Provençal Appetizers

Come summertime in Provence and people can be found dining alfresco, savoring the warmth of the sun, the brilliant blue sky and, of course, platters laden with good food. Typically the meal begins with an array of appetizers, such as the ones we offer here. Served at room temperature, these dishes are ideal for open-air dining.

Olives, cheeses, and all manner of sun-ripened fruits and vegetables—often just harvested from the kitchen garden—are featured in Provençal appetizers. Fish and shellfish pulled from the Mediterranean Sea are popular ingredients as well. Preparations are simple, allowing the fresh flavors to shine through, be it a bowl of warm sautéed olives or a composed Niçoise salad adorned with slender green beans, tomatoes, eggs, anchovies and tuna. A platter of raw vegetables served with lively dips like aioli, the classic garlicky mayonnaise, and anchoïade, an anchovy sauce, is also a local favorite. As with many appetizers, these sauces include acidic ingredients, which help stimulate the appetite.

The locally made rosé wines—young, bracing and dry—are an ideal match for the region's boldly flavored fare. Served chilled, these wines provide a refreshing counterpoint to those hot summer days.