The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest for a good reason. Everything here abounds with fresh, colourful ingredients. Bright red and yellow peppers, luscious tomatoes and bright green courgettes are at the base of most of the recipes in this area.
Top 5 foods to try in Aix
1. Tapenade – this is a paste traditionally made from olives, garlic, anchovies, olive oil and other spices. It comes in green and black versions and varies quite a lot in taste, depending on the maker. Buy from a market stall and they will let you taste before you purchase. Great for aperitifs served on bread or toast. It’s quite expensive so remember that a little goes a long way.
2. Ratatouille – vegetable stew made with peppers, tomatoes, aubergine, courgette, onions and garlic. Delicious both hot and cold, this can be quite time-consuming to make as traditionally the vegetables are all cooked separately. If you’re not a purist, live dangerously and put everything in the pot together, it will still be scrummy.
3. Calissons d’Aix – these lozenge-shaped marzipan sweets are flavoured with candied orange and melon peel and topped with white icing. You’ll find them everywhere in Aix, beautifully packaged so they make a nice gift to bring home. Definitely more of an adult sweet than for children though.
4. Olive oil – who knew there were so many different flavours of olive oil? Go to a specialist moulin or do a tasting at one of the market stalls. Sample all the different types from the younger, greener oils to the fruitier, riper ones to find your favourite.
5. Fougasse – this is the Provençal equivalent of focaccia, a dense, flatish bread, made with olive oil and often flavoured with cheese, herbs and spices. Traditionally the dough is slashed to look like an ear of wheat, then baked to a deep, golden brown. Serve with salt and a dish of good quality olive oil to dip into.