The cuisine of Provence resembles Italian, Greek and Mediterranean cooking more than traditional French fare. Seafood, fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits are often prepared simply and there is great emphasis on local, fresh and high quality ingredients. The dry Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for grazing sheep and goats, and near the coast, there is an abundance or fresh fish and seafood.
The basic ingredients used in Provencal cuisine include olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes, which are generously used in almost every dish. Other common ingredients include olives, sardines, sear urchins, rockfish, octopus, rouget fish, loup fish, tuna, sea bass, anchovies, red snapper, red mullet, monkfish, shrimp, crab, mussels, scallops, oysters, goat, lamb, eggplant, bell peppers, onions, potatoes, fennel, lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini (courgettes), cabbage, asparagus, and artichokes.
Vegetables are often used for making soups, baked, or grilled, flavored with herbs, and drizzled with lots of olive oil. They are also often eaten raw in salads. Fruit is eaten as a dessert or snack. Local fruits include strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, grapes, apples, oranges, lemons, dates, figs, and melons of Cavaillon.
Fresh and dried herbs are used extensively in Provencal cooking and the most common are parsley, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, savory, marjoram, and thyme. Other common seasonings include capers, aioli (garlic mayonnaise), rouille (chili and garlic mayonnaise) anchoiade (anchovy paste), saffron, tapenade, lemon juice, and wine vinegar.
Wheat is used for making breads like whole grain loaves, crusty baguettes and pizza. One of the most popular snacks in Provence is the pan bagnet, which is a sandwich filled with tuna, tomatoes, peppers, and olives seasoned with olive oil dressing. Beans are also a common feature in Provencal cooking and are included in stews and soups or are baked with other ingredients. The most commonly used lentil is the Puy lentil.