Chickpea delicacies of the south of France | EUROtoday

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One of the glories of France is its delicacies, and every area has its personal scrumptious specialties. Along the nation's Mediterranean coast, you'll discover three culinary cousins ​​to tantalize your tastebuds. They are constituted of the identical components, however in very other ways.

Panisse, cade, and socca are discovered from Marseille to the Italian border, they usually share a standard ancestor: Italy's farinata. Centuries in the past, Italian employees from Liguria introduced this poor man's dish with them as they labored in France. Some say that they first got here to Toulouse at Napoleon's request, to restore French navel vessels, however that’s in all probability only a legend.

The key ingredient is chickpea flour, which is frequent within the space as a result of it thrives in dry climates and poor soil. Popular among the many poor as a result of it was low-cost, immediately chickpea flour has gained new reputation as a result of it isn’t solely scrumptious and nutritious, but additionally gluten-free.

Let's have a look at the three French descendants of farinata.


Panisse makes its house in Marseille, the place it’s virtually an establishment. The dish is so in style there that writer Marcel Pagnol gave the title Panisse to one of many principal characters in his well-known Marseille trilogy.

Panisse, like the opposite dishes, is made with simply three components: chickpea flour, olive oil, and water. Some folks add salt at this level, others add it later.

The components are combined after which cooked at a low warmth till they’ve the consistency of polenta. This is shaped into shapes, normally into squares about 1.5cm thick, and cooled. Once these have solidified, they’re minimize into strips, like lengthy sq. fingers, then cooked in oil and sprinkled with salt. Panisse could be eaten as a snack or as a facet dish, and there’s no higher accompaniment than a glass of chilled rosé wine.


Moving eastward to Toulon, we discover cade, which makes use of the identical components as panisse however with much less water. This creates a batter that’s poured into large spherical dishes, like pizza pans, till it’s about 1.5cm thick. Some folks like so as to add herbs like rosemary to the combination, or add skinny slices of onion on high.

The pan is put right into a very popular pizza oven till the highest turns into golden brown and crispy, whereas the underside stays comfortable. This is then sprinkled with salt and pepper and minimize into squares. You'll usually discover distributors promoting presents within the area's open air markets, and see folks munching away as they do their buying.


Now we come to Nice, socca's champion. Socca is much like cade however is made with extra water. This makes for a thinner batter, which is poured into large spherical pans to a depth of solely 2mm. Once within the sizzling oven, it cooks shortly and comes out good and crispy. Sliced ​​into items, it’s best eaten straight away. Socca may be very in style in Nice, and also you'll usually discover traces outdoors native specialists like Chez Térésa.

From Poor to Chic

While panisse, cade, and socca all started as meals for the poor, immediately they’ve turn out to be moderately stylish, and everybody appears to take pleasure in them. You'll see folks sitting in beachfront cafés, munching on panisse or cade, sipping wine and watching the solar go down. It's fairly a change from their humble beginnings!

Keith Van Sickle splits his time between Provence and California. He is the writer of An Insider's Guide to Provence, One Sip at a Timeand Are We French Yet? Read extra at Life in Provence

Chickpea cuisine of the south of France