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5 Easy Entertaining Ideas with Provencal Style

Regardless of whether cooking is your passion or not, entertaining should be enjoyable. Perhaps it is the climate in Provence that lends itself to outdoor dining, but generally, the traditional cuisine involves a few seasonal ingredients and simple techniques. Below we share five (5) easy entertaining ideas inspired by the South of France, including cocktail nibbles, picnics, Sunday lunch and more.

Aperitif Entertaining

If you are looking for a reason to get together with your friends and family, now you have one! Apéro Dînatoire is a French style of entertaining and the perfect excuse for a social gathering. In her article on these parties, Tasha provides helpful tips and tricks to help you put together your event. Create an excuse to throw an apéro dînatoire. It is the perfect balance between the apéro cocktail party and a formal dinner party. Here are a few recipes for your next gathering:

Madeleines Salées
This madeleine cake batter combines ingredients that are more typical of Provence into a savoury bite. You can play with the combination to suit your tastes. Other variations might include olive, anchovy and goat cheese.
Check out this recipe
Madeleines Salées Savoury Appetizer
Tarte Soleil - Puff-Pastry Appetizer
From the chef, "Provençals like things sunny and pretty, so this is a popular take on the local, traditional fougasse. It can be filled with any strong-flavoured spreadable mixture such as tapenade or anchoiade or a sundried-tomato paste or even a spinach/ricotta or goat cheese." 
Check out this recipe
Le Pistou Cookery School Uzès Blue Cheese Tarte Soleil
Provençal Aioli Dip and Crudité Grazing Platter a Tapas Style Meal
The hardest part of this recipe is getting the aioli (garlic mayonnaise) to the right consistency. If you follow the steps below it is actually very simple. Choose fresh crunchy vegetables that you like and dip away.
Check out this recipe
Provençal Aioli Dip wearecookandbaker-provencal-aioli-crudite-grazing-platter-recipe
Truffled Brie is Cheese Heaven
Serve this as an appetizer or with your cheese course.
Check out this recipe
Black Truffle Brie

Now we all know that David Scott Allen is a fabulous cook, but sometimes you need a no-fuss option with limited preparation like a charcuterie and cheese board. Think of it as stress-free dining,  an indoor picnic. So, follow David’s advice on making a charcuterie cheese board as an appetizer or add more ingredients for a light meal.

Easy Entertaining Make a Charcuterie Cheese Board

Lazy Sunday Lunch

Many Sundays in France are family gatherings spent enjoying an extended lunch. You can enjoy a leisurely meal inside or outside depending on the weather and food you choose to serve. Nutmeg writes about her own Sunday lunch and a few menu options here.

Sunday Lunch in Provence a Summer Buffet goes through each course in a Sunday lunch and provides recipes. We linked some of the recipes mentioned and more to give you choices for starters, salads, a main dish, and desserts!


Radish and green Olive Tartare on sourdough bread
Easy, tangy appetizer
Check out this recipe
Radish Green Olive Tartare Sourdough Bread
Fresh Tomato Goat Cheese Tart
This easy-to-make tart combines flavourful tomatoes and tangy goat cheese in a pretty shape.
Check out this recipe
Tomato Goat Cheese Tart @ATableenProvence

Salads and Breads

Fig and Tomato Salad
This is a easy and delicious salad that combines sweet fig and tangy tomatoes on one plate.
Check out this recipe
Fig Tomato Salad Recipe @AtableenProvence
Grilled Octopus Salad - Salade Composée aux Poulpes Grillés
This recipe is great for a large, lunch salad or you can serve smaller portions as a starter for dinner.
Check out this recipe
Summer Salad Grilled Octopus Recipe
Simple Spring Salad
Easy and fresh - enjoy!
Check out this recipe
Simple Spring Salad
Soft Lebanese Pita Bread
A fluffy bread that will satisfy everyone!
Check out this recipe
Lebanese Mezze lebanese bread
Simplified French Brioche Loaf
A time-friendly recipe for a delicious French Brioche Loaf of bread!
Check out this recipe
Simple Recipe French Brioche

Main Dish

Boulettes de Poisson à la Marsaillaise {Marseille-Style Fish Balls}
This fish recipe was adapted from the book "Flavors from the French Mediterranean" Michelin 3-star chef Gérald Passedat. This dish can be prepared in advance and assembled when you serve.
Check out this recipe
Boulettes de Poisson Marseillaise @Cocoa&Lavender
Poulet Basilic aux Tomates Confites
Make extra when you prepare this chicken dish, it makes a great lunch the next day. Chicken, basil and sundried tomatoes a delicious summer combination.
Check out this recipe
Poulet Basilic aux Tomates Confites
Roasted Chicken with Colatura di Alici
This incredible roasted chicken recipe pairs exquisitely with a chilled glass of wine and fresh greens. With a Mediterranean flair, this dish is sure to impress!
Check out this recipe
Roast Chicken Mediterranean Twist with colatura di alici
Roast Chicken for a Picnic
A delicious roast chicken best served with a glass (or can) of wine at your evening picnic!
Check out this recipe
Picnic Fare Roast Chicken Picnic


Apricot and Pistachio Tarte Tartin
This apricot tarte tatin is not only beautiful it is easy to make.
Check out this recipe
Apricot Pistachio Tarte Tartin Mirabeau Wine
Madeleines with Orange Blossom Water
If you're looking for a picnic-worthy treat to enjoy in the sunshine (or indoors for a bright flavour reminiscent of springtime), then look no further! These madeleines have gentle citrus notes from the orange blossom water.
Check out this recipe
Madeleines Made Orange Blossom Water Madeleines à la fleur d'oranger
Lemony Sweet Verbena Ice Cream
It's not hard to make ice cream, and even easier with an ice cream maker. This version made with fresh verbena is a lovely tangy summer treat.
Check out this recipe
Verbena Ice Cream

Casual Picnics

Provencal picnics are a great way to gather with friends and enjoy the weather. You can add bread, a cheese platter, fruits, sandwiches, vegetables, whatever sounds appealing to you. The most important part of a picnic is food that travels well. Keep reading for some ideas and recipes best suited for a Provencal-inspired picnic.

Provencal Picnics Essential Ingredients

Picnic is a universal term for creating a culinary experience outdoors with some of your favourite portable foods. The French, though, take the word pique-nique to an elevated culinary level! Tasha shared that her North American picnic experiences are far less memorable than Provencal pique-niques. So here are some suggestions for your next outdoor dining adventure:

Portable Salads:

Grilled Vegetable Salad with Zucchini and Tomatoes
You can make this salad all year by varying the ingredients according to the season. However, we love the combination of zucchini, tomato and lemon-caper dressing.
Check out this recipe
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Zucchini and Tomatoes
Summer Zucchini Squash Salad
An easy, refreshing salad for summer meals.
Check out this recipe
Quick Summer Salad Zucchini Recipe
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Easy to make and a delicious side dish with roasted meat or fish. Also, perfect for a picnic or just because.
Check out this recipe
Moroccan Carrot Salad Recipe
White Bean and Tuna Salad
This is a perfect summer salad. It is easy to make, does not have many ingredients and there is no cooking. Enjoy!
Check out this recipe
White Bean and Tuna Salad

Easy Tarts and More:

Fougasse with Olives and Cherry Tomatoes
The combination of sweet cherry tomatoes and tangy black olives make this focaccia-style bread a stunning addition to any meal. You can even enjoy it on its own with some olive oil or accompanying some soup for a well-rounded and delicious meal.
Check out this recipe
Fougasse with Olives and Cherry Tomatoes
Jacques' Zucchini Tart
This tart is easy to make all you need is a few ingredients for the perfect pairing with a glass of chilled rosé. Easy and very tasty, serve as an appetizer or as a light main with a salad.
Check out this recipe
Zucchini at St Tropez Market @PerfProvence
This recipe was created by David, it is a blend of several variations for the same dish. This version will serve 6 as a main course or 12 as an appetizer. 
Check out this recipe
Pissaladière Tastes of Provence
Tarte Provençal à la Tomate
Obviously the best outcome is a tart baked with your own garden harvested tomatoes. This quick and easy tart makes a fast and fancy meal that everyone will enjoy. The sweetness of the tomatoes pairs well with the Herb de Provence, spicy mustard and flaky pastry crust. For a quick change -p, try using coloured tomatoes in a rainbow pinwheel pattern. It will look and taste as if it took you hours, but that can be your little secret!
French Tomato Tart Recipe from Provence
Spinach Cake
This recipe is adapted from David Tanis "Platter of Figs" cookbook. It is easy to make a can be reheated. A perfect recipe for lunch or a good side dish for dinner. The nutmeg takes the "eggy" taste away. This recipe is gluten-free, and with a few substitutions can also be made dairy-free.
Check out this recipe
Spinach Cake Recipe @GingerandNutmeg

Picnics in Provence Essential Ingredients

Picnic Menu Ideas:

Summer holidays call for easy recipes and portable meals that work just as well at the beach as on a buffet table. Inspired by the endless sunny days and cicada-filled symphonies of Provence, try these summer picnic ideas. Enjoy summer dining al fresco with these simple to make, easy to pack and delicious recipes.

Pâté, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers
Rillettes, ham and an assortment of charcuterie
Ingredients for Pan Bagnat sandwiches
Cornichons, olives and mustard
Portable salads like these: carrotcucumber and spiced eggplant
Almonds, dried figs, apricots and raisins
Seasonal fruit, yoghurt, Madeleines or Palmiers
Your favourite Provencal wine

Summer Meals from Provence

If you are not feeling up for a picnic, you can gather around your outside table for a summer meal. Summer Lunch in Provence Menu for Friends emphasizes the gathering is more about the experience and people than the food on the table.

Summer Lunch Menu

Marseille Fish Soup - Soupe de Poissons
You will want to make a big batch and freeze what you don’t eat. Making fish soup at home can be a very messy, labor-intensive process. Trust me, you will thank me later for this advice. I usually make a few gallons and then freeze leftovers in quart sized mason jars ready to use at a moments call.
Check out this recipe
Marseille Fish Soup Poissons
Provencal Duck Stew
Allow enough time to make this recipe in advance. The duck pieces should marinate for 10-12 hours before you start cooking. The dish is served hot but tastes better after the flavors have had a chance to "get to know" each other.
Check out this recipe
Provencal Duck Stew
Chocolate Mousse with Cocoa Nib Brittle
This recipe involves two steps: make the brittle in advance, and the chocolate mousse takes very little time.
Check out this recipe
French Chocolate Mousse

Summer Lunch in Provence Recipes

Make it fun by adding a summer menu. You can include soup for starters, a meal, and finish it off with a filling dessert. Simple Summer Lunch in Provence provides three (3) easy recipes that you can use for your menu. Choose the meals that best suit you and your people and enjoy!

3 Easy Recipes from Petra Carter

Tortilla of Potato and Onion
This dish takes a little bit of time to do it correctly, and there are no shortcuts. The onions and potatoes must be softened slowly in olive oil for 20 minutes… and yes, you do have to use that much olive oil. It may seem ludicrous to use that amount of oil but most of it will be strained off and tastes so deliciously of sweet onions and potatoes, that I use it to fry other vegetable dishes afterwards
Check out this recipe
Summer Lunch in Provence Spanish tortilla
Serve hot or cold, either as an accompaniment or as an antipasti, with plenty of crusty bread.
Check out this recipe
Peperonata Recipe Summer Lunch in Provence
This is the quickest dessert you’ll ever make!
Check out this recipe
Dessert affogato recipe Summer lunch in Provence

Slow-Cooked Goodness

Whether cooking is your passion or not, a slow-cooked meal is perfect for cooks of all levels. These recipes below require only a few ingredients, often just one pot, and time to let the oven’s heat work its magic. One French favourite is lamb, which is typically local and fresh in Provence. Below we share several different recipes with lamb. If you are not in the mood for lamb, try a crispy duck recipe or a chicken tagine!

Slow-roasted Lamb Shoulder with Za’atar
The slow roasting process creates a juicy lamb and the za'atar will add a little spice!
Check out this recipe
Lebanese Mezze slowcooked lamb shoulder with tahini yoghurt
Slow-Cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary
There is no easier dish for a heartwarming meal among family and friends. You can use a leg of lamb, but the shoulder is juicier because there is a bit more fat. Cooked in a heavy casserole dish (such as a Creuset) that can go in the oven, I like to place the meat simply on a bed of several rosemary sprigs, onion, and garlic for a beautiful dish that serves 4.
Check out this recipe
Provencal Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder
Provencal Lamb Daube ‘Gui Gedda’
This slow-cooked daube is just the thing for cold winter nights. These wonderful aromas wafting through your kitchen as tender lamb cooks gently in a rich, savoury rose and herb-infused broth. And if you have the willpower not to eat it right away, it truly is best made a day in advance and then reheated upon serving.
Check out this recipe
Provencal Lamb Daube Gedda
Souris d’Agneau Slow-Cooked Lamb Shank
This recipe is one you can pretty much leave alone. Set a timer for the 1/2 waypoint, so you don't forget to turn the meat over. Check occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid. The mouthwatering aromas will fill your house.
Check out this recipe
Winter Dinner Party Menu Slow-Cooked Lamb Shank (Souris d'Agneau)
Crispy Duck Confit and Fried Potatoes
This dish is a surefire way to impress family, friends, or virtually anyone you'd like to have over for dinner. There's nothing better than extra crispy duck skin coupled with tender, juicy duck meat flavoured with robust spices and butter. Accompany this gourmet-style duck with perfectly-fried Yukon Gold potatoes, and anyone would guess you're a 5-star chef.
Check out this recipe
Crispy Duck Confit a French Classic
Provencal Duck Stew with Dried Fruits
This duck stew is a great dish for dinner parties (or long lunches) because it is best prepared ahead of time and reheated. It will allow you to enjoy the meal as much as your friends.
Check out this recipe
Provencal Duck Stew Winter Fruits
Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon
Adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence.
Check out this recipe
Recipe Chicken Tagine Green Olives and Preserved Lemon
Moroccan Tagine with Seasonal Vegetables
Preparing a tagine requires a bit of effort to clean and cut the vegetables. After that, it is all about layering and allowing the slow-cooking process to take over. Please note that your vegetable selection may vary depending on what is available.
Check out this recipe
Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine Recipe Marrakesh Culinary Adventure

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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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