For those who are not yet aware, Nice’s cuisine may soon be included in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Indeed, the fervent defenders of local culinary heritage led by the region’s figureheads, have set up an association “Cuisine niçoise, patrimoine de l’humanité” Its aim is to promote, preserve and raise global awareness of local culinary treasures.
This is of no surprise to locals who are well aware of the richness and importance of the heritage of the County of Nice and its surroundings.
With this in mind, here are some of Nice’s essential dishes for you to taste upon your next visit.
1/ The mythical pissaladière
The pissaladière is one of the Nice region’s oldest culinary specialities. This dish has become an essential part of pre-dinner drinks or starters. Taste it under the Cote d’Azure sky! The “pissaladièra”, in the local dialect, is essentially made from local products such as bread dough, onions, olives, anchovies and olive oil.
To taste an excellent pissaladière, try “La Fougassière”, a bakery in the centre of the old town, before heading for the Promenade des Anglais to enjoy the sun whilst looking out over the Mediterranean!
2/ The Socca
What would the cuisine of Nice be without the Socca? This pancake is made from chickpea flour and cooked in a wood-fired oven. Delicious as a starter like just the pissaladière, the socca is enjoyed in the old town or by the port, with family or friends whilst drinking a good glass of wine or local beer, itself made from chickpeas, always in the sunshine!
To taste this speciality of Nice, head to PIPO, the restaurant showcasing local specialities! The wood-fired oven, the collector’s Estafette, the little room with exposed stone.
3/ The Niçoise Salad
After whetting your appetite with a pissaladière and socca, you’re ready for the freshness of the Niçoise salad. Despite a few bold variations and adaptations, the authentic Niçoise salad is festival of flavour!
The authentic Niçoise salad contains baby onions, tomatoes, fava beans, celery, little purple artichokes, pepper, V2 hard-boiled egg, anchovies and of course local olive oil.
4/ Pan bagnat
There is a label for the authentic Pan Bagnat displayed at certain stores in Nice. This tuna, salad sandwich with olive oil was originally a snack for fishermen and morning shiftworkers. It was quick to prepare, balanced and healthy!
To taste the authentic Pan Bagnat, wander around the streets of the old town and stop at a store displaying the label.
Across Nice gnocchi is rooted in family tradition. Served at parties and family meals, it has long been part of Nice County’s cultural heritage! All locals have childhood memories of preparing gnocchi with their grandmothers for the whole family. It is sure to bring young and old to the table and guarantee a convivial, flavoursome meal.
A local beef and carrot stew is generally served with the gnocchi. This recipe is in the pantheon of Nice County’s recipes!
Another local speciality are stuffed vegetables, or “farcis”. They showcase the summer vegetables – tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and mushrooms – that are found in the region! They were borne of the way of life of our ancestors who were accustomed to cooking with produce from the local market or their vegetable plot. This dish has been passed down through the generations and is now a real local speciality to be seen on all tables from Springtime!
7/ The tourte de blettes
The leaves of the chard plant are eaten cooked. The chard pie is usually eaten as a desert. Complex and unusual, it is representative of the wealth of Nice’s culinary heritage. Make sure you try it: it is unique to our region!