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Pistou Soup


150 bunches of basil are required to make a good pistou soup for this traditional summer gathering around a popular festival. A well-loved summer recipe in the region, pistou soup makes the most of seasonal vegetables, in particular "coco rouge" beans. For 400-500 people you need to peel and cut over 200 kilos of vegetables into dice measuring about 1 cm; you also need 4 litres of olive oil, huge saucepans, 8 hours simmering on the hob, and an army of volunteers to cheerfully carry out the instructions of an expert whose family have probably been perfecting this regional speciality for generations.

Long tables are set out in the public squares and a delicious aroma of pistou floats in the air (basil puréed with garlic and olive oil). People arrive, each carrying their own bowl and spoon, and wait patiently to be served in a jolly crowd of all ages. The conversations crackle, chilled rosé wine can be bought from the refreshment stalls, and the night ends with dancing under the stars.

 
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