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A guide to the sun-drenched cuisine of the Cote d'Azur where the Mediterranean meets Provence

Thursday, 29 September 2011 1:18 PM

Book villa holidays on the Cote d'Azur and you can look forward to relaxing on the beach, exploring chic resorts like Cannes and St Tropez, and sampling some fine cuisine.

Wherever you choose for a break in France you will be treated to superb food and drink, as the country has such a wide selection of fresh produce. You will find most towns and villages have a number of eateries serving traditional local dishes, while the bigger cities have a selection of world-class restaurants.

The Cote d'Azur has one of the most distinctive regional cuisines you will encounter while in France, as it combines the best of Provencal-style cooking with Mediterranean influences.

One treat you can look forward to while staying in luxury holiday villas on the French Riviera is some great seafood. Whether you are planning to cook at your accommodation or eat out, the choice of fish available is huge.

If you are staying in a coastal resort such as Nice, Port Grimaud, Antibes, Cannes or Juan les Pins, you will find it easy to pick up the best of the day's catch in the local shops and markets.

For a simple meal, try buying some sea bass, monkfish, red snapper or shrimps to barbecue and serve it with fresh bread, salad and rouille - a mayonnaise flavoured with chilli. You will also find there are all sorts of shellfish on sale, so you can treat yourself to crab, mussels or oysters.

Head into some of the local restaurants, particularly on the seafront, and you will discover there are a host of traditional fish dishes to try. Perhaps the best known of these is bouillabaisse, a rustic stew that contains saffron, tomatoes and a selection of fish - no visit to the Cote d'Azur is complete without trying it.

There are several variations on fish stew available, including bourride and stocaficada, together with a number of other fine seafood recipes to try. Quinquebine Camarguese, a combination of salt cod and leeks, monkfish a la Provencale and moules a la Toulonnaise are all worth sampling. 

Meat is less prevalent than fish in the cuisine of the French Riviera, but it is possible to find good lamb and beef dishes. Gardiane d'Agneau lamb stew, daube a la Provencal beef stew and daube de Sanglier a la Provencale (wild boar ragout) are all treats for meat lovers.

With so much good agricultural land away from the coast in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region, there is a wealth of fresh produce available for vegetarian cuisine. Local specialities include egg plant gratin, ratatouille, Caillettes Gavottes spinach dumplings, zucchini omelette, bean soup and stuffed tomatoes.

Local produce also features prominently in many desserts, with cherries, melons, figs, pears and apples all part of popular dishes. Calisson cookies flavoured with almonds and fruit, creamy tarte tropezienne and the rich cake of kings are all likely to be on the menus of restaurants and available from bakers.

Like most regions of France, Provence also has many vineyards and you are sure to want to try their produce as you enjoy a meal at a top restaurant or spend an evening relaxing around the pool at your luxury villa. Choose from a wide selection of reds, whites and roses, and don't forget to sample the famous anise-flavoured Pastis liqueur.

Summer firework festivals in the Cote d'Azur

Summer firework festivals in the Cote d'Azur

For truly dazzling France vacations, there are perhaps few places in the country that can match the Cote d'Azur. This chic holiday destination is well-known for its sunny weather, but there's plenty to see and do in the evening - namely the summer firework festival in Cannes.

Where to dine in the Cote d'Azur

Where to dine in the Cote d'Azur

If you're something of a foodie it's probably only a matter of time before you give in to temptation and book a villa holiday on the Cote d'Azur. The French Riviera is known as something of a millionaire's playground, and as a result is home to a wealth of luxury eateries.

Stay in the lap of luxury in St Tropez

What makes St Tropez such a popular luxury holiday destination?

When it comes to luxurious European holiday destinations, you cannot fail to think of St Tropez. This gorgeous resort in south-east France is famous the world over for its glitz and glamour - but what exactly is it that draws so many people to its shores?

Escape to sunny shores for a golf break

Villa offers at top golfing destinations

There is good news for holidaymakers looking for a golfing getaway in some of the top golfing destinations. Owners Direct has a wide selection of self-catering golfing holiday apartments, villas and farmhouses ideal for an active break.

Paris is filled with great places to eat

Where are the best romantic places to eat in Paris?

When it comes to the most romantic cities in the world, Paris is probably the destination that first springs to mind - and with good reason. For years, couples have been flocking to the French capital to enjoy amorous activities like walking hand-in-hand along the River Seine and marvelling at the Eiffel Tower.

Enjoy the French Riviera

Enjoy exclusive Cote d'Azur short break

Those looking for a short break to the popular French region of the Cote d’Azur can enjoy a new summer promotion by Le Mas Candille. The 'Candille Mille' offers the perfect package option for a short haul break to the continent this summer.

Enjoy a luxury break on the French Riviera

Top places to visit on the French Riviera

Nestled in the south-east of France, the French Riviera has become known as a playground for the rich and famous. If you're looking for a destination for a luxurious holiday, you'll struggle to match the glamour of this stretch of coastline.

Have a chic villa break in southern France

Why choose France for a luxury villa holiday?

France has long been regarded as the ideal place for a chic holiday, not least because of its world-class culture, cuisine and pleasant weather. Whatever you're searching for from a luxurious break, you can be sure of finding it here, especially if you head to the south of the country.

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