8 Basics You Need to Know About French Riviera Restaurants

taste local food and wine

If you are travelling to Provence, Cote d’Azur, Nice, then your vacation would be incomplete without tasting local wine and local cuisine. Wine and gastronomy is a special cult and part of the local culture. I write a lot on my blog about the peculiarities of wines and food, I hope this information is useful to you. But here are a few rules to be familiar with before you go to one of the French Riviera restaurants. It doesn’t even matter whether it will be a gourmet restaurant with Michelin stars and stunning views or an urban cute restaurant in Nice and its surroundings. In any case, it will be useful for you to know:

  1. Bread or grissini is always served on the table. The bread can be served with olive oil. While you’re sipping your aperitif, try soaking a slice of fresh crispy bread in the aromatic olive oil from around here. Taste it with wine. Yummy? Divine! Especially if you have walked several kilometres before taking a city tour. Wine, bread and olive oil are the main agricultural products of the Mediterranean. Try and enjoy this Mediterranean diet. How simple and how delicious!
  2. Water. Any establishment will refuse to serve you some water. The water carafe is always free. If you’ve finished, don’t hesitate to ask for more. Drink more water, it’s healthy! Especially if a certain amount of wine is also present during your meal.
French Riviera Restaurants

3. All other drinks, besides wine and water, make you a tourist. Smoothies and juices are for breakfast only. Coffee after meals. A cocktail is like an aperitif before meals and is better in another place without a hint of gastronomy. Beer? Maybe, of course, but how can you be in the Mediterranean and not taste the local historical drink – wine? Coca-Cola, Pepsi, what else is there? Forget it forever! Unless only children will be given indulgence on this score.

French Riviera Restaurants

4. The order of the dishes is always strictly defined. First an aperitif. Next are snacks, then main courses. Then there may be cheese (if the restaurant is more French). Dessert at the end. Coffee. Digestif. Dessert is usually not immediately ordered. When you finish the main courses, a dessert menu will be brought to you. If you are several people and you ordered dishes from different categories, then usually the order of taking out dishes is always regulated. Until your neighbour finishes his appetizer, you will not get the main course (unless you ask).

5. Coffee with dessert is perceived as nonsense here. First dessert, then coffee. This is the age-old order. Coffee is perceived here as a drink with which you can cheer up after a hearty dinner and wine, and not as an appendage to dessert. Then tea? You can, of course, order, it is customary to drink tea much less often than coffee. Rather, it is perceived as a medicinal or sedative drink. So if you don’t want to be considered a sick or nervous person, order a wine that matches your dessert and enjoy another successful combination of wine and food pairing.

French Riviera Restaurants

6. Most coffee is espresso. There are two types: “short” – stronger and “long” – more diluted with water. But even if you order a “long” coffee, do not think that they will bring you a large mug of Americano. No, it will still be a small cup of strong espresso. Cappuccino, Latte and all their varieties are just pampering for breakfast or brunch.

spread-of-turkish-coffee

7. Each restaurant usually has a day off. So if you have planned a trip to a certain place just for the sake of one of the recommended restaurants, then it is better to initially clarify whether it is open on that day and book a table.

8. And the most important thing! Do not forget that the locals eat always at the same time. And restaurants are also open during certain traditional eating hours. Lunch is usually served from noon to 14.30. Dinner starts from 19.00 to 21.30. These are approximate times and may vary slightly depending on the season, region, restaurant. But in general, it’s best to remember that between 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm you can hardly find where to eat. And if you find it, then you should know that this place is focused exclusively on tourists, and it is unlikely that there will be something authentic there.

Ratatouille

ratatouille

Cuisine of Nice is very special and interesting. The city is between Provence and Italy. Today we’ll talk about ratatouille – assorted seasonal vegetables.

The first mention of the ratatouille comes to us from Nice and dates back to 1778. So this sunny city is the real homeland of this dish. Further it was spread to Provence.

Poor peasants cooked stew from seasonal vegetables. They mixed zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and Provencal herbs. All this was cooked over low heat in olive oil. Later, eggplant was added to ratatouille. Initially, ratatouille was simply called a brew of vegetables and the meaning of the word was not always used in a positive sense. Rata is a military slang that meant stewed beans, potatoes, vegetables with very fatty meat. Most likely the recipe of ratatouille came to us from the military canteen. The dish is simple to prepare and inexpensive. Touiller in french means to stir.

Vegetables

The concept of seasonal stewed vegetables seems to be an integral part of Provence cuisine. Although it is difficult for us to believe it now, the ratatouille in the form in which we know it could hardly exist until the 16th century. After all, zucchini and tomatoes were imported from America only after the Great Geographical Discoveries. The eggplant was brought to Europe from India and was far from immediately used in cooking.

Many people learned about this dish, its recipe and serving thanks to the cartoon “Ratatouille“.

There are many variations on the ratatouille cooking. Different vegetables, different proportional combinations, different consistencies (sometimes you can even meet ratatouille more similar to soup). Ratatouille is also served in different ways. Cold and hot. It can be a separate dish, or it can accompany meat (beef and lamb are perfect) or fish, even fried potatoes and rice. Traditionally, vegetables are baked together. Baked vegetables retain more vitamins and are easier to eat. What time of day is for ratatouille?

Variations

There are no rules here either. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – for each meal there may be a place for a ratatouille. Sometimes ratatouille is sprinkled with grated Parmesan. Sometimes pesto sauce is added to it. The main thing is not to overdo the aroma and taste of vegetables and spices. The latter in the form of Provencal herbs play a very important role. They include rosemary, basil, thyme, sage, peppermint, savory, oregano and marjoram.

The ingredients are simple and healthy, it is not surprising that you can find similar dishes in other countries. So in Italy it is caponata, in Spain – pisto, in Hungary – lecsó. Despite the similarity of the ingredients, each country has its own characteristics and you can get completely different taste. After all, varieties of vegetables, spices, cooking methods also play a role.

Food and wine of Liguria

food and wine of liguria

Hi friends! Today we are going to the north-west of Italy, to the Liguria region. It is an Italian continuation of the French Riviera. And both regions have much in common in the historical, cultural and gastronomic context. It is located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Here you will see not only sea landscapes but also the foothills of the Alps. You can also enjoy simple but very delicious food and wine of Liguria.

Pesto

The most famous ingredient in Ligurian cuisine is pesto sauce. This region is considered to be the birthplace of the sauce. Not surprisingly, all the ingredients for this sauce are Liguria’s best local products. Olive oil, basil, garlic, pine seeds, hard sheep’s cheese. Be sure to taste the local lasagna with pesto.

Simple street food of Liguria

Locals eat a lot of dough dishes, like all Italians.

street food of liguria
Focaccia Genovese
  • Focaccia, a traditional Italian wheat tortilla, is very popular. Its dough is insanely simple: flour, water and olive oil. But how delicious it can be! In Liguria, you will most often find Focaccia Genovese and Focaccia di Recco. The first is pretty simple. Thin tortilla with olive oil and salt, sometimes with onions. Focaccia di Recco has two layers. It can be stuffed inside with cheese, sausage, sprinkled with garlic, pepper, herbs.
Focaccia di Recco
Focaccia di Recco
  • Farinata (Faina in Genoa and Socca in Nice) is a thin tortilla made from chickpea flour. This seemingly simple cake made in an open oven is very tasty. It is popular not only in northwestern Italy and on the French Riviera, but even in Uruguay and Argentina. Ligurian immigrants brought local recipes with them to South America. There, this dish is also called Faina. Faina, Farinata or Socca is the most popular street food on the Mediterranean coast from Nice to Tuscany. In Genoa, you can find faina with onions and artichokes. They say that the traditional here is fainâ co i gianchetti. But I have never tasted it.
  • Panissa is another local Ligurian speciality. It is made from the same chickpea flour, also cooked in the oven. But Faina or Socca is baked as a whole big pancake. Panissa is like little pancakes in olive oil. You will also find panissa among the Provence specialities.
Panissa food and wine of liguria
Panissa
  • Sardenaira is like pizza without cheese. Although many claims that this dish is closer to focaccia. It is very similar to street food in Nice called pissaladière. This name comes from the older one – pizza all’Andrea in honor of the Genoese admiral Andrea Doria (1466-1560), whose favourite food was a piece of bread with olive oil, garlic and salted anchovy. It is said that it was Sardenaira that became the basis of Napoletana pizza recipe before the discovery of America by Columbus and the appearance of tomatoes in Europe.
Sardenaira
Sardenaira

Seafood in Liguria

Liguria descends from the mountains to the sea coast. Therefore it is a sin not to taste fish here. For example, you will find anchovies in all interpretations: fried, stuffed, fresh, canned.

  • Cappon magro or capponata. You must have heard of Nisois salad, and so there is a Genoese salad. It consists of seafood and vegetables, laid out in the likeness of a biscuit in the form of a pyramid. Inside you have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, eggs, bottarga (caviar of mullet or tuna), dried tuna. All this is seasoned with local olive oil. Lobster is placed on top of such a pyramid. Capponata is a traditional dish for Christmas dinner in Liguria. If you still want to taste the Nicoise salad, in Liguria it is called Insalata nizzarda.
Cappon magro
Cappon magro
  • Buridda ligure is a traditional Ligurian fish soup. Sometimes it can be like a stew. Several types of fish can be used at once, as well as seafood such as squid, shellfish and mussels. In Genova, they often use octopus and shrimps. In Provence, a similar soup can be found under the name bourride.

What else to taste in Liguria?

  • Torta verde or tôrta pasqualinn-a is a salty cake traditional for the Easter table. After fasting, eggs and cheese, the ingredients of the cake, began to be eaten on Easter. Sometimes they add artichokes, peas, vegetables. But traditionally in Genova, this pie is made with a mangold – a subset of beets. Sometimes you can even find sweet versions of this cake.
  • Trenette al pesto. Trenette is a narrow flat pasta popular in Liguria. Served with pesto.
Trenette al pesto food and wine of Liguria
Trenette al pesto
  • Risotto con castagne e latte – risotto with chestnuts and milk.
  • Coniglio alla Ligure – rabbit stewed in white wine.

Desserts of Liguria

  • Amaretti di Sassello is local macaroons. It is popular in different regions of Italy, but each has its own recipe and vision of real Amaretti.
Amaretti di Sassello
Amaretti di Sassello
  • Canestrelli is a traditional cookie for Piedmont, Liguria and Corsica.
  • Pandolce Genovese or Genova cake is a fruit cake with raisins, candied fruits, almonds, zest and pine nuts.

Wine of Liguria

Wine deserves a separate post. Here I would like to say that food and wine of Liguria always went hand in hand, as in other regions of the Mediterranean. Therefore, to complete the gastronomic pleasure in Liguria, it is better to pair wine and food!

The most famous wine sub-region of Liguria is, perhaps, the Cinque Terre. It is known primarily because of its tourist significance. People travel, come here, walk along the vineyards on cliffs, eat at local restaurants, taste local wine and then often associate all of Liguria winemaking with the Cinque Terre. And that does not reflect all the reality. They produce wine in Cinque Terre, but in very small quantities. So it is quite difficult to find it outside of Liguria. But if you find yourself in one of these charming villages, then do not miss the opportunity to taste local wine. It is made of white varieties Vermentino (in Nice and Provence it is called Rolle), Bosco, Alborola. It will be light, fresh, fruity wine. Sweet Sciacchetra wine is also produced here. Grapes are dried in the sun.

At the very border with France and not far from Nice there is another appellation – Dolceaqua. They produce red wine from the autochthonous variety – Rossese.

wine of Liguria

Closer to the east and Tuscany the winemakers use Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Pollera nera, Bracciola nera, Trebbiano and Vermentino varieties.

food and wine of liguria

Festivals in Liguria

All this diversity and an abundance of delicious food and wine of Liguria can be tasted at the numerous festivals that take place in the summer in almost every town in Liguria. It is a very exciting action, where you can carelessly enjoy food, wine, music, dancing, socializing, landscapes until the morning. I hope that soon we will regain the opportunity to have fun in Liguria!

Spread of coffee: The main historical stages

spread of cofee

Let’s put off the wine tasting for the evening or the weekend. And now, in order to effectively finish this working day, we may need some coffee. Although if you have already tried a wine and food pairing during your lunch or dinner, then coffee also does not hurt. So let’s talk about the history of the spread of coffee plant and drink in the world.

The birthplace of coffee

The birthplace of coffee is Ethiopia. A plant called Coffea Arabica has been used since time immemorial. Nevertheless, coffee was not used in the form, which this drink is familiar to us. Ethiopian locals made a paste by mixing coffee beans ground into powder and butter. This dish had both high calorie content and was a stimulating substance.

Arabica and Yemen coffee export monopoly

Coffee came to Yemen in the 6th century. Since on the other side of the Red Sea there were almost identical climatic conditions, as in Ethiopia, the plant quickly took root on the Arabian Peninsula. It was in Yemen that coffee appeared that we are familiar with today. The drink spread across the Arabian Peninsula from Moka, the city of Yemen, the oldest port specializing in the export of coffee. This city also gave its name to one of the varieties of arabica, as well as a geyser coffee maker.

Moka Spread of coffee

In the 16th century, the Turks discovered coffee, conquering Egypt. Taking coffee beans with them back home, coffee spreads extremely quickly throughout the Ottoman Empire. Many coffee houses open in Istanbul in the middle of the 16th century.

Spread of coffee in Europe

Later, Europe got hooked on coffee. It was imported from Yemen. Demand grew, so did prices. Then in the middle of the 17th century the Dutch stole a coffee plant and planted it in their colony in Ceylon. From there, coffee hit Java, another Dutch colony. So Java becomes another coffee exporter.

At the same time, an Indian Muslim pilgrim brought several coffee beans to India from Mecca. So coffee plantations appeared in India.

coffee spread in france

In 1714, a burgomaster from Amsterdam offered coffee to the French king Louis XIV. The King ordered to plant coffee plantations in the West Indies. On the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, which at that time was called Bourbon, a variety of coffee Bourbon is cultivated. The island becomes the main supplier of coffee to France.

Coffee from South America and Robusta from West Africa

Interestingly, South America, which is now the leader in the cultivation of coffee, started to grow it much later. West Africa, where Robusta is grown, also joined coffee-growing countries only at the end of the 19th century.

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Movies for foodies: Movies about gastronomy. Your Vinolove Wine Club Selection

Movies for foodies

Today we all have more time for books and movies. Yesterday a selection of books and blogs about wine was made. Today, let’s expand this topic a bit and talk about food, not only in terms of tasting. We digress and watch movies about gastronomy, where it is an inseparable attribute of the surroundings and atmosphere shown in the film.

Movies about gastronomy Selection:

  • Eat. Pray. Love. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert. Main character, played by the unsurpassed Julia Roberts, understands that she does not live her own life and goes to travel. The first country on her way is Italy. And as you understand, Italy would not be so charming without its cuisine and wine pairing!
  • It’s complicated. Star duo Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. The film is about relationship. But! The bakery of the main character is a passion of her life. Many scenes from of the movie take place here. For example, baking croissants together, what could be more romantic?
  • Julie and Julia. Another picture from one of the greatest actresses of our time – Meryl Streep. Modern blogger Julie is cooking following the recipes of the book, written by chef Julia Child, who lived half a century ago.
  • Woman on top. Here the beautiful Penelope Cruz plays, who, in search of a new life and new gastronomy routes, goes to San Francisco. Gastronomy is the main passion of her life. The film is light, pleasant, colorful and full of all sorts of pleasant aromas.
  • No Reservations. The beautiful woman played by Catherine Zeta-Jones suddenly meets a girl and a man who are able to change her life. Here you will also find many culinary and restaurant scenes, many food and wine.

European Movies about gastronomy:

  • Le chef. This movie shows the different views on culinary art, a story of cooperation and confrontation between two chefs. One of them is played by everyone’s beloved Jean Renault. It is also said that the second actor, Michael Youn, was advised by one of the most famous chefs of our time – Alain Ducasse, a chef of three 3 Michelin stars restaurants.
  • Toast. A movie adaptation of chef Nigel Slater’s autobiography. It tells about the boy’s childhood and relationships in his family through the food. The main female roles in the movie is played by the talented Helena Bonham Carter. The film is pleasant and atmospheric, will inspire you to relax and eat something delicious.
  • Chocolat. A bit of sweetness for a dessert. The love story of the main characters played by the magnificent Johnny Depp and the charming Juliette Binoche, filled with romance and chocolate flor.

In fact, there are much more good films where food and gastronomy are rendered close-ups. Do not be discouraged if your favorite movie is not this collection, write me on Facebook or Instagram about it, and I’ll be happy to create a continuation of this article.