Cannes is a totally different city if seen during the film festival: when, on the warm nights of May, the Croisette takes on an unexpected elegance with dinner jackets galore and ladies in evening dress sipping designer cocktails as they observe the passers-by. The S.Pellegrino Taste Experience took place at this precise time of the year because for the last ten editions S.Pellegrino has been the festival’s official mineral water supplier.
The first appointment takes us to the side of a swimming pool on the terrace of the Five Seas Hotel. The atmosphere is pleasingly engaging: an extraordinary view of the city rooftops, music and new cocktails waiting to be tasted. The most popular one is made from S.Pellegrino mineral water, bergamot and mint.
Dinner is provided for by two chefs, both of whom were born in Italy but now reside in Paris. One of them is Simone Tondo, winner of the "meilleur table" award assigned by the Fooding 2013 guide, who is all set to open a new restaurant along with the existing Roseval.
The other is Giovanni Passerini, who has just inaugurated a new restaurant in Paris as well as his Pastificio Passerini, a shop selling fresh pasta next door to his venue. Their creations are set out on a long pieds dans l’eau table of the beach restaurant inside the Nescafé space: Tiny cannelloni filled with coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew), peas, mint and celery. Appreciative looks greet the Burrata with radish, fig seed oil and marjoram, Chaource mustard and a citrusy note of grapefruit.
The taste experience continues downtown, a mid-afternoon snack of the most unusual macarons varieties, including savoury ones with foie gras and figs: those created by pastry chef Jean Luc Pelè in the old Le Suquet quarter climbing up towards the Castle.
Any gastronomic tour must include a visit to browse around the stalls of the Forville Market, in Rue du Marchè Forville, the most famous indoor market of Cannes with its organic fruit and vegetables, cold cuts and cheese specialities, fish straight in from the boats and a celebration of colours and scents which add up to an experience that is not only about food.
For baguettes and croissants, the place to go is Multari in Rue de Jean Jaures where, as legend would have it, the mother dough is still the same one used when the shop first opened in 1987.
Where else could the S.Pellegrino Taste Experience come to a close, if not on the red carpet? But, before that, let’s enjoy a view of the city from the terrace most favoured by celebrities, that of the Hotel Majestic Barrière.
Here, we are greeted with an aperitif and nibbles prepared for us by house chef Maryan Gandon, played out on the theme of "deceptive appearances": what looks like a pyramid of bonbons and pastries actually turns out to be a triumph of savoury flavours, from its tiny red cherry look-alikes to the mini Sachers that are actually chocolate and foie gras puff pastries. À la prochaine fois!