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For the Occitan newspaper (1891-1899), see L'Aiòli.
Aioli of garlic, salt, egg, and olive oil in a mortar
Aioli with olives

Aioli or aïoli (/ˈli/ or /ˈli/; Provençal Occitan: alhòli [aˈʎɔli] or aiòli [aˈjɔli];[1] Catalan: allioli [ˌaʎiˈɔɫi]) is a Mediterranean sauce made of garlic and olive oil which has been present in the region since the time of the ancient Egyptians. The sauce's names mean "oil and garlic" in Catalan and Provençal. It is particularly associated with the cusines of the Mediterranean coasts of Spain (Valencia, Catalonia, Murcia and eastern Andalusia) and France (Provence), as well as with Liguria in Italy. A similar dish called Toum (commonly using sunflower oil) is consumed in parts of the Near East and North Africa. French-Provençal versions of the sauce, from which the English spelling is derived, are typically closer to a garlic mayonnaise incorporating also egg yolks, and lemon juice, whereas Spanish versions without egg and with considerably more garlic have a more pasty texture.[2][3][4][5] There are many variations, such as excluding egg yolk or lemon juice,[6][7] or adding other seasonings. It is usually served at room temperature. The term aioli which entered English through French, may have been derived from the Provençal, Gascon or Catalan for "Garlic and Oil" all three of which are pronounced in a similar way.

Aioli is, like mayonnaise, an emulsion or suspension of small globules of oil and oil-soluble compounds in water and water-soluble compounds. Egg yolk can be used as an emulsifier and is generally used in making aioli today. However, mustard and garlic both emulsify oil, and some variants, such as Valencia allioli and Maltese aljoli, omit the egg.

Since the late 1980s, it has become fashionable to call all flavored mayonnaises "aioli", with flavorings such as saffron, chili, and so on.[8] However true aioli is defined and derived only from techniques used only by hand ("flavored mayonnaise can contain garlic, but true aïoli contains no seasoning but garlic".[9]


Aioli is similar to the Levantine toum.

Basic recipe[edit]

Garlic is crushed in a mortar and pestle and emulsified with egg yolks, salt, and olive oil. Today, aioli is often made in a food processor or blender, but traditionalists object that this does not give the same result.[5]


Allioli (pronounced: [ˌaʎiˈɔɫi], also spelled alioli [ˌaɫiˈɔɫi]), from all i oli, Catalan for "garlic and oil", is a typical paste-like cold sauce of Eastern Spain. It is made by pounding garlic with olive oil and salt in a mortar until smooth. It is often served with arròs a banda from Alicante, with grilled lamb, grilled vegetables and arròs negre, and comes in other varieties such as allioli de codony (allioli with boiled quince, not the preserve) or allioli with boiled pear. [6] Other commonly used vegetables are beets, fennel, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, chick peas, and raw tomato.[5][7]

In Occitan cuisine, aioli is typically served with seafood, fish soup, and croutons, in a dish called merluça amb alhòli. In Malta, arjoli or ajjoli is commonly made with the addition of either crushed galletti or tomato. In the Occitan Valleys of Italy it is served with potatoes[10] boiled with salt and bay laurel.

In Provence, aioli or, more formally, le grand aïoli, aioli garni, or aïoli monstre also designates a complete dish consisting of various boiled vegetables (usually carrots, potatoes, artichokes, and green beans), poached fish (normally soaked salt cod), snails, canned tuna, other seafood, and boiled eggs, served with the aioli sauce.

This dish is often served during the festivities on the feast days of the patron saint of Provençal villages and towns. It is traditional to serve it with snails for Christmas Eve and with cod on Ash Wednesday.[5]

Aïoli is so strongly associated with Provence that when the poet Frédéric Mistral started a regionalist, Provençal-language, newspaper in 1891, he called it L'Aiòli.[3][11]


Aillade is the name used in southern France for two different garlic-based condiments. In Provence, it is a garlic-flavored vinaigrette, while in areas such as Languedoc-Roussillon, it is the name given to aioli.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In Provençal Occitan, the same word is written alhòli according to the classical norm or aiòli according to the Mistralian norm.
  2. ^ J.-B. Reboul, La Cuisinière Provençale 1910 (1st edition); 1989 (25th edition), p. 88
  3. ^ a b Robert Courtine, The Hundred Glories of French Cooking (tr. Derek Coldman), 1973, p. 140
  4. ^ Henri Philippon, Cuisine de Provence, 1977 (2nd ed), p. 20
  5. ^ a b c d Mireille Johnston, The Cuisine of the Sun, 1976; Johnston gives one recipe without extra flavorings (p. 75) and one with mustard (p. 229)
  6. ^ a b Prosper Montagné, Larousse Gastronomique (1938, tr. 1961), s.v.
  7. ^ a b Olney, Richard (1994). Lulu's Provençal table : the exuberant food and wine from Domaine Tempier Vineyard. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 124–5. ISBN 0-06-016922-2. 
  8. ^ Google ngrams
  9. ^ David Tanis, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, ISBN 1579653464, 2008, p. 102
  10. ^ "La cucina occitana (area cuneese)" (in Italian). Retrieved 2009-04-11. [dead link]
  11. ^ Julian Wright, The Regionalist Movement in France 1890-1914: Jean Charles-Brun and French Political Thought, ISBN 0199264880, p. 47-48 and passim

External links[edit]