Let’s start with an eminently sensible quote from M.F.K Fisher: “it is impossible to think of any good meal, no matter how plain or elegant, without soup or bread in it”. The American doyenne of French cooking could have been talking about the glories of a Provencal lunch, often soupe au pistou, the region’s herby speciality, served with fresh bread and perhaps aioli. Food occupies a central place in the local psyche, and is as essential an ingredient of Provence as the region’s golden sunlight. Markets and delicatessens, olive mills and vineyards, from rustic platters served on rough wooden boards in one-man cafes to Michelin-starred haute cuisine, the variety on offer is as endless as the number of bouillabaisse recipes to be found here. Don’t leave until you’ve tried the dishes mentioned above, tapenade, lavender-infused desserts and at least a sprinkling of the local wine par excellence, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Vaucluse is a perfect place to head for a culinary tour. Known as the market garden of France, the Rhone’s waters feed a deliciously rich agricultural region, highlighted by the luxuriantly abundant markets that are a mainstay of villages throughout Vaucluse. Away from tourist crowds, the medieval villages near Vaison-La-Romaine constitute an ideal, quiet corner to give full range to the gastronomic good life. Go forth with bold knife and fork, and enjoy.