As we near the end of summer, we are doing our best to squeeze in the most out of the long days and warm nights. And what better way to enjoy the lazy weather than by trying the great food and excellent wine of another country? This summer, we’re dreaming of a tasting tour of France, specifically Provence, the region that plays host to Peter Mayle’s delightful Caper series. In The Diamond Caper, the newest book featuring the exploits of expert sleuth Sam Levitt and his partner in love and intrigue, Elena Morales, diamonds are being stolen all over France. But not to worry, the pair and their friends still manage to share some wonderful meals. In this edition of Armchair Adventurer, we share the Provençal food and drink that will make you feel like you’re inside the story of The Diamond Caper—without the audacious jewelry heists, of course!
Every great meal begins with a trip to the market, and Provençal markets are filled with incredible fresh produce, dairy, and meat, as well as other special goods. Most towns host weekly markets that begin in the morning, so be sure to get an early start to your day if you want to take advantage of everything the market has to offer. As you wander the stalls, admire the crusty baguettes, smell the lavender, sample the locally made goat cheese, and keep an eye out for fresh eggs.
Speaking of lavender, Provence is simply covered in this colorful, aromatic plant. Follow the lavender roads to snap a photo of the vibrant fields. No lavender enthusiast would leave Provence without a stop at the Lavender Museum in the heart of the Luberon Regional Natural Park. Browse the museum to learn more about the medicinal values of lavender and the plant’s long history in Provence. Don’t miss the museum boutique where you can purchase lavender honey for your after-dinner tea.
Next, the wine! Provence is known for vineyards that produce one of the most eye-catching alcoholic treats: rosé. Available in varying shades of pink, rosé is commonly consumed as an aperitif, a drink before a meal, but can also accompany seafood, chicken, or pork. Provençal rosés are dry wines that tend to be pale pink in color. Head to one of the many vineyards in Provence to learn more about the winemaking process and taste a few for yourself!
Of course, some nights it’s nicer to have your meals prepared for you, and Provence has some of the best restaurants in the world. Whether you stop in a corner bistro in Marseille or dine in Nice while taking in the French Riviera, you’re sure to have a splendid meal in the company of good friends. Bon appétit!
Many thanks to Ashley at CuriousProvence (a Curious Canadian’s Adventures in Provence) for use of the photos in this post.