Provence Gastronomique

Erica Brown, Author, Anne Willan, Foreword by
Erica Brown, Author, Anne Willan, Foreword by Abbeville Press $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7892-0038-9
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Hardcover - 160 pages - 978-1-85029-669-0
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Provence's historic poverty has ironically suited it perfectly to contemporary culinary tastes. Lacking pastures for cattle, the people of Provence rely on sheep and goats for milk and cheese, occasionally using a superannuated animal in a daube, or stew. On the coast, fish are a mainstay; throughout the region, vegetables are cooking cornerstones. Then there's the Mediterranean influence, with, for instance, the zabaglione and pesto of Italy translating as sabayon and pistou. Garlic is everywhere. So is olive oil-one Fontvieille chef even poaches sea bass in it. More distinctively Proven al flavors are used in a Pigeon Salad with Lavender Vinaigrette and Mussels in Pastis-flavored Broth. Provence produces more truffles than Perigord; the recipes here call for profligate ounces of the stuff. Arranging the book by each of the five departements-Bouches-du-Rhone, Vaucluse, Var, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes Maritimes-Brown gives intriguing descriptions of the origins and developments of the individual cuisines, followed by a mix of traditional dishes and contemporary interpretations. The 150 color photos are quite beautiful. Even if you never intend to touch pan to stove, the colors and that high southern light make this volume a welcome respite from cold, gray days. (Apr.)
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