl!
Soup au Pistou
Although eating soup in the summer may sound contrary, diving into a bowl of soup au pistou is one of the tastiest ways to enjoy fresh summer produce. Simply soak some dried cannellini beans overnight, then boil for 15 minutes prior to using in the soup – or if looking for a shortcut, spring for the easy-to-use canned kind. Then, sautée some zucchini, onions, fennel, tomatoes, and garlic in olive oil and let simmer with a bouquet of dried herbs (bouquet garni), and add the beans plus broth of your choice. To make your pistou (pesto), simply mash some garlic, basil, and cheese with olive oil and set aside. Add some al dente cooked pasta to the mix, stir all (aside from the pistou) together, top with the pesto, and you’re on your way to enjoying a healthy, vegetarian-friendly Provençal favorite.
There’s a reason why we find ourselves returning to the Niçoise salad year in and year out – It’s simple, it’s fresh, and it satiates us in the most healthy way possible. Hailing from the southerly city of Nice, this produce-forward meal promises a tasty alternative to heavier French dishes. To make this dish at home, all you’ll need is some tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, olives, and greens. Toss the greens with olive oil and layer the additional toppings on top. Trust us, it’s as simple / delicious as it sounds.
What sets Provençal tapenade apart from international renditions is its unique set of ingredients. Aside from olives, garlic, and oil, Provençal tapenade also uses capers and anchovies, which add additional saltiness, flavor, and texture to the paste. To host a French-inspired happy hour at home, simply grab some Pastis, add a splash of water, and serve up some homemade tapenade on mini toasts. For an even more authentic happy hour, head outdoors, break out the pétanque set, and enjoy!
Perhaps the most Provençal of them all, this world-renowned dish is a favorite of Provençal locals and visitors alike. Similar to the salad above, ratatouille also finds its roots in the city of Nice, and although exact recipes can vary, the meal almost always includes zucchini, onion, eggplant, bell peppers, and tons of local herbs. The word ratatouille comes from the Occitan verb “to stir up,” as the dish was generally served as a stew in the past. Today, ratatouille is more commonly prepared by layering paper-thin slices of vegetables in a circular dish. Patience is necessary for this recipe, though we promise the payoff is worth it.
Rosé, of course! No other style of wine is as synonymous with a region as rosé is with Provence. Home to some of the world’s greatest pink wine producers, rosé and Provence’s regional cuisine go hand in hand. In fact, rosé is actually one of the most food-friendly styles of wine on the planet, thanks to its high acidity, lack of tannins, and overall fruit-forwardness. No matter what’s on the menu tonight, we’re confident that rosé will be a pleasant partner.