Nice, France

8 Nov

At the moment I am living in Nice, Cote d’azur, for the year as part of my university studies (tough life, I know!)

The south of France is my favourite region by far, not only for the weather (I have recently decided I was born for the Mediterranean climate) but for the food and lifestyle that goes hand in hand with it.

The laid back lifestyle of the southern French contributes to the increasingly long lunch breaks. Usually, the nicer the weather, the longer the lunch break. The majority of the 900+ (!) restaurants in Nice keep their outside terraces open well into late November. If the sun is out, then it is warm enough to have a lunch or coffee outside.

The Italian influence in Nice is overwhelming when it comes to its restaurants, not that I’m complaining! You can also find excellent Corsican, Nicoise as well as north African restaurants.
The high competition between restaurants, especially in the old town, where restaurants and cafes sit side by side, allows for a good deal with a ‘formule dejeuner’ (set menu). This is  usually the freshest food as well as being excellent value for money.

There are many specialties of Nice, including socca, a flatbread made out of chick peas. You are meant to eat it by itself and it is tasty enough to do so if you want a quick, cheap snack on the run. However I prefer to have it with some ratatouille or something similar, as it can be quite dry!

Then of course, there is the nicoise salad, as well as the pan bagnant, which is basically a nicoise salad in a bun (I actually prefer it!)
The up-market reputation of the Cote d’azur has led to many speciality shops, selling the best local produce. There are a few shops specialising in olive oil which is just amazing in my eyes. I love olive oil, I once drank a shot of olive oil last year at uni after a few drinks, to show how much I love it (don’t ask – I don’t even know where this came from!) Anyway, my love is satisfied with shops that stock tens of varieties of oil, all with distinctive tastes, like wine tastings, you can have a sip of any oil you want! Some people may think olive oil is just olive oil, but oh no, it is not!

We have just ran out of our ‘drizzling’ oil – now time to try another one 😀

My boyfriend and I have made a decision to eat out way through Trip Advisor’s best restaurants in Nice, we plan on going once a week and so far, not one bad meal!

Mediterranean veg is in abundance here – aubergines, varieties of tomatoes, courgettes… which means it is cheap (YAY says the student!) I hardly go a week without roasting a tray of veg to use in a variety of dishes. On the downside, it meant that vegetables such as butternut squash are about 5euros a piece (ouch) therefore butternut squash soups are a real treat. Oh well, can’t have everything!

NOTE: I think I went on about olive oil a little too much. Hmm.     

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