You know I love cooking, and I especially love cooking in Provence. For the past few summers, our vacation has consisted of renting a house in the hill village of Bonnieux, in the Luberon region of Provence. There’s a big kitchen, which means I can chop, stir, season, and concoct to my heart’s content. But just because I love experimenting with all that luscious, local produce doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a cooking vacation every once in a while. Enter: Pinna, traiteur Italien, located just outside of Apt.
Traiteur translates loosely as “take-out” and indeed Pinna is a haven for the lazy gourmand. Run by a father-daughter team who hail from Liguria but have settled in the Luberon, the shop sells dried pasta, fresh lasagna, jars of preserved fruit, canned sauces, charcuterie, sundried tomatoes (photo above) and more — all grown, cooked and/or cured on site by the father.
Indeed, a trip to Pinna is a bit like visiting your Italian grandma’s pantry — if you are lucky enough to have an Italian granny, that is. Jars of compote, preserved cherries, and tomato sauce neatly line the shelves, each labelled in an old-fashioned hand.
I wish I knew the secret to the canned sauce aux cêpes — the mushroom flavor was so profoundly rich and deep, hearty. I had to settle for buying extra cans to bring back to Paris with me.
These tomatoes will eventually turn into some of the most delicious, full-flavored, delicately herbed, jarred tomato sauce — called “Napolitaine” — known to man.
Pinna is located outside the Vaucluse town of Apt, up a narrow, winding (frankly, scary) road. The owners live and work on the site — the shop is located in an annex that might have been a garage — and they have enough land to grow tomatoes and raise a few pigs, which they make into delicious, supple, raw-cured ham. They also sell fresh lasagne (lots of varieties from mushroom, to seafood, to tomato sauce with ground lamb), ravioli (made to order — call ahead), and house-made dried pasta (an ideal foil for their delectable sauces) — in other words, a plethora of perfect ready-made meals for the vacationing cook!
Route de Buoux, Chemin de St-Massian
tel: 04 90 74 39 60