Located on the Côte d’Azur, Cannes has a special trait that sets it aside from the rest of the region. We are not referring to its climate, albeit a particularly mild one even in wintertime, but to its bond with the film industry which, for the past 70 years, has always brought the city to life in May with its world-famous Cannes Film Festival.
This year, during the 70th edition of the festival, S.Pellegrino - once again the official water of the event - will honor the founder of modern Italian cuisine Gualtiero Marchesi, presenting an exclusive preview of Gualtiero Marchesi: The Great Italian, a film dedicated to the remarkable chef’s life and professional achievements. The complete film will be officially presented in Autumn in Italy and will be followed by a world roadshow in October, starting from the USA.
The Festival also stands for culture and, during this particularly frenetic season, the Mediterranean charm of Cannes remains intact with its markets of Middle Eastern nuances, boutiques for the most discerning fashion addicts and exclusive beaches of rare beauty. Such is the charm of the Côte d’Azur, as this particular stretch of Provence has been called since 1887.
It is in this month of May that we invite you to pick it like a flower, with the help of a guide to the most meaningful Taste Experiences.
A cheese lovers’ paradise
Curious foodies can visit Le Fromager Gourmet in the centre of town, a tiny shop down a side street on the northern edge of the crowded market. French chef Alain Ducasse has included it in his list of 170 favourite spots on the French Riviera.
Spring is the ideal season for tasting goat’s cheese: you will find dozens of different varieties here supplied directly by small-scale producers. You may also buy them vacuum packed for taking home and enjoying later.
Le Fromager Gourmet
8 Rue des Halles, Cannes
Tel +33 (0) 4 93 99 96 41, Facebook Page
The most famous indoor market in Cannes stands between the town hall and the railway station and is open from Tuesday to Sunday. A triumph of colours and scents hits you as you wander between the stalls enjoying an experience that is not just gastronomic.
Forville Market is subdivided into a number of large departments: organic fruit and vegetables, cold cuts and cheese, fish straight off the boats. The perfect spot for a photo shoot which embodies the true spirit of Cannes, as well as for buying food and fruit for a picnic on the beach.
Rue du Marché Forville, Cannes
Open from Tuesday to Sunday
The art of roasting
On market days, the most crowded shop on the square is the Rotisserie Christophe. Here you can sit down and enjoy a perfectly roasted chicken with a crisp outer skin and tender meat. The chickens come from P.G.I. Lauragais free-range farms and other strictly controlled breeding farms.
The Toulouse sausages are also excellent. This is the heaven of rotisserie, the art of roasting, which today’s chefs seem to have abandoned.
4 Place du Marché Forville, Cannes
Tel. + 33 (0) 4 93 68 00 23
Baguettes and croissants
In Cannes, Multari bakery is a name with a history. It is rumoured that the mother dough used today has been passed down from 1987 when the bread shop was first opened. Just go in and try one of the many products on sale.
Here you can find the authentic baguette, as well as éclairs and croissants made from puff pastry. It is also an excellent place to have lunch in. They serve sandwiches, salads and plats du jour. Multari is a small retail chain in Cannes. Its website provides information on all outlets.
As you wander around markets, bread shops and bistros, here are the things to taste and buy in Cannes and its surrounding area: ratatouille, lemons from Menton, lavender honey, Tropezienne cake. As well as two lesser known delicacies: calisson and pissaladière. The former is a type of almond-based biscuit. Pissaladière is a flatbread: bread dough covered with gently fried onions, anchovy, black olives, thyme and bay leaves.
Where to shop for it? In almost any bistro, small eatery, bread shop or café in the internal streets and alleys of Cannes, running parallel to the Croisette.
One of the traditional French sweets, macarons have now built up a huge fan club worldwide. The best sweet and savoury macaroons of the Riviera can be tasted in the awarded laboratory run by pastry chef Jean Luc Pelé, who first opened in Paris twenty years ago.
Pelé, who loves to experiment, has reduced the sugar and fat content of his sweets and pastries. Don’t miss the 80% chocolate ones or the rose-flavoured variety. His savoury macaroons with foie gras and figs are most unusual.
If you get a sudden urge for caviar, why not pay a visit to the Compagnie des Saumons et Caviars (Salmon and Caviar Company), a not-to-be-missed address for enthusiasts. Here you will find wild smoked salmon, from Norwegian to Irish, and Petrossian caviar.
There is also a selection of excellent vodkas to choose from. Products may be purchased for taking away or tasted on the premises.
Compagnie des Saumons and Caviars
12 pl. du Marché de Forville, Cannes
Tel. +33 (0) 4 93 68 33 20, Website
The beauty of honey
One of the artisanal products of the area is PGI (Protected Geographical Indication)Honey of Provence, which comes from a selection of remarkably scented flowers: heather, which gives us a creamy honey with notes of caramel and cacao; rosemary with its delicate flavour; chestnut, strong and tannin-rich; lavender, aromatic and acidulous.
The honey you can buy in the food stores and delis of Cannes is also sold in the form of creams, ointments and cosmetics. Provence produces about 2,000 tons each year. You should try that of Valensole.
The village of Carros, about fifteen kilometres away from Cannes, offers the best strawberries on the Riviera. May is the ideal month for seeing its fields full of ripe fruit and for buying a punnet in one of the shops in the centre. This highly scented strawberry is candied, simply served with ice-cream or as a garnish.
In the evening you can book a table at one of the small restaurants near the gates of the medieval village. If you go to La Forge, order a strawberry risotto: here, as in the other venues, the menu is dedicated to this delicious fruit.