The Occitanie Food You Have to Try in the South of France
The region of Occitanie in southern France is renowned for its traditional, local recipes | © Ekaterina Lin/Shutterstock
The region of Occitanie is an area within the south of France, which runs from Provence to the Pyrenees. It is famous for its delicious cuisine, which — much like its wine — stems from its great soil and southern climate.
‘Cocotte’ is the French word for a small oven dish and that’s exactly how you cook these Provençal eggs; you bake them in the oven in individual ramekin dishes. You might find different variations around France, but in the south, they are more often cooked with a little oil and sometimes tomatoes.
Oeufs Cocotte | © LALS STOCK/Shutterstock
Tielle is an octopus and tomato pie that comes from the seaside town of Sète, near Montpellier. Legend has it that it was introduced to the region by Italian immigrants before it became a classic local dish. Each pie is individually sized so they are portable — ideal for picnics — and are available in many delis and supermarkets in town. They have a fishy taste that is similar to sardines in tomato sauce.
Cassoulet is commonly found all over the Languedoc region of Occitanie, although legend says that it was first created in Castelnaudary during the 100 Years War. It’s a white bean and meat stew that was created when the town was under siege against the English. Apparently, they put all the meat, beans and vegetables they had into a huge pot to create a big meal to give them the energy to keep fighting. They beat the English and won the war. Whether it’s true or not is a moot point — it’s delicious and can be found all over the south.
‘Farcir’ in French means to stuff, and that is exactly what this Provençal dish is, a stuffed vegetable. You start by gutting the vegetable of your choice by taking all the insides of the courgette, pepper or tomato out. You then add the insides to a meat mixture of some kind, maybe beef or veal and cook it all together with herbs to make something that resembles minced meat. You then add the minced meat mixture back to the original vegetables and bake them in the oven. Et voila! Simply delicious, hot or cold.
Tomate Farcis or stuffed tomatoes | © Piotr Krzeslak/Shutterstock
Daube is a traditional Provençal dish that can be found all over the region. It’s a stew that is made with cheaper cuts of beef and left overnight (ideally) to fuse with vegetables, red wine and the local herb, Herbes de Provence. The Daube Avignonnaise, from Avignon, is made instead with lamb and white wine and just as delicious.
Daube is a regional favourite | © travellight/Shutterstock
This dish can be tricky to find but if you’re lucky you might stumble across it in a small village. In the Occitan language, ‘escoubilles’ means garbage, and this stew would be made up of all the week’s leftovers. It includes mushrooms, green olives, potatoes and meat, possibly veal, sausages and gizzards. Yummy.