I always strive to introduce you to local products during your immersion in Provence. I am convinced that Provencal cuisine is one of the best cuisines in the world because it abounds with fresh products. Among these iconic products are, among many others, Provencal herbs, Menton lemons, and olives. Today, I want to talk to you about olives. I want to share their history and their uses with you. In this regard, you can find an article on olive harvesting in this article: [link]. In the meantime, I invite you to immerse yourself in the history of this small edible fruit, which holds such a significant place in our region.
1. Olives in Provence - What is an Olive?
An olive is an edible fruit found on the tree known as the olive tree. The olive tree is an iconic tree in the landscapes of Provence, and I believe you will agree with me. Olives can be used to make olive oil, but they can also be consumed directly or in the form of tapenade.
2. Olives in Provence - Where Do Olives Come From?
Olives originate from the Mediterranean region. Contrary to popular belief, Provence is not the top olive producer. Ahead of it are Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, and Tunisia. Provence is only twelfth place in olive production. However, it is renowned for producing the best olive oil in the world.
3. Olives in Provence: The Most Renowned Ones
As I mentioned, olives are an emblematic component of Provencal cuisine in France. Provence, a Mediterranean region, is known for its olive groves producing a wide variety of olives. The Lucques, for green olives, and the Nyons black olives are the Provencal olives that I easily find in the markets in Provence. They are used in the preparation of local dishes such as tapenade and others that I invite you to discover immediately.
4. Olives in Provence - Recipe Ideas
It's true that olives can be found in many Provencal dishes, so you can discover their taste in various ways.
a. Olives in Provence – Tapenade
There are two types of tapenade: green tapenade and black tapenade. Tapenade is a mixture of black or green olive paste, capers, anchovies, garlic, and olive oil, often served as an appetizer.
b. Olives in Provence - Niçoise Salad
Niçoise salad is a salad composed of black olives, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, anchovies, green beans, and tuna. As the name suggests, this salad originates from the city of Nice. However, you can find excellent versions of it, especially in Aix-en-Provence.
c. Olives in Provence - Chicken with Olives
Chicken with olives is a stewed dish with chicken pieces, olives, tomatoes, and Provencal herbs. It's less common on restaurant menus, but you can easily prepare it at home.
d. Olives in Provence - Provençal Pizza
We have a tradition. We usually eat pizza on Friday evenings. I don't cook pizzas; I order them, and they are delivered to me. Provencal pizza is topped with olives, tomatoes, anchovies, and basil, although we don't eat it much because my children don't like anchovies. However, we enjoy ordering it and sharing it with our guests if they want to try it.
e. Olives in Provence - Olive Fougasse
Olive fougasse is a bread enriched with olives. There are fougasses with black olives and fougasses with green olives. I learned to bake fougasse with my friend, Cécile. She is a great cook and a specialist in Provencal cuisine! Now, if you don't like cooking or want to save time, you can find very good fougasses in bakeries all over Provence, especially in Rousset.
I hope you enjoyed this article.
If you come to my place for an immersion stay in Provence, I will make you discover the different aspects of Provence: the landscapes and the scents, but also the culture, the gastronomy... while helping you to improve your French.
See you soon in Provence!
Virginie In Provence