A legendary treat of Provence
The calisson, specialty of Aix-en-Provence, is a candy made from a paste of ground almonds, candied melon and orange peel on a thin layer of wafer, all covered with bright royal icing. This treat is said to have been created in the XVth century to please the King René’s wife – Jeanne, for the celebration of their wedding.
The calisson remained a ritual perpetrated by the clergy through the years; they would offer the sweets from their chalices in place of the host, chanting “Venite ad calicem” (“come to the chalice). Some believe that is where the Calisson’s name originated. Others think it would be from “calin” (cuddle), recalling the good King René’s love for his wife.
The Calisson and the traditions going with are commemorated each year in Aix on the first Sunday in September at the Bénédiction des Calissons (Blessing of the Calissons). On this day a mass at the l Saint Sauveur Cathedra is followed by festivities in the afternoon, free calissons are distributed to the public in music!
Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille.This stew was made by Marseille fishermen using the bony rockfish which they were unable to sell to restaurants or markets. There are at least three kinds of fish in a traditional bouillabaisse: typically red rascasse, sea robin and European conger. It can also include gilt-head bream, turbot, monkfish, mullet or European hake. It may also includes shellfish and other seafood such as sea urchins, mussels, velvet crabs, spider crab or octopus. Vegetables such as leeks, onions, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes are simmered together with the broth and served with the fish.
The broth is traditionally served with a rouille, a mayonnaise made of olive oil, garlic, saffron, and cayenne pepper on grilled slices of bread.
What makes a bouillabaisse different from other fish soups is the selection of Provençal herbs and spices in the broth; the use of bony local Mediterranean fish; the way the fish are added one at a time, and brought to a boil; and the method of serving.
Pissaladière is an onion tart which originated from Nice in Southern France. The dough is usually a bread dough thicker than that of the classic Italian pizza, and the traditional topping consists of caramelised (almost pureed) onions, olives, garlic and anchovies (either whole or in the form of pissalat, a type of anchovy paste). Now served as an appetizer, it was traditionally cooked and sold early each morning around Nice.It is often sold in individual portions by bakery shops and, of course, you can find it at tiny stands on your way to the beach along the Côte d'Azur.