By Katherine Scott
You may be heading to the French Riviera for the sun and the nightlife, but rest assured, you’ll eat very well during your stay. Along these sun-drenched shores, classic French dishes mingle with Mediterranean influences to create a dream culinary destination! From charming cafés and extravagant seaside supper clubs, to French Riviera villa rentals with private chefs, the South of France offers a wealth of dining options.
Butter reigns supreme elsewhere in France, but in the Côte d’Azur, olive oil is the ingredient of choice in heart-healthy (if not exactly slimming) regional specialties like ratatouille and pesto. The perfect summer dish, ratatouille brings together Mediterranean favorites such as fresh eggplant, peppers and zucchini, flavored with garlic, sea salt and dried herbs. If you’re feeling creative, this simple meal is an easy one to recreate at home.
While you will be hard pressed to find a good fish and chips stand along this high-end coast, you will find plenty of amazing fresh seafood, the perfect warm weather meal with a glass of chilled wine. Serious seafood lovers must-try the Côte’s famous bouillabaisse, which combines white fish, lobster, clams, mussels and shrimp in a hearty stew. Another seafood classic (and Julia Child favorite) is the Salade Niçoise, which features tuna and anchovies, served alongside tomatoes, green beans and hard-boiled eggs. For an Italian twist (Italy is right next door after all), try the mouthwatering seafood pizza and pasta dishes.
Chances are, that slice of lemon in your Perrier here is more than just your typical garnish. Menton, a Riviera town near Monaco, is blessed with a warm micro-climate that produces some of the best and sweetest lemons in the world. Even the peels are supposedly edible, but I didn’t test the theory. Locals are so proud of these lemons that they throw an annual lemon festival each February, complete with lemon decorated floats, parades and statues!