La Louche’s library includes a collection of our favourite food and wine books. We’ve selected recipe books that are sympathetic to the region and food and wine oriented guide books. Some of them are quite substantial – we can’t tell you what a relief it was to finally have our own house and not have to cart our copy of Provence of Alain Ducasse in our suitcase each time we visit. Now, our favourite books are in the house so you can use them too.
Here’s a selection of what you’ll find on our shelves.
Provence of Alain Ducasse by Alain Ducasse
It may be a coffee table sized tome but we wouldn't be in Provence without it. A guide to places to shop for the best tomatoes, truffles, olive oil, cheese, breads, almonds, lemons, spelt, figs, confectionery and honey. Several sections are devoted to restaurants, including one interesting list that recommends the best restaurants for trying each Provencal specialty. There's a list of recommended wines and even some suggestions for where to have your daily aperitif (although our terrace would take some beating!).
The most comprehensive restaurant guide to Provence, which also includes entries for recommended food shops. The house currently has the 2005 edition, soon to be replaced by 2006.
A Taste of Provence by Francie Jouanin
A guide to Provence through the prism of food and wine (is there any better). It includes sections on nearby areas including the southern Rhone villages, Avignon, Carpentras, Vaison, Velleron, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and the Luberon villages. You'll probably want to take it on your day trips.
Markets of Provence by Ruthanne Long
Extensive coverage of the markets at Apt, Bonnieux, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Aix-en-Provence, Saint-Rémy, La tour d'aigues and Cadenet as well as recipes, a seasonal guide, and restaurant recommendations.
The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells
This is probably the most useful of all the books. Patricia Wells has a house not far from here and so her book is filled with stories about local producers, stallholders at local markets, and then recipes to use their products. It’s also a de facto restaurant guide, with stories about many of the restaurants from where some of the recipes are sourced.
Patricia Wells at Home in Provence by Patricia Wells
Another title by Patricia Wells full of recipes that feature local producers and restaurants.
Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells
This book is full of great recipes, most of which are relatively easy. Its other great advantage is that it is full of recommendations for great bistros. Many of them are in other parts of France, especially Paris, but there are plenty in Provence.
The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander
We’re Australian and so we wanted to have some representative Australian titles. This is a classic Australian cook book and self-confessed Francophile, Stephanie Alexander’s recipes are inspirational, given the produce you’re going to be able to buy.
French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David
One of the first books to inspire the English speaking world to seek out France and French food. Great reading and lots of good ideas.
Elizabeth David Classics by Elizabeth David
A compendium of three of Elizabeth David’s most highly regarded titles: Mediterranean Food, French Country Cooking and Summer Cooking. They are perfect books if you’re cooking in Provence.
Simple French Food by Richard Olney
One of the world’s great food writers, this book is a joy to read. Olney spent much of his life in Provence and so these recipes are attuned to the region.
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