For many of us who have never tried authentic French cuisine, it’s hard to get past the rumors we hear. Those images of snails served-up on a plate or frog legs are certainly French, but these are local delicacies. In the South of France, you can find many kinds of local food that isn’t going to turn your stomach so easily. Some of these dishes are incredibly refreshing and tasty and don’t look that far-off from what you consider fine dining.
The south of France covers plenty of Mediterranean shorelines and is further defined from each port city. Since the southern side is nestled under the Mediterranean Ocean, the weather is much warmer there. The culture has long been associated with the Romans, Greeks, and early Christian heritage. The south of France is also home to a deep culture that embraces seafood and fine wine. But because of the rich trade and merchant shipping, it’s adapted to a wide variety of specialty foods likewise.
Since no two dishes are alike, we want to share a bit of history about the local foods and why they are important.
Here at Chez Papa; we’ll give you a fine taste of what French Cuisine of the South is all about. Not only can you learn about what makes these dishes different, but you can also make them yourself.
With so many health benefits of Mediterranean cooking, it’s perfect for today’s diets and lifestyles. From the same test kitchen crew that brought you Cookware Junkies, this is tried and true French cooking; welcome to Chez Papa.
Bread & Flatbread
The traditional art of baking bread is celebrated throughout France, yet some southern specialties take bread to whole new levels. Come and explore our page for varieties of bread and flatbread that are worthy of cuisine dining. Not only will you find Fougasse and Socca, but also many varieties of bread that go hand-in-hand with any meal. Bread has long-been considered being a daily part of life in the south of France. The famous Pissaladiéra is mostly flatbread with anchovies and onions.
We want to share some of our favorite recipes that show you how to make authentic flatbread dishes at home. Not only are they very traditional, but you can also learn what dishes they go with best and how they are served. If you’re a flatbread or bread lover, you won’t want to miss these tutorials.
France as you might already know is big on cheese, but the southern specialties are some of the most celebrated. Among the popular Roquefort, Emmental, and Banon, there are also some lesser-known cheeses you haven’t heard of. There is Pélardon, Bleu Des Causses, Raclette, Beaufort, Ossau Iraty, and Laguiole. Some of these are better suited for fondue while others go great in salads or after dinner treats with wine.
You can also find out how these cheeses are made and which wine goes best with them. And though it’s hard to make these at home for obvious reasons, what can you expect? We want to include recipes that make these incredible cheeses memorable.
The Mediterranean coast is filled with many fruits of the sea. But for the traditional flavor of southern France, you’ll be treated to recipes including brunette, monkfish, and mullets. These are also known as rockfish. If you’re a fan of fresh oysters and cooked lobster, you’ll find that too. Sea bass and cod are also a local specialty. There is plenty of calamari, squid, and sole with shrimp and prawns. Who could forget that the southern cuisine of France is also a big fan of anchovies!
Make sure that you check out our page for seafood cuisine that will be filled with traditional recipes. You might find that French seafood meals are just as easy to prepare and have distinct French flavors.
If you love a hearty soup that is unlike anything you’ve had before, the southern French soups are one-of-a-kind. One local favorite called Bouillabaisse is a complex mix of rockfish, lobster, crab, and other shellfish served in a tomato broth. If you’ve ever tried Scorpion rockfish, this is one of the most significant ingredients. Another that you probably already know is French onion soup, which is rich and creamy. There is also Soup au Pistou which is a twist on the Italian minestrone.
We’ll include plenty of other local specialties that all include recipes and tips to make them. Of course, they’ll be plenty authentic bringing the south of France to your kitchen.
Pastries & Desserts
There is something to be said about having a sweet tooth in French cuisine. For many locals in the southern Mediterranean end of France, pastries and desserts are just as complex. Perhaps you might be interested in learning how to make Catalan cream or Flan patissier, Pastis landais. Don’t forget that Nougat is one of the finest sweets and a southern French classic. You might also be interested in the Gateau des Rois (the cake of kings) that originated in the south of France.
This special cake often is baked with a little plastic figure of baby Jesus. A practice that is still done for Mardi Gras in New Orleans! Get all the latest recipes that will make your mouth water.
Some meals are meant to be savored and it’s mostly for complex flavors that give the southern regions such flair. Ratatouille is a much-loved classic that gained traction after the hit Pixar film came out. You can expect that it should be served with fish or quiche but perfect next to a crispy baguette. You’ll equally love the Coq au Vin (Rooster in wine sauce) which is a southern chicken dish that was originally made famous by Julia Child. For the easier version, check out our Poulet au vinaigre recipe.
And of course, the impressive Cassoulet that is a wonderful comfort food similar to a pot luck casserole with pork, duck, sausage, and white beans. It often includes whatever is left-over. You’ll love seeing how this recipe works.
It’s hard not to think that France is big on pasta, but considering that Italy and France are quite friendly… Some of the southern pasta versions came from Italy but became popular on the Provincial coast. A good example is the Gratin de Macaroni (Pasta gratin) with a heavy cream sauce topped with hard cheese shavings. There is also the French Danube which is a beef stew that can be served over pasta. This recipe is best served the next day to allow all the Mediterranean flavors to set in.
Among other things, we’ll include plenty of tips on how to make pasticcio (the French-Italian pasta) and options on how it can be used in various main dishes and even salads.