May 18, 2015

Dig into the rich flavours of this comforting vegetables stew

On top of the great beaches, glorious alps and fascinating culture, the South of France is also home to the mouth-wateringly good Provençal cuisine. From rich stews to sweet delights, the food of the Provence is bursting with flavour, just waiting to be tried. To help you get inspired for your next gastronomic trip down south, I've put together a list of my four favourite Provençal dishes, the ones I can't leave France without trying. So, with your rumbling tummies at the ready, be prepared to have your taste buds enlightened.

Bouillabaisse

Known as the signature dish of the city of Marseille, the bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew that's been a key part of the city's gastronomic culture for many years. Originally, the stew was created as a way of using up the small bony fish the local fishmongers couldn't sell, mixing a minimum of four types of fish with herbs, saffron, tomatoes and garlic. And traditionally, the meal is served with a helping of rouille (a mayonnaise made from garlic, olive oil, cayenne pepper and saffron) which is usually smothered over slices of freshly baked, crusty baguette.

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A delicious bowl of bouillabaisse

If you fancy trying this dish out during your trip to Marseille, a great place to start is Chez Fondon, a wonderful Provençal restaurant that overlooks the Vallon des Auffes port. Dig into tender pieces of rascasse, conger eel and gurnard, as you look out onto the bobbing boats.

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Sit back and relax to the stunning views of the Vallon des Auffes

Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a Provençal vegetable stew that combines roasted tomatoes with sautéed aubergines, courgettes and peppers, as well as garlic, fennel and local herbs. It's originally from the city of Nice, and is often enjoyed as a side dish with meat, but can also be found folded into freshly made crêpes.

For a taste of a traditional ratatouille, make sure you stop by Nice for a bowl or two. A great restaurant to try is La Rossettisserie, which is located in the city's charming and historic Old Town. There, you'll get the chance to dig into a starter of runny poached eggs, laid out on top of a bed of seasoned lentils and ratatouille.

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A ratatouille being prepared

Socca

Another Nice classic, this delicious street food is similar to a thick crêpe, but is made from a mixture of chickpea flour and olive oil. Traditionally, the soccas are baked on a cast-iron pan above an open fire, until crispy and toasted in colour. Once cooked, the huge circular soccas are seasoned with pepper, cut-up and served hot, ready to be eaten by hand.

Although socca vendors can be found around nearly every corner of the Côte d'Azur, one of the best places to sit down and enjoy a huge plate of this savoury treat is at Chez Pipo. Sit down either beside the huge socca stove, or outside in the sun, and dig into some of the best socca in the country.

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Visit your local socca vendor for a tasty savoury treat

Calisson

If you have a sweet tooth, you're bound to love the sugary taste of a calisson, a type of almond-shaped sweet that is traditionally from the city of Aix-en-Provence. Made from ground almonds and candied oranges or melons, which have been blended into a paste and topped with royal icing, these sweets are must during your trip to the South of France.

For those of you who really fall for these tasty treats, head to the Confiserie Léonard Parli, a family-run confectionery that has been creating calissons since 1874. During your visit, you'll get to enjoy a tour of the factory, where you'll learn how the sweets are made from scratch. And, before you leave, you'll have the chance to buy your own selection of calissons, which work perfectly as a gift for loved ones, or even just a pick-me-up for the drive back home.

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Feeling peckish? Indulge in a sweet calisson

Hungry?

If this list of delicious dishes and treats has got you craving some French cuisine, make sure you book your journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle . It only takes 35-minutes to cross the Channel with us, meaning you'll soon be digging into bowls of bouillabaisse and handfuls of calissons.

Photo Credits:
A delicious bowl of bouillabaisse
Sit back and relax to the stunning views of the Vallon des Auffes
A ratatouille being prepared
Visit your local socca vendor for a tasty savoury treat
Feeling peckish? Indulge in a sweet calisson

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