Vaucluse is famous for olive oil, honey and herbs - especially lavender- all ingredients which are used in local lamb, game and fish dishes.
The fertile plains and valleys of Vaucluse produce such an abundance of cherries, apricots, figs, pears, plums, sweet Carpentras strawberries and Cavaillon melons that as far back as the Middle Ages methods were developed to preserve the surplus by plunging it into boiling syrup, originally made with fragrant local honey.
Apt has been called the ‘world capital’ of candied fruit and certainly jams and crystallized fruits bought in the Saturday market or little shops in the town make ideal gifts for sweet-toothed friends.
Embodying the very essence of Provence, it’s hardly surprising to find lavender flavouring teas, jams, honey and even ice-cream in Vaucluse.
Fruit humbugs in stripes coloured to match their flavours are a speciality from Carpentras and somewhat cheaper than truffles. 75% of truffles sold in France come from Vaucluse and more than 50% start their journey in the Carpentras truffle market (Fridays Nov - early March).
Try this prized ‘black diamond’ speciality in an omelette aux truffes and visit the Maison de la Truffe et du Vin de Luberon in the pretty village of Menerbes to see displays of truffle hunting equipment and taste the main Luberon wines.
Vaucluse has plenty of good local AOC wines; delicate Cotes du Luberon roses; rich fruity Muscats from Beaumes-de-Venise; powerful red Gigondas and the most famous AOC Cotes du Rhone wine - full-bodied Chateauneuf du Pape. The latter is an ideal accompaniment to rich game and venison from the region’s forested slopes.