Tag Archives: Cote d’Azur

Place Garibaldi, giant (raspberry and lychee cream filled!) Macarons and people watching in the sun. Ahhhh.

13 May

Since finishing working in Nice, I have pretty much been on ‘holiday’ here, before I leave in a few weeks to go back to the wet and cold of the UK. I have been making the most of my time, dividing it up between eating ice cream, going to cafes and people watching, drinking wine, eating patisserie, going to the beach… tough life really isn’t it?

Image

So anyway, I was recommended by a French friend a place called Deli Bo – a trendy hipster hangout serving lunches, coffees and AMAZING patisseries! I subsequently headed there, picked up a Lychee and Rasberry Giant Macaron and headed to one of the many cafes in Place Garibaldi (my fave place to chill, attempt to read my French magazines, and people watch) to eat it, away from the waiters gaze of course, along with a noisette (a bargain of a coffee – an espresso with a bit of frothy milk – no more than 2 Euros in any French cafe.)

‘Twas delish and so thought I would gloat about how amazing it was with pictures and a blog post here 😀Image

Image

Advertisements

Farmers market, Nice

13 Jan

If you venture north of the Nice Ville train station (a seldom-practiced activity for tourists and locals alike) and you will come across the biggest open air market in Nice. Hop off at the Libération tram stop and you will find yourself in the middle of the buzzing market. It’s a great place to people watch so before you lug your buys home, sit yourself outside a cafe for ten minutes and observe!

IMG_20130113_131723

 

 

 

Tens of market traders come down from the hinterland to sell their fresh flowers, seasonal fruit and vegetables, honey, jams, cheese and other produce every day bar Monday. It is a truly huge farmers market – yet a little more rustic and not so middle-class orientated and expensive as the ones we have in the UK. It’s no wonder that it’s so popular with prices that are genuinely cheaper than supermarkets, including the Organic produce stalls.

 

IMG_20130113_132015

 

 

You can even barter with the stall holders to get a better price – great French practice too! Despite being half asleep during my mission there today I managed to get 3.50Euros worth of parsnips for 1Euro as all the decent sized ones had sold out and all that was left were the skinny, weedy looking ones (I went out to a friend’s housewarming party last night so it was quite an effort to get up and go before the market closes at lunchtime…)
Also near the Place du Général de Gaulle is a small under-cover market selling speciality cheeses, pastas and cured meats. Oh I love being so close to Italy! There is also a fish market on one side of the Place selling fresh produce.
It’s so great that here in Nice most people use the market to buy their groceries. It’s a shame that in the UK it has diminished. Like here in Nice, it would be a win-win situation if we had more of a market culture in the UK as producers could successfully sell their produce at cheap prices (no supermarket middle man!) to a demanding customer base. I love the UK farmers markets and I’m pleased to see that they are being supported more and more. For me however, trips to the farmers markets are a rare treat due to my student budget! IMG_20130113_131239

So, when in Nice, avoid the overpriced, touristy Cours Saleya market in the Old Town although and head here for an authentic French market experience!

IMG_20130113_131502

 

 

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.     

Savoury Crepes

8 Nov

Whilst on the annual Toussaint holidays, I visited Paris with a couple of friends. Although I am a French student and have visited the country every year of my life, ridiculous as it seems, it was my first visit to the capital!
After being in Nice, Paris came as a shock for one main reason – the cold! Oh the cold! I have become so used to the weather in Nice I felt as if I had been dropped into the artic (although it was only around 7degrees…)

As a cause of this coldness, I took advantage of trying some specialties of northen France, such as onion soup with garlicky croutons topped with cheese, to galettes, or savoury crepes. And believe me, I took advantage of this – ahem one a day!
Most regions have their pancake-like specialty  I am a huge fan of the Staffordshire oatcake, which is made with a combination of oatmeal and wholemeal flour that gives it a dark brown colour. They too can be enjoyed with a savoury or sweet topping.

Now that I am back in Nice, I wanted to make my own crepes. I love that they are so versatile, you can literally add any topping you like! This was another ‘how can I make something with minimum ingredients’ attempt. But the result was authentic and DELICIOUS. They refrigerate easily and can be frozen if you want to double the batch! The recipe is simple and minimal, I didn’t have buckweat (the traditional flour in a galette) but I found plain flour to be sufficient. You can always add wholemeal to make them healthier and give them a lovely dark brown colour too!

Ingredients:

60 grams plain flour

Large pinch of salt and pepper

1 egg (free range please 🙂 )

140ml milk

A little oil for frying

Method:

  • Whisk the milk and egg together, then add the flour little by little, whisking after each addition until you have a smooth batter.
  • Season the batter with salt & pepper – you can always be inventive and add some chili powder or any spice you fancy! I chucked in a teaspoon of oregano before I cooked my last crepe.
  • Refrigerate for at least half an hour. In the meantime prepare your fillings. You can be inventive as you like! Traditional galette recipes call for emmental and either ham or other cured meats. I made an emmental and rocket crepe, then a sundried tomato, olive, emmental and rocket one as homage to where I am living at the moment!
  • Heat your frying pan on a med-high heat. add a little drop of oil and wait until the pan is very hot before you add a spoonful or two of you batter (depending on how big you want your crepes.)
  • Cook for around 3 minutes on one side, then flip, add your filling to the middle of the cooked side, then fold the edges to make a little parcel. Flip over a few times to make sure you cheese and whatever else you’re using is nice and melted!
  • Serve hot on it’s own or with a side salad and enjoy!

Bon appetit!