Our family loves food and eating.
With ancestors from England, Europe and more recently Japan, and family living and working in the middle east, our recipes and palate have changed dramatically.
Grandma Fran was from Provence in France.
Provence has long been at the crossroads of civilisations. In the 7th century BC Greeks colonised Massalia, which we now know as Marseilles, and established several other centres further inland. The Romans first went tot he area in 125BC and the best known of all Romans, Julius Caesar, subjugated Marseilles in 49BC at the beginning of his conquest of Gaul. Roman amphitheatres in Nimes and Arles, the amazing aqueduct Le Pont du Gard, the theatre at orange, numerous arches, baths, temples and archaeological sites bear witness to the extraordinary influence of the Romans in Provence. And of course their language, the Provencal dialect, is based on Latin and the very name Provence is derived from the Latin province, as that was what Provence was - a far-flung province of the early Roman Empire.
For the past 2000 years Provence has seen a succession
of events involving power struggles, wars, disputes, religious fervour and conflict, the plague, the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789 (and the birth of the French national anthem La Marseillaise). Movements of peoples and their cultures, not least being the large influx into provence of people of North African descent after the Second World War, have made a rich melting pot of cultural diversity.
French gastronomy in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur is very distinctive from the rest of French cuisine or French cooking. A Mediterranean influence brings recipes with hot spices and seafoods. Because of the mountainous country, without the rich farmlands and herds of dairy cattle, Provencal cooking uses very little milk, and goat cheeses are predominant.
Garlic, olive oil and olives are the leitmotif, and the abundant 'herbes de Provence' are the spirit of Provencal recipes, as is shown herein. Perfect climate, perfect coast, perfect hinterland.
Provence attracts millions of tourists, especially in the summer - the coastline is beautiful, the sea is warmer than the North sea or the Baltic, the Alps come down virtually to the coast in the east, and the climate is perfect. It's a Mediterranean climate - hot dry summers and comparatively warm wet winters - and lots of sunshine.