It seems like this summer has been one stunning market after another: Helsinki, Valencia, Tallinn, Venice, Barcelona, Belfast, Corfu…. But one is hard pressed to find a market with more history or personality than in Nice. It was a beautiful day, so the colors of Nice were at their most pronounced. The water was bright blue and the buildings a sunny palate of greens, yellows, blues and oranges.
We started down one narrow street with our charming guide and then turned a corner to an explosion of vegetables and flowers and fruits! Local shoppers and tourist picnickers alike were filling their baskets with fresh figs, baguettes, olives and cheeses.
The melons were so ripe you could smell them just walking by, and I could not stuff enough zucchini blossoms in my bag to take back to the culinary center.
I am always struck by how beautiful the colors of nature are. The red and white of these radishes with their green leaves is just stunning. Is there anything better than thinly sliced radishes with a little sea salt?
The artichokes this summer have been abundant – from our first sighting in Corfu to here in Nice the last weekend in August.
The shallots were the size of small potatoes, and the garlic was fresh and fragrant.
No wonder the food in the south of France is so fabulous….
I love the little sugar candies that you find in the stalls and shops in Nice. I stopped into one corner shop and found these jellied fruits that looked more like works of art than candies!
In our French and Fabulous class, we make a pissaladerie, so when I stumbled across this onion and anchovy treat, I had to try it and compare to the Oceania Cruises recipe in the Taste the World cookbook.
And I may be prejudiced, but I think ours in the BEST! Our corporate executive chefs, Franck Garanger and Eric Barale, know how to do crust!!!!
After a fun few hours in Nice, we returned to the bus and took the drive up to Eze. It was such a gorgeous day. We were all giddy at the fabulous sailboats and “lifestyles of the rich and famous” cache of the south of France this time of year. On our climb to Eze, our guide pointed out a villa overlooking the Cap Ferrat that was sold for 500 million Euro ($724 million) to a Russian industrialist. We were hoping to be invited to lunch, but I guess they misplaced our invitation.
So we were happy to travel on and find our lunch spots in Eze. Who wants to eat borsch when we can snack on Salade Niçoise? That was what I selected, and it was delightful.
If you ever get to Eze, I recommend lunch or dinner at one of the two fabulous restaurants in this hilltop village. It is well worth the climb, as you can imagine from this shot I was able to take from the Chateau Eza dining balcony.
As I found out, reservations are required, so we shall dine there another time!
As we came back down the hilltop, we were able to catch a glimpse of Marina, glistening in the Mediterranean sun and blue sea. As our Chairman and CEO Frank Del Rio said when we christened her, she is an “elegant lady of the sea.” How excited we are to see her sister, Riviera, when she arrives next year!
On a final note, no day is ever complete without my carrying some treasure back to the ship. Usually, as my students can attest, it is olive oil or pastries or wines. But today, I found a first edition Larousse Gastronomique in the market in Nice. It was published in 1938 (which I think makes it a first edition), and the original owner had menu cards from a hotel in Nice that he or she had left as an additional treasure for me to find. Of course, it is in French, but that isn’t stopping me from enjoying this Bible of culinary wisdom. It is always fun to wander through markets – and especially when you come across a treasure like I did today! I wasn’t the only one though. We all came back with bags slightly heavier than we started with on this magical day in Nice and Eze.