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Food and Wine

From a simple picnic of goats cheese and fresh apricots to a New Year's Eve dinner with truffles, Provence is unsurpassed for the freshness of its produce and variety of its dishes.  Olive oil, olives and tapenades, fresh Cavaillon melons, strawberries and apricots, goats cheeses of infinite variety, tasty saucisson, and the black diamond, truffles. 

And to accompany them of course Provence would not be Provence without an excellent choice of wines from the sweet muscat of Beaumes de Venise to the renowned reds of Chateauneuf du Pape and Cotes du Rhone villages of Gigondas, Vacqueras, Rasteau and Sablet. From the flinty Cotes du Ventoux to the soft

Cotes du Luberon, the many independent vignerons now established in this area of Provence means that the serious wine buyer is really spoilt for choice.

So whether its preparing your own delicious repast from the local markets and local producers, learning to cook the Provencal way, sampling the wines or simply enjoying the best of the regions cooking in one of the many excellent restaurants (including Michelin stars) - this area can offer it all.

Any can be booked as part of a Tailor Made a la carte holiday. Click >>Tailor Made holiday.  

Olives & Olive Oil
Olive Oil
Used in cooking for over two thousand years, olive oil,  'liquid gold' comes in many flavours according to the area of production and variety of olives. Choose a fruity olive oil for hearty dishes such as aubergine and tomatoes and a fresh light olive oil for fish and salads.  Most olive oil producers will allow you to taste before you buy and we can recommend the best producers to visit, some of whom  also offer guided tours explaining olives and olive oil production. 
Eating olives too come in infinite varieties - black olives with herbs, green olives with basil and garlic, olives stuffed with almonds or anchovy, the tiny black olives from Nyons and the salty green olives cassé from Les Baux just a few to mention.  Why not also try black or green 'tapenade' , a delicious paste made from crushed olives, just fantastic with a fresh baguette. Just choose your market stall and allow yourself to be tempted!

The 'black diamond' is celebrated and sold in truffle fairs during the winter months, from November to March.  Here you can buy black truffles and truffle products such as olive oil with truffles and truffle eggs.  Many restaurants at this time of the year also offer a special truffle menu. A real winter treat.  
Chateauneuf du Pape Cellar
From the celebrated wines of Chateauneuf du Pape to the small independent vignerons of the Luberon, the choice and quality of wines in this region is huge.  What better experience than a visit to the domaine where the grapes are grown and the wine produced.  Many are delighted to offer a tasting (dégustation) and are happy to explain the subtleties of the flavours of their different vintages.  We can recommend some of the best of the area and arrange visits to their cellars and a professional tastings, and some even offer a special meal accompanied by their wines to show them off at their best.
Cote du Rhone wine
Local wine fetes are held in many of the villages at various times of the year.  Here you can taste a selection of the region's wines for the price of the purchase of a glass.  The November Fete du Vin Primeur in Avignon is one of the liveliest occasions when a sampling of the new vintage Cotes du Rhone wine is followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the famous Pont St Benezet.  Great fun!
Other gourmet delights

Specialist artisans all over Provence produce some of the best quality foods we know.  From the master Chocolatier Joel Durand in St. Rémy and master Nougatier Boyer in Sault to Bee keepers offering rosemary, thyme, acacia and lavender honey, Cheese makers with Appellation Controlé goats cheese in Banon, and even the local Boulangers with their speciality breads - fougasse, fig, olive and walnut.  
Gourmet delights
Dining Out
Resturant Peron, Bistrot des Alpilles, Cafe du Manutention
Gourmet restaurants, hotel restaurants with flair, country auberges, village and farm restaurants off the beaten track, the choice is endless. What is common to all our restaurant recommendations ll is the excellence of the local produce and high quality of the cooking. Just a few of our favourites include:

Apt cheese shop - a delightful lunch consisting of a selection of their best cheeses accompanied by a pretty salad and glass of wine. Booking recommended especially on Saturday market day.

La Closerie, Ansouis. This delightful restaurant in the south Luberon fully deserves its one Michelin star. A treat for lunch or dinner.

Le Bistrot des Alpilles, St. Remy - a bustling brasserie on the boulevard with a wide choice of menus - try the Plat du Jour for the best that day.

Restaurant Le Fournil, Bonnieux. In a delightful square in the perched village of Bonnieux, this superb restaurant offers the best of modern provencal dining.

Grand Cafe du Manutention, Avignon - great lamb and apricot tagines at this lively restaurant behind the Papal Palace.

Restaurant Peron, Marseille - right on the Corniche with views right across the bay to the Vieux Port, an excellent modern fish restaurant

Held on a different day of the week in all local towns and villages,  Provencal markets are wonderful display of foods and other provencal products.  Locally produced seasonal fruit and vegetables, cheeses and sausages, olives and olive products, herbs and spices together with fish perfect for the bbq (fresh sea bream and red tuna) and seasonal meats such as quail and quails eggs, capons, and not forgetting of course, truffles.  

All are beautifully displayed and are not to be resisted!  A pleasure just to wander around and pick your own selection to make a tasty picnic or the best ingredients for that special meal at home.

Cookery classes
Cookery Class If the sight of all that wonderful market produce tempts you to experiment with new dishes why not include a day or two of cookery classes in your holiday or even stay for a week in a Cookery School to learn the classic dishes of Provence.  We can offer both options, all bookable as part of a Tailor Made holiday. Click >>Tailor Made holiday.  Ingredients are all from local producers and often you will be able to choose your own, under the chef's expert guidance, from the local markets - all part of the cooking adventure.  And at the end of your day you will be able to share your creations with your friends and fellow pupils. 
Day excursions

Including lunch or dinner at a special restaurant - wherever you are holidaying in Provence there is always a day when you want to do something a little bit different or there is a special occasion to celebrate.  We can arrange excursions a little further afield, including transport if you wish, to include lunch or dinner at a really special restaurant. 

Lunch by harbour in the fishing village of Cassis, dinner on the Corniche in Marseille for the best bouillabaise in town, a day in Avignon with lunch or dinner in a Michelin starred restaurant overlooking the beautiful courtyard of the Papal Palace, lunch in a country restaurant in the heart of the lavender fields - just a few of the ideas we can include in a Tailor Made holiday. Click >>Tailor Made holiday.
Real Provence


Updated: November 11, 2017