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:
- 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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.