Do you want a different tour in Provence, other than cultural and historical? Why not focusing on the gastronomy of Provence? Almost each town has its own specialties. Today, let’s taste the ones of Marseille (discover the ones of Aix-en-Provence in chapter 2 coming soon) :
You certainly heard of the well-known « bouillabaisse », the famous fish soup from Marseille!
It is a delicious dish, for those who love fish and seafood, that exists since the Greeks built Marseille in 600 BC. For a long time, it was a dish made by fishermen and their family with fish they couldn’t sell and made a kind of stew with it.
The name « Bouillabaisse » comes from « Bolhabaissa », meaning « boiled fish » in Provencal. It became such an important dish that a « charter of the Bouillabaisse » has been created, setting the rules for the ingredients and the way to serve it : you have to use fresh local fish only such as : red scorpionfish, weever, conger and optional fish such as monkfish, red mullet, John Dory fish and sometimes shrimps and mussels.
You first brown onions, garlic and tomatoes in olive oil, then you add the fish and boil it for about one hour, then add fennel, persley, potatoes, pepper and salt. The most important is the way you serve it : first, the broth with « croutons » rubbed with garlic and red mayonnaise called « rouille » made with safran, then, will be served appart the fish cut in front of the guest.
That is the way you can generally find it in the restaurants of Marseille, Cassis, and the other coastal towns of Provence. The only difference now with the tradition, is that it was originally a dish for poor people, but now it costs about 50 euros at the restaurant !
The « Navette » is also a famous cookie made in Marseille, since 1781 in the oldest bakery of the city : « Le four des navettes».
The tradition tells that the shape of this cookie was made in honor of the three Maries who arrived in Provence in the 1st century AD from the Holy Land, as it has the shape of a small boat. It is a cookie mostly prepared for the day of Candlemas (Presentation of Jesus at the Temple), on the 2nd of February. It is originally made with orange blossom, but you can find it now made with many different spices like anise or cinnamon. There are many bakeries making navettes nowadays in Marseille.
When taking you on your private tour around Marseille, your tour guide will help you discover these specialties.