Food and Wine Pairings – Provence of Southern France

The scenic southern French region of Provence is known for its olive oils, seafood soup (local name “Bouillabaisse”), garlic, and lavenders.

Between the olive trees, there is just enough space for the local to happily plant vineyards. Its rosé, white and red wines, although lesser known in the US are among the most food-friendly wines of the world.

In this article, I will introduce three Provençal wines with examples of food to pair with. These wine-and-food pairing ideas would provide a nice foundation for your future reference, when it comes to similar food and similar wines.

Provençal wine production is 70% rosé, and 25% red, with the rest being white. The more common grapes are Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan for rosés and reds, and Clairette, Sémillon, Ugni Blanc and Rolle (Vermentino in Italy) for whites.

We shall start with a rosé and two rosé-friendly food choices.

Rosés from Provence could be peachy, grapefruit-abundant, fresh-fruit driven or could be with more riper fruit profile, yeasty or creamy flavors and floral scents. The refreshing acidity, light to medium body, and generously varied aromas in the Provençal rosés invite dishes like oyster appetizers, or a lettuce-and-warm-goat-cheese-and-bacon salad (for example, La Salade de Chèvre Chaud au Bacon).

Most of the red wines from Provence are not made to age, except for Bandol reds. The dark, rich, tannic Bandol red wines enjoy the well-deserved medium-high price. Food considerations are dishes that have either weight or richer but not intense flavors (from sauces, spices and herbs). For example, Bouillabaisse Provençale, or Daube de Boeuf Provencal Recipe (Provençal beef stew).

Provençal dry white wines with crisp acidity and minerality are great for almost all salads and vegetable dishes, or this local snack called Panisses, which are chickpea-flour fries.

As our food journey takes us around the world, let’s also explore the wines that give us the sense of the local culture and people.

French Embassy in SA launches the 4th Goût de France experience

Some restaurants in South Africa will play host to the fourth edition of the Good France experience. It’s a global event with over 2-thousand restaurants in 150 countries participating to celebrate French gastronomy. To launch the event, the French Embassy in South Africa has invited Michelin-Star chef Vincent Lucas and World champion sommelier Philippe Faure-Brach.

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