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Many of France’s best chefs, past and present, originated from Provence – no doubt inspired by the wonderful produce on display for all to see at any morning market. More than ever there is a focus on using the best ingredients that the region has to offer. The dishes noted below can be found on the menu of many restaurants in Nice and the French Riviera; and we encourage you to try some of these unique flavours. However, with access to your very own kitchen in your Sunlight Properties holiday letting apartment or villa, you can have a go at whipping up some gourmet delights yourself – simply pop along to the local outdoor market, fill your Provençal basket and ‘voilà’ – can’t do that in a hotel!
As far as wine is concerned, the South of France produces a range of light, fresh and fruity whites and rosés; as well as some delicious reds. The quality across the board has improved enormously over the last 10 to 15 years. Whilst by no means a full proof guaranty of quality, looking out for A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Controlée) on the label is a good starting point. Especially pleasant are dry whites from Cassis, and reds and rosés from Bandol. The hills around Nice, notably in the area of Bellet, have developed an excellent reputation in recent years for producing some particularly fine wines. When you rent a holiday apartment or villa from Sunlight Properties, you can have the luxury of relaxing with a glass of wine on your very own balcony, terrace, or garden. Click here to view our holiday rental apartments and villas in the South of France:click here.
Means ‘soaked bread’, which doesn’t sound very appealing but they are excellent for lunch, being a crusty roll stuffed with tuna, olives, peppers, salad, egg and drizzled with olive oil – essentially a Salad Niçoise in a bun.
A large thin pancake made from olive oil and chickpea flour and served hot, sprinkled with pepper – absolutely delicious with a glass of chilled rosé.
A Provençal style pizza made with a base of sweet dough topped with olives, caramelised onions and anchovies.
There are many versions but they generally include tuna, lettuce, olives, green beans, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and anchovies.
A vegetable and bean soup flavoured with basil, garlic, and olive oil.
A very famous fish soup dish first created in Marseille. It combines various seafood and fish including snapper, conger eel, and scorpion fish; and is made with tomatoes, olive oil and saffron.
Cooked slowly in red wine, herbs, and orange zest, this is a very tender beef stew.
Normally accompanied with mustard and pickles, this is jellied meat from the head of a calf.
Sardines topped with a mixture of vegetables, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese.
Little vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, etc. stuffed with a combination of minced meat, chopped vegetables, and topped with crispy breadcrumbs.
Polenta made from chickpeas, cut into strips and deep fried like hot chips.
Regional sausages made with garlic and herbs, and served with brown lentils.
The delicate yellow courgette flowers are served either battered and deep fried or stuffed with vegetables and ricotta and then baked.
A type of fish pie topped with mashed potatoes.
A regional version of black pudding made with chard, rice, and pig blood.
Slowly cooked tripe accompanied by tomatoes and peppers.
A savoury dish made with crusty pastry and filled with chard, rice, and bacon.
A sweet version of the above dish without the rice and bacon, but with the addition of pine nuts, raisins, rum, and icing sugar.
In the hills around the city of Nice is produced one of the oldest French wines - the wine of Bellet. Massive amounts have been invested in recent years resulting in a marked improvement in the quality of wine, and reflected in the level of international interest. The A.O.C. Bellet vineyards exist on a tiny pocket of terraced land, where the grapes enjoy unique and natural conditions reflected in the flavours and aromas of their reds, rosés and whites. Bellet’s proximity to the centre of Nice, makes a visit to these wine domains a relatively easy endeavour from your holiday rental apartment or villa, allowing you to discover and taste these excellent award winning wines.
Bernard Nicoletti combines traditional and modern techniques to create delicious wines. You can take a tour of the wine cellar adorned with an array of modern art. Wine tasting and sales direct from the boutique. 213 Chemin de Cremat. Open Tues to Sat: 2.30pm-5.30pm.
Tel: 04 92 15 14 14. www.domainedetoasc.com.
Situated in a historic castle in the Bellet wine region, the Château de Cremat is built above Roman tunnels and produces fantastic A.O.C. wines. 422 Chemin de Cremat.
Tel: 04 92 15 12 15.
Developed only in 2006, Nathalie and Jean Patrick Pacioselli have obtained organic certification and their wines have been included in the wine guide ‘Hachette’. A favourite with the Sunlight Properties team due to their ‘Green’ approach to wine making.
343 Chemin de Cremat, Bellet. www.saintjean-bellet.com.
Generations of the Charnace family have been making wine and they continue to produce some of the area’s greatest vintages. 440 Chemin de Saquier, Bellet. Tel: 04 93 37 81 57.
This vineyard has won numerous awards and medals - 2010 Hachette Guide’s ‘Coup de Coeur’ for its 2006 red, plus honours for their 2009 rosé. 325 Chemin de Saquier, Bellet.
Tel: 04 93 29 92 99.
Organically cultivated by Gio Sergi , his mission is succinctly summed up by his motto - “My passion: wine; My goal: your pleasure”. We can’t argue with that! Collet des Fourniers, St. Roman de Bellet. Tel: 04 92 15 12 69. http://www.clos-st-vincent.fr/
The best Châteauneuf du Papes are intense wines perfect for accompanying robust meat dishes. Bandol produces some excellent reds created with a high percentage of Mourvedre making the wines powerful and spicy. Gigondas and Vacqueyras produce some quality reds; as does Coteaux d’Aix made from a complex combination of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, and Counoise with Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Château de Beaucastel (Châteauneuf du Pape) – on the nose red fruits, leather, truffles, and musk; on the palate spice, pepper, liquorice.
Domaine Tempier (Bandol) – robust and powerful with dense tannins.
Domaine de Terrebrune (Bandol) – leather, spice, tobacco, chocolate, and truffles are just some of the complex aromas to be found in their older vintages. This winery is a favourite with the Sunlight Properties team – delicious wine produced organically.
M. Chapoutier Terra d’Or (Coteaux d’Aix) – sought after by connoisseurs - complex and powerful with pepper, dried sausage and blackberry notes.
Grape varieties like Syrah give the better Provençal rosés full flavour and body. While the more subtle rosés are excellent as an aperitif or paired with food, they complement delicate flavours such as courgette flowers or sea bass. Bandol rosés are known for their spicy, earthy characters and are considered some of the best rosés in France.
Domaine Tempier (Bandol) – intense fruit with aromas of peach and pomegranate, followed by spice notes; nice acid balance.
Domaine de Terrebrune (Bandol) – excellent wine; older vintages display hints of honey, dried fruits and cinnamon. This winery is a favourite with the Sunlight Properties team – delicious wine produced organically.
Commanderie de Peyrassol (Côtes de Provence) – fresh, fruity wine with hints of red berries.
Domaines Gavoty (Côtes de Provence) – round and supple; pairs well with spicy foods and garlic flavours.
Only a limited quantity of white Côtes de Provence is produced each year. They tend to be fruity and excellent served young with seafood. Older vintages pair well with white meats and certain cheeses. The main grape varieties utilised are Rolle, Semillon, Ugni blanc and Clairette. Whites from Cassis are full- bodied and herbaceous, made principally from Clairette and Marsanne. The crisp whites from Côtes du Luberon are worth keeping an eye out for, the cooler night temperatures of this region help produce unique characteristics.
Domaine St. Andre de Figuiere (Côtes de Provence) – quality, complex wines with beautiful balance.
Domaines Gavoty (Côtes de Provence) – when young, fresh and lively with an exotic fruit aroma.
Clos Ste. Magdeleine (Cassis) – floral, dry with mint aromas and honey touches; long flavour and good balance.
‘Vins doux naturels’ are not in fact naturally sweet wines as the name would suggest, but sweet wines fortified with spirit - delicious as a chilled aperitif, or in lieu of an after dinner liqueur. The Muscat grape forms the base of most of these wines--at their best are luscious and fragrant. A well-regarded sweet wine from the Côtes du Rhône is Beaumes de Venise.
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