Vorld of Food / La Côte d'Azur
From experience I find that often the most spontaneous decisions turn out to be the best ones - my weekend trip to the South of France was no exception and the perfect opportunity to catch up with family and friends. I'm always amazed by how easy it is nowadays to travel from one country to another, exposing you to a completely new environment and culture. Over time, I have learned to let go of expectations and to instead go with the flow when it comes to traveling. We decided to accept the fact that it was raining during most of our stay (maybe you heard about the thunderstorm that took place on 3 October - I experienced the whole spectacle first hand!) and did the thing anyone would do in our position - eat and sleep! Joke aside, we also explored some of the cities and towns near Cannes such as the beautiful artistic town of Saint Paul de Vence and the capital of perfume, Grasse. Along the way, our friends introduced us to some of the most delicious local specialities, so that I'm now able to pass on some of my newly found culinary wisdom.
Day 1 - Nice
Head to Cours Saleya for the weekly flower market, which also sells a selection of local produce and artisan products. Once you reach the end of the market you will find a small stall selling the city's speciality.
Socca is a thin pancake made from chickpea flour, which has its origin in the 19th century and first became popular as an affordable meal for the poor in Genoa, Italy. In spite of the simplicity of ingredients, it's an incredibly satisfying and hearty dish.
Nice's food scene is not only influenced by nearby Italy, but also by the South East of France, the Provence, which I always used to associate with my Windows wallpaper of lavender fields. However, the Provence does in fact extend from the left bank of the lower Rhône River in the west to the Italian border in the east, including both the beautiful Côte d'Azur and large parts of the French Alps. We sat down in one of the many traditional bistros and ordered a variety of small dishes, including petits farcis (onions, courgette and tomatoes filled with mince and herbs), beignets de fleur de courgette (courgette flowers, which are coated in dough and fried in hot oil) and pissaladière (a type of pizza, that is topped with fried onions, garlic, anchovies and olives), accompanied by a glass of local red wine.
Before heading back to Cannes, we stopped to take a look at the beautiful town of Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Back in Cannes, we spend a lovely first evening indulging in some of the best things France has to offer - epic sunsets, Champagne, seafood and cheese.
For dinner we had scampis caught from the Mediterranean and incredibly fragrant ginger rice.
Our main course was followed by a selection of French cheese including Brie, Camembert, Cantal and Roquefort. As our friend introduced me to the proper 'cheese etiquette', I soon realised that the French are, in fact, very emotional about their cheese. For instance, I learned that circular cheese is to be cut into pie-like slices, whilst quarters are to be cut length wise from the crust down, so that every slice includes the variety of flavours of the respective cheese.
Day 2 - Cannes markets and seafood heaven
Marché Forville is located in the heart of Cannes and appealing to all senses. We picked up some fresh oysters, crevettes grises (tiny cooked shrimps, which can be eaten whole) and bulots (sea snails) for dinner, as well as some fresh figs. That night we also had a casserole consisting of a mixture of potato puree and fish and finished our dinner with a slice of Trianon, an incredibly indulgent chocolate mousse cake from a patisserie in Cannes.
Day 3 - Saint Paul de Vence, Grasse and confit de canard
We spent our last day exploring the little alleys of the medieval town Saint Paul de Vence, which is famous for its many modern and contemporary art museums, such as the Fondation Maeght, as well as for its private art galleries.
I was wearing Missoni pants, a Gap t-shirt, an H&M blazer and Nike Thea trainers. My totebag is by Zara and my sunglasses are vintage Rayban.
Afterwards we headed to Grasse for a guided tour of one of the city's most famous perfume factories, Fragonard. Ever since I had read 'Das Parfum' by Patrick Süskind I had dreamt of visiting the birthplace of perfume and it was incredibly interesting to learn about the process of making perfume as I had had no idea how much effort and how many tons of blossoms went into the production of one single flacon. This and the fact that to become a parfumeur, one has to study for ten years in total, including three years of university education followed by !seven! years of practical work to identify over two thousand essences of fragrance, also explained the high price point of most perfumes.
Our trip ended with yet another delicious home cooked meal, this time in form of confit de canard, duck confit cooked with beans and served with pan fried potatoes.
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