Food, Wine, Culture and Landscape by Lars Boesgaard

This 544 page book must be one of the largest ever written on Provence. Structurally divided into three, the author covers in detail the food, the wine and the culture and landscape of one of the world’s most alluring, sun-drenched and seductive cultures.

Arriving in the South of France as a small boy for a family holiday, Lars Boesgaard fell instantly in love with the region and the villa his parents had rented. Roaming freely through the village, he and his brothers ate figs and plums, caught scorpions, fireflies and praying mantises. Years later he was able to realise his dream of buying his own property with ‘wide views of olive groves and huge dark green pine forests’.

The author is smitten with rural Provence, not the fashionable high streets along the Riviera. In the first part of the book, over 150 recipes demonstrate the key ingredients of Provencal cuisine (garlic, olive oil, thyme and tomatoes) as well as the utter simplicity of how to create it. The second part of the book examines the provenance of local culture, looking at mountain villages, petanque, artists, museums, pottery, glassblowing and textiles. A generous discourse on the wines of the region completes the book, with lists of the best vineyards to visit and where.