Marseille

Marseille, the capital of Pastis and bouillabaisse

A cosmopolitan and dynamic city, Marseilles has become a can’t-miss destination in recent years. 

“The capital of Provence has gone from being a “stop on the way somewhere else” to a beautiful city to visit in its own right.

Living like a local is the approach to take here, and the best way to do it is by taking a seat at a cafe and starting with an aperitif.

And what do you go about sipping in Marseille once seated? Pastis: a liquor made of aniseed, which is lightened with coca cola, soda or cold water. The rule is that it is served without ice in fixed proportions: one part pastis, five parts water. This tradition came about in 1916, when absinthe was banned in France. It was born as a fallback option, a substitute drink, but today you’ll find it served in every bar and club all over Provence, as far as the Riviera Ligure di Ponente and even in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont, Italy.

In 2013, Marseille was named European Capital of Culture, and from that moment began to attract tourists from all over the continent. All this has triggered redevelopment in a city that until recently wasn’t always viewed in a positive light. Today the port area is a perfect spot for a drink with a view in good company. It is also the best way to get a sense of local life, including the fishing tradition of the city. At the port area you can buy the catch of the day, ideal for recreating the typical Marseille dish, bouillabaisse. This soup is prepared with different types of fish: gurnard, scorpion fish, monkfish and mullet. The etymology of this name refers to the fact that the ingredients are boiled on a slow fire. The result is a rich and intense taste; while today it is not very economical, it has its origins in peasant cuisine. The soup was made from the unsold fish that fishermen cooked for themselves, accompanied by bread.

“With lavender fields and vineyards as far as the eye can see, the land surrounding Marseille is lauded the world over for its beauty. Marseille, and in general terms Provence, is famous for its excellent rose wines”.

It is one of the first territories of France where wine production was key. Being a “borderland” between France and Italy, Marseille and France absorbed the cultivation and production techniques of both countries. Rose wine, in Marseille, over time managed to challenge preconceptions and overcome the label of “aperitif wine”. Given the richness of Marseille’s cuisine, rose was transformed here into a type of wine that matched well with bold flavors. 

CONTRIBUTOR

Patrizia, born in 1992, graduated in Architecture at the Politecnico of Milano. I’ve always loved this world of stories, stories and construction techniques, but what really didn’t convince me was the idea of spending my life between subway trips, fixed schedules, patterns and habit. It was exactly in front of the possibility of having a permanent contract that I decided to leave for America. To do what, you may be wondering? To realize the first of my many dreams: being a cook. And here I am, writing stories of my travels, of the people I met during my transoceanic trips and handing down the recipes of the dishes I taste around the world.

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