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Travel

Bouillabaisse Is Marseille’s Specialty For A Reason

And let’s rewind to several weeks in the past.

Before going back to Manila for good, my officemates and I decided to take the weekend train to nearby Marseille as a last hurrah of sorts. It was just a 2-hour train ride from Lyon, just as long a drive is from Manila to Tagaytay minus the traffic. We were at the huge Marseille train station before noon and had the whole day to take in the change of scenery.

20120507-192125.jpg Full parking, please proceed to basement 2

Marseille couldn’t be more different than Lyon. While Lyon is squashed somewhere in the middle, Marseille is in the south of France, by the sea, making it a port city. As you can see from the photos, there is no shortage of boats in this area. If anything, docking space is what they’re short on. And because the city is next to the ocean, fresh seafood are aplenty! For someone who adores seafood and hadn’t had any for a while, that was very welcome news. (tastebuds went omgilusomuch)

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Seafood everything! Also, everything is so orange.

For lunch, we decided to enjoy the view and chill at a cafe along the coast, called Le Macinissa Cafe. Their menu did not lack for seafood, and we went a little crazy and ordered anything with sea dwellers in them. Seafood paella, seafood pasta, and salmon spaghetti were our picks and they all looked like they were cooked in one (delicious) pot. But that’s not just it, the real star of the show was the bouillabaisse, Marseille’s specialty.

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OMGNOMNOM! Marseille Bouillabaisse

Famous chef Julia Child once said this about the bouillabaisse: “to me the telling flavor of bouillabaisse comes from two things: the Provençal soup base – garlic, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, fennel, saffron, thyme, bay, and usually a bit of dried orange peel – and, of course, the fish – lean (non-oily), firm-fleshed, soft-fleshed, gelatinous, and shellfish.”

Our order tasted like authentic bouillabaisse (or at least, in accordance with Julia Child’s description). The bread was served in a basket with this wonderful spicy mustard dip. The meats were fresh and were served in a separate dish but we decided to put all of it in the soup base (which was a good idea). The soup was very tasty (and orange) with a hint of spice, probably from the saffron, without being too rich or too filling. Together, it was a successful marriage of seafood and spice (and everything nice, hyukhyuk).

If you’re in Marseille, you cannot, and should not pass up THE bouillabaisse. It’s part of the true Marseille experience.

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  1. I’ve been able to find wonderful Saffron from my local Asian grecory store for SUPER cheap. So check it out if you have a T and T Also, as a Ukrainian I have a few more tips for the use of dill: use LOTS of fresh dill in borscht and if you make a cream sauce with, well, cream, fresh mushrooms, dill, salt and pepper, it goes deliciously with pyrohy (perogies). It’s also amazing in vegetable soups and if you top roasted beets with a bit of it. Yum yum!! And did I mention it’s ridiculously easy to grow? Dill is actually a weed and it grows like one. It also freezes wonderfully.

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