Marseille is an intriguing city with a highly regarded gastronomic heritage that merges traditional French styles with influences from the Mediterranean coastline and north Africa, making it an ideal destination for food lovers.
Despite being part of France’s renowned Provence region, the oldest city in the country has an identity all of its own that is far more cosmopolitan and dynamic, but often mysteriously overlooked. By blending the local flavours of Provence with sensational seafood from the nearby Cote d-Azur and aromatic herbs and spices from north Africa, the locals have created a unique cuisine that can be best experienced as part of a Marseille food tour.
Taking a Marseille food tour not only offers visitors an opportunity to sample its delicious fare, but also the chance to explore the area accompanied by a local guide to appreciate the essence of France’s second largest city.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can arrange exclusive Marseille food tours where visitors can discover the city from a culinary perspective, which can include elaborate food and wine tastings, fine dining experiences at Michelin starred restaurants, visits to colourful local markets or even cooking classes.
All of our private Marseille food tours can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – broadening your epicurean horizons in this exciting city. Some of the finest seafood restaurants are unsurprisingly scattered around le Vieux Port, where local fishermen spend the mornings trading their catch in the bustling market that supplies the city’s many eating establishments.
The Le Panier district, which is steeped in history characterised by Provencal pedestrian streets lined with multi-coloured buildings, is another area with a good selection of local restaurants – as is the vibrant market square of La Plaine. To set your mouth watering, here are just some of the city’s gastronomic specialities that can be typically found during a Marseille food tour:
Bouillabaise is undoubtedly Marseille’s signature dish, a traditional fish soup that typically includes five different local fish types – rockfish, red mullet, conger eel, red scorpion fish and spider crab, although monkfish and crayfish are also sometimes used – that is served with croutons and a rouille sauce.
Moules mariniere, also known as sailor mussels, is another seafood staple from the region, which is served in a sauce loaded with garlic, onion and herbes de Provence.
Aioli is sometimes confused for a flavoured mayonnaise, but it is more complex than that in Marseille and made from garlic, lemon juice, eggs and olive oil. Beyond simply a condiment, the dish to order is Aioli provencal complet – a plate of salted cod, shellfish and steamed vegetables that are dipped into the creamy sauce.
Fougasse is a traditional bread that can be found throughout France, but is most common in Marseille and traditionally contains olives, cheese and anchovies among other ingredients.
Panisse is a pastry made from baked or fried chickpea flour that is known around Europe, although the Marseille version is delightful as a simple snack or side order.
Tapenade is a Provencal speciality made from capers, anchovies, black olives, garlic and olive oil, which can be spread on croutons or crostini as a starter or used to accompany main dishes.
And, for an aperitif, Marseille rarely ventures beyond Pastis – an anise flavoured alcoholic drink that was invented by industrialist Paul Ricard in 1932 to replace the banned absinthe. Available at any bar, the aperitif is generally diluted with water.
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