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Marseille’s famous fish soup

Bouillabaisse in Marseille

Bouillabaisse is only good because cooked by the French, who, if they cared to try, could produce an excellent and nutritious substitute out of cigar stumps and empty matchboxes. Norman Douglas (1868-1952)

Bouillabaisse means ‘to simmer’, which descibes the recipe of this old fishermen’s chowder, originally made in a cauldron out of the day’s catch that had little value on the market. Some of the best in Marseille need to be ordered at least 48 hours in advance; others specialize in it and always have it on hand.

There are many versions, and it would be the very agreeable work of a lifetime to go around Marseille, trying each restaurant’s. There is an official charter for Bouillabaisse Marseillaise, which must contain at least four of the following: scorpionfish, spider crab, congre eel, rascasse, Saint-Pierre, (cigale de mer), monkfish, lobster and red gurnard.

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Classic dishes

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Soups, stews and casseroles

Text © Dana Facaros

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