A little something to whet your appetite
28.05.2010 26 °C
We are now on the Cotes d’Azure in Provence, looking out over the bay of Cannes. The sun shines from dawn to dusk, the sea and sky meld seamlessly into a wide blue horizon, and the golden sand beaches are already packed with sun-starved northerners getting an early jump on summer. Although we love the sun and sea we are really here for family, friends and for the food, and for the next few weeks as we travel around Provence and meander along the canal-du-midi in Languedoc-Roussillon we will bring you a culinary tour of southern France.
We will start here, in the Marche Provencal, in Antibes near Nice.
We’ve previously drooled over the French markets in our blogs, but we can never get enough of them. The variety of produce on offer is astounding. Imagine having seventeen varieties of potatoes to choose from….
…or fourteen different types of salad greens
Or eleven kinds of tomatoes; or hundreds of cheeses; or dozens of sausages. The list is almost endless and we wander around mesmerized by the quantity and quality of local foodstuffs on offer.
The markets close around midday, just in time for lunch. And on the Mediterranean coast the finest, and most popular, lunch is the simple moules frites, (mussels and chips). We met our friends, Colin and Jane, in Antibes’ historic market square and, for the price of a Canadian soup and sandwich, we each had a steaming heap of moules marinieres and a pile of crisp French fries.
But not everything here is inexpensive. We went to Monaco on Tuesday and checked out the lunch menu in the Café de Paris overlooking the Casino in Monte Carlo – Don’t ask!
Dinner is the highlight of every Frenchman’s day and although we’ve had some major disappointments in recent years, we’ve been treated to some excellent meals this time. Here’s Sunday’s menu…
And included in the price was a delicious amuse bouche of chestnut soup, together with homemade tapenade and delicate slices of Melba toast. Here is the main course of courgette flowers stuffed with cod…
The four course meal was topped off with fresh local strawberries and fromage frais – absolutely delicious – and just twenty five dollars including tax. A note to the British Columbian government which has just hiked taxes – the French government has dropped the tax on eating out in order to assist the ailing restaurant trade during the recession!