Temperatures rising bring to mind the thought of summer apéritifs. Nice’s specialities, like tapenade, anchoyade and fougasse make us smile and bring a bit of sunshine to the plate.
If you’re looking for complete bliss, why not spend a few days on the Mediterranean coast enjoying the gourmet specialities of the Alpes-Maritimes region? Here are some of the local specialities, as well as the right places and restaurants in Nice, France, for trying them out during your stay.
tapenade, anchoyade, fougasse: “apéritif NIÇOIS” anyone?
In Nice, an apéritif without olive tapenade is like a day without sunshine: a bit sad. Historically, this southern speciality is said to have originated in Marseille, in the neighbouring département of Bouches-du-Rhône.
In 1880, chef Meynier of La Maison Dorée came up with the idea of garnishing hard-boiled eggs with a blend of black olives, capers, anchovies, tuna, olive oil, cognac and spices. Since then, tapenade has become one of the cult dishes of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region; it has been simplified over time.
Today it consists solely of olives (black or green), capers, anchovy fillets, olive oil and garlic. When it’s aperitif time, the Niçois like to spread it on slices of toast; more adventurous gourmets even use it to stuff poultry.
Anchoyade is likewise an integral part of Nice’s apéritif scene. This recipe, with its anchovies, capers, olive oil and garlic, will delight lovers of salty foods with a hint of sunshine. Like tapenade, anchoyade is enjoyed on toast or as a dip for vegetable sticks.
No apéritif would be complete without a good fougasse. This soft-crusted bread, a cousin of Italy’s famous focaccia, is usually garnished with the southern flavours of onion, black olives, anchovies and lardons. Finally, how can we talk about apéritifs without mentioning socca, a sort of pancake made from chickpea flour and olive oil baked in the oven?
RENOWNED NIÇOIS DISHES
After an apéritif, the meal continues with more dishes, each more delicious than the last, all displaying the colours of Provence. A typical menu might start with a traditional salade niçoise, with tomatoes, eggs, scallions, bell pepper, tuna, anchovies and olives. It is usually accompanied by a nice Provençal rosé or a Bellet AOC white wine.
The meal will then continue with a nice ratatouille niçoise, made with bell peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, garlic, olive oil and bay leaf, served with a grilled sea bream. Purists will maybe prefer to down a big serving of daube provençale, a traditional dish made with beef (or veal), lardons, carrots and onions, enlivened with sprigs of thyme, some red wine and olive oil.
Light eaters will go crazy for pissaladière, a Niçoise speciality considered to be a local variant of pizza, made with bread dough, stewed onions, pissalat (salted cream with sardines and anchovies) and a few black olives. Finally, if the weather is nice, set out for a picnic and take with you some delicious pan-bagnat, also featuring anchovies, eggs, tomatoes, bell pepper and olives.
TYPICAL RESTAURANTS to Try in Nice, France
In 2014, 17 restaurants in Nice, France received the Cuisine Nissarde label, recognising respect for the traditional cuisine. Whether you want an apéritif niçoise or a proper full meal, there is a wealth of choices for you.
20 av Saint-Jean Baptiste
1 cours Saleya
La Gaité Nallino
72 av Cap de Croix
22 rue Pairolière
La Cantine de Lulu
26 rue Alberti
11 rue du Marché
107 av Saint-Lambert