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summers and comparatively warm wet winters - and lots of sunshine.

The climate helps create wonderful produce. Provence is the biggest supplier of fruits, vegetables and herbs in France. It produces the most olives and the best olive oil in France. Excellent honey, especially lavender honey (miel a la lavande) is prized. Fruits grown include cherries, apples, peaches, apricots, pears, figs melons, quinces, pomegranates and mandarins. Many of these fruits are turned into candied fruits. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and pine nuts are all first class.

Vegetables abound - asparagus, cauliflowers, artichokes, peas, broad beans, tomatoes, aubergines, capsicums, courgettes/zucchini, and spinach. Many of these are combined to make ratatouille and vegetable tins (baked). The mesclun salad (salad leaves) originated in Provence and contains a spicy mix of leaves - aragula (rocket), dandelion leaves, watercress, parsley and lettuce.

The classic Provencal mayonnaise, aioli, accompanies lightly cooked and raw vegetables, poached fish and meats, and pistol (the Provencal pesto) is a delicious accompaniment for grilled meats and vegetables.

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Grandma Fran as a girl growing up with her family in Provence in the early 1940s.

Grandma Fran's family still enjoying bread, cheese and wine in the early 2000s - how French!