Cookbooks / France / Provence

Provence – The Beautiful Cookbook

Provence – The Beautiful Cookbook – Introduction

Provence – The Beautiful Cookbook by Richard Olney is a ‘coffee table’ book that looks good but also contains solid, well-structured recipes that capture the essence of Provence.

We normally overlook ‘beautiful’ books because they often fail to deliver rigour and authenticity, however Richard Olney was incapable of doing anything by half measures. He always strove to accurately represent the essence of the food of his beloved Provence and Provence – The Beautiful Cookbook reflects this attention to detail and love of the cuisine.

All the important recipes are here including Tapenade (which he suggests pairing with roast lamb), Troucha (a Swiss chard omelette from Nice), the ubiquitous Soupe au Pistou, Aigo Bouido (garlic and bread soup), Pot-Au-Feu a la Provencale (which includes a lamb shank along with the beef), Hourtete (the Vaucluse soup of garden vegetables bound with egg), Pissaladiere (the recipe uses anchovies but he points out that the original used the fermented fish paste called pissalat from where the name derives), Caillettes a la Vauclusienne (meatballs wrapped in caul that are executed beautifully at La Fourchette in Avignon), Ratatouille (he doesn’t use separate pots to cook each of the vegetables but does take a long time reducing the resultant cooking liquid) and Salad Nicoise (an authentic recipe that follows the stern warning of Jacques Medecin that the only cooked ingredient should be the eggs – no beans, definitely no potato).

There are also recipes for Estocaficada (the strong smelling stockfish stew which La Merenda in Nice does so well), Le Grand Aioli (a mixture of vegetable and seafoods that constitute a perfect summer lunch), the seafood soups of Bourride and Bouillabaisse with suitable discussions of the various styles as one moves from Nice along to Marseilles, Daube a la Provencale, Tian de Haricots (a favourite dish of Vaucluse which is also called Tian de Fayots around Caromb), Tian de Courgettes, Papeton d’Aubergines, Tian de Lait (an ancient custard), Tourte de Blettes (a dessert based on Swiss Chard that is popular in Nice) and Sabayon au Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise made with the beautifully luscious sweet wine of this delightful village.

The photographs in Provence – The Beautiful Cookbook are stunning and the descriptions of the various regions is brief but captures the essence of the area. The recipes are divided along traditional lines of Soups and Starters, Vegetables, Desserts and so on, but wherever a recipe is favoured in a sub-region such as Vaucluse or the Var then this is indicated.

Provence – The Beautiful Cookbook is a large format book that is well worth adding to your collection if you want to learn more about one of the greatest food regions in the world.

Provence – The Beautiful Cookbook has been chosen for inclusion in the Foodtourist Top Fifty Cookbooks.

You can order this book from Amazon by clicking on the link below:

Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook by Richard Olney