The Splendor of ProvençalCuisine
Last week I began a series answering the question why Provence? You may already know that I have my first ATOP trip back to Provence since 2019 coming up this September. I still have 1 room available for this small-group-trip, focused on food and wine.
While talking with friends, the question was posed, what’s so great about Provence? To answer this question, last week we took a closer look at the enchanting villages of this stunning region and marveled at the sheer contrast of terrain that this condensed area of France provides.
Today, we are exploring the splendor that is Provençal cuisine. Recipes crammed with fresh flavors from the earth. Fruits so ripe they are bursting with their juices. Dishes made with loads of vegetables, taken right from the field, and cooked in olive oil. The Provençal people eat the way we all aspire to eat, I think!
Read on and you’ll see one of my favorite dishes from the region and some options for serving it.
One of my favorite things about getting to the French countryside is meeting local food artisans. In France, growers, producers, and chefs are revered and trusted for their expertise. These artists generally start in their field when they are very young and are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about what they make.
The visit to the goat farm is always a favorite for ATOP travelers. We meet the goats and their farmers and then we learn how fresh chèvre is made. Of course, no visit would be complete without a hardy cheese tasting!
While in Provence we also meet a cheesemonger and learn her story and see first-hand how she makes and ages cheese that is widely sought after.
We taste wine in the famed Chateauneuf du Pape region of France in an incredible cave with a rich history that is sure to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention!
We learn the true meaning of Rose-all-day with lovely wines from the region.
Wine lovers are very happy here as beautiful whites and reds abound!
We cook with some of the world’s finest chefs in 3 cooking classes and enjoy the fruits of our labor immensely!
Most meals are enjoyed al fresco because the outdoors is so lovely.
In Provence plates are piled high with fresh vegetables, cooked in olive oil. Some of the best olive oil in the world comes from Provence and travelers see firsthand how olives are pressed. If you have never tasted fresh squeezed olive oil, it is quite an experience for sure!
This has been a small taste of the splendors of Provençal cuisine, and only a few of the food related events we have while on our trip.
And now, a favorite of mine that I can never get enough of, Ratatouille! Ratatouille, stewed vegetables, originated in Provence. This dish is generally made towards the end of the week with bits of all leftover vegetables from the week, including onions, peppers, garlic, squashes and tomatoes. Something amazing happens when these flavors come together in a slow cooked pot!
I love Ratatouille on crackers, as a sandwich spread, cooked into an omelet, and of course, served alongside protein!
This is a salmon fillet that has been grilled and topped with a healthy portion of ratatouille. I added a few tart black olives and some herbs to give a fresh look and taste, boy, it was good!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 red bell peppers, sliced thin
2 green bell peppers, sliced thin
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 ounces tomato paste
1 small eggplant, chopped
2 summer squash, sliced thin
2 zucchini squash, sliced thin
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
½ cup fresh basil, torn into pieces
¼ cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet or chef’s pan, set over medium heat, sauté onions in olive oil until they are clear, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, and herbs de Provence and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add eggplant and squash and simmer for 30-45 minutes until vegetables are very tender. Add fresh herbs, salt, and pepper to taste and serve.
Let’s Cook! Join me for tons of cooking class fun this spring and summer!
Marvelous Macarons, Thursday, May 11th 6:00-9:00 Class fee $128.00 BONUS! Champagne Macs!
Unlock the secret of marvelous macarons in time for Mother’s Day and shower season! After years of study and research, I’ve cracked the code and the code for flawless macarons and it’s so simple! Learn to make delectable macarons in your home kitchen that are perfect every time!
This hands-on class gives students the chance to mix, pipe, and fill dozens of pretty treats. We will take a short break to enjoy dinner, Bird’s Next Salad with Chicken and Balsamic vinaigrette, a glass of wine, and you guessed it macarons for dessert. Each guest will take an assortment of macarons home to share and enjoy. Macaron Flavors; Strawberry, Pistachio, Vanilla, and Raspberry Rose Register NOW
Provençal Luncheon 4-Courses We will explore the south of France at its best with a menu that reflects the sunshine and the hospitality that this region is known for. Our Starter will be scrumptious Gruyere and Piquant Pepper Souffles that will rise to amazing heights. Followed by our main course, Salmon Provencal, delicately prepared in a spicy tomato sauce with olives and capers and plenty of Fresh Crusty Loaves to enjoy alongside. Of course, a Green Salad will also be served. We will enjoy a Cheese Course after crafting a few delectable varieties as they do in the gorgeous fromageries of France. We will understand the phrase Rosé–All-Day in this class filled with beautiful wines that make the world look rosy! And our dessert will be Pastry Cream stuffed Raspberry Tart. Each guest will also make and take lovely Lavender Sable Cookies. Register NOW
An Evening of French Provencal Foods and Wine We will explore the south of France at its best with a menu that reflects the sunshine and hospitality the region is known for. Our 5-Couse dinner will begin with Green Olive Tapenade and Eggplant Caviar served with our gorgeous freshly made Herbs de Provence Fougasse. This pre-starter will be served with French sparkling wine. Our starter will be a stunning Heirloom Tomato Farcie, stuffed with beef and rice and served with Provencal Rose. Our main course will be a favorite I am sure, Shrimp Provencal is a pasta dish stuffed with shrimp and fruits from the earth and accompanied by French red wine. For dessert will make irresistible Berries and cream Crepes with a drizzle of Berry Coulis. Each guest will take Chocolate Almond Twice Baked Cookies to enjoy at home as a reminder of the warmth of Provence. Register NOW