Mediterranean food is magnificent. It tastes sensational, of course, with a cuisine based substantially on local ingredients such as fish, fresh vegetables and olive oil (rather than butter, as in Northern France). Even better, it's super-healthy

And, along the coast around Marseille, you also have exotic influences from Spain, Italy, North Africa, the Eastern Med and the Middle East.

This area of our gastronomy section looks at the best regional produce and specialities, some typical dishes of Provence, a few of the very many food festivals and the odd recipe (cooking with pastis or truffles, anyone?)

Apart from the articles below, click here to read about cooking with lavender, here for the Puyricard Chocolaterie, here for a tour of the Léonard Parli calisson factory in Aix en Provence and here for the Gerbaud wild herb farm near Lourmarin.

Or browse our pages on the delicious food markets of Aix en Provence, Avignon, Marseille and Saint Rémy de Provence. And above all, bon appétit -or, as the locals say, bon app! logoClick here to book a hotel in Provence

BouillabaisseeYou can't go to Marseille without eating a bouillabaisse. But first read our ultimate guide to the rich, complex fish stew which the city invented and has made its own.

A calisson d'AixProvence, with its sun-soaked fruits and nuts, aromatic herbs and perfumed honeys and exotic North African influences, is perfectly poised to produce intensely flavoured, irresistible sweet treats.

olivesOlive production in Provence goes back a long way - back to the Ancient Greeks, in fact. On this page we explore this long and surprising history.

Cavaillon melonsCavaillon thinks of itself as the world capital of melons. Its speciality is the Charentais: small, round, with blue-green striped rind, deep orange flesh and an irresistible perfume.

Brousse du Rove goat's cheese from ProvenceYou only need to look at the provençal landscape to understand at once why its cheese is so special.

RatatouilleEveryone has heard of ratatouille, bouillabaisse and even aïoli - even if they can't always pronounce them. But there is much more to provençal cuisine.

Pastis restaurant, AucklandYou might not think of pastis as a cooking ingredient. But its herby, aniseed kick is a perfect complement to all sorts of dishes, both savoury and sweet.

Seafood feast at Sausset les PinsThroughout the winter, in villages on the beautiful Blue Coast, thousands gather on the harbour-front on Sunday mornings to feast on fresh seafood.

truffle market sign richerenchesThis is a guide to truffle tourism in Provence: festivals, markets, cultural centres and museums, truffle hunts and more.

olive oil in bottlesIf you fancy a visit to an olive farm, an olive oil festival, market, specialist shop or museum, read on for our full guide. Click here to read our general introduction to the olive oils of Provence.

Banon cheeseA small, round, pungent goat's cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves and neatly tied with raffia, Banon is Provence's best known and most recognisable cheese speciality.

saffron and crocus smallIn autumn Provence is quietly aglow with purple flowers. No, not lavender, but crocuses: grown to produce the region's "red gold", the fragrant spice saffron (safran in French).

olive oil press smallLe Vieux Moulin is one of the few olive oil mills in Provence that still use an ancient traditional method. Below, our picture gallery takes you right through the cold press process from start to finish.

truffles in hand smallThe tips and secrets of top truffle growers, sellers and chefs in Provence: how much to pay for a truffle, what to look for when buying it and how to store and cook it.

Main Menu