The 5 essential Provençal culinary specialities

Pissaladière: a culinary speciality from Nice

A culinary speciality from the Nice region of France, pissaladière is a savoury tart made with caramelised onions, anchovies and black olives on a thin bread crust.

Pissaladière is thought to have been created by the fishermen of Nice in the Middle Ages. At that time, fishermen prepared pissalat, a paste made by soaking anchovies in salt for several months, then grinding them to a purée. This made it possible to preserve the anchovies for longer, as they were an important source of protein for sailors on their long sea voyages.

The fishermen of Nice used pissalat to fill a sort of savoury tart, to which they added onions and black olives, ingredients that were readily available in the region. This tart became known as pissaladière, and has become an emblematic dish of Nice cuisine.

Entre la pizza et la pissaladière - Glenn Viel - Baumanière

“Entre la pizza et la pissaladière” – Glenn Viel – Photo by Virginie Ovessian – 2020

In 2020, Chef Glenn Viel at L’Oustau de Baumanière, 3 stars in the Michelin Guide, revisited this typical Provençal dish by taking inspiration from another typical Mediterranean dish: pizza. This original combination has charmed the palates of the finest gourmets and delighted the taste buds of fans of traditional Provençal cuisine.

Red mullet: a fish often cooked in Provence

In Mediterranean cuisine, red mullet is often prepared with fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary and oregano, as well as garlic and lemon. Some traditional dishes from Provence also use fresh tomatoes, capers and olives to enhance the flavours. Recipes vary from region to region, but the emphasis is generally on fresh, local ingredients.

Red mullet is very popular in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean, where it is often caught locally and served fresh. Its delicate, flavoursome flesh makes it a sought-after fish for seafood lovers and chefs who want to offer an authentic, delicious taste experience.

Le Rouget - Glenn Viel - Baumanière - @virginieovessian

Le Rouget – Glenn Viel à l’Oustau de Baumanière – Virginie Ovessian 2023

Rouget - Michel Hulin - Cabro d'Or @virginieovessian

Rouget – Michel Hulin at La Cabro d’Or – Virginie Ovessian 2022

Whether at La Cabro d’Or, our gourmet Provencal restaurant, or at L’Oustau de Baumanière, red mullet has a special place on our menus and is often revisited in our menus, which change according to the seasons and the Chefs’ desires.

La Bouillabaisse :

Bouillabaisse dates back to ancient times. Back then, fishermen in Marseille used this soup as a way of cooking fish that they couldn’t sell at the market because they were too damaged or small. They would simmer the fish with vegetables and herbs in a large pot of seawater.

Over time, the bouillabaisse recipe was refined and became a traditional Provençal dish, associated with Marseille and its region, Provence. Bouillabaisse has also been influenced by other Mediterranean cultures, notably Spain, Italy and Greece.

Bouillabaisse - Glenn Viel - Oustau de Baumanière - @virginieovessian

Bouillabaisse – Glenn Viel at l’Oustau de Baumanière – Virginie Ovessian 2020

In 2020, Glenn Viel, the Chef of the Oustau de Baumanière, decided to revisit the bouillabaisse in an original form, as an elegant millefeuille.

Crunchy almonds :

Croquants with almonds have their origins in Italian biscuits called “cantucci” or “biscotti”, which are also dried almond biscuits. These were popular in Italy as early as the Middle Ages. Over time, these biscuits were brought to Provence through trade between the two regions, and have become a Provençal culinary speciality.

Croquants aux amandes are made from a dough of almonds, sugar, eggs and flour. The dough is shaped into long baguettes, then baked in the oven until golden and crisp. Once baked, the baguettes are sliced diagonally to produce elongated biscuits, which are then placed back in the oven to dry out and crisp up, hence their name.

Crunchy almonds - Michel Hulin 2022

Crunchy almonds – Michel Hulin – 2022

Almost every year, our Chef at La Cabro d’Or, Michel Hulin, prepares almond croquants for the festive season. You’ll find them on sale in our online shop, where you can order a little taste of Provence for your festive meals.

The Fougasse :

Fougasse is a type of flatbread, often flavoured with Provençal herbs, olives, bacon or other tasty ingredients. The history of fougasse is rich and goes back several centuries. The term “fougasse” originally comes from the Latin “panis focacius”, meaning “bread from the hearth”.
Fougasse was traditionally baked in the hearths of Provençal homes, where it was used as daily bread. It is therefore one of the oldest forms of bread in the region, making it a typical recipe for the Provence region.


Fougasses Baumanière - @virginieovessian

Fougasses Baumanière – Virginie Ovessian 2020

At the Oustau de Baumanière, the Head Baker makes the breads served every day as part of the famous “bread and food pairing” devised in collaboration with Chef Glenn Viel. The fougasse, typical of the region, is naturally one of them.