You will appreciate particularly in this itinerary :
• The discovery of colourful and fragrant markets
• Nice cooking workshops
• Restaurants with the "cuisine nissarde" label that guarantee respect for tradition and recipes.
• Original initiatives of great enthusiasts
• Specialist shops and places
• The wines of Bellet (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
• Treats to be discovered urgently
• Agro-pastoral activities
You will discover the towns and vllages of Nice, Castagniers, Belvédère, Saint-Martin-Vésubie, Isola, Saint-Dalmas-Le-Selvage et Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée
"Linked to the sea as much as to the mountains, the cuisine of Nice is one of the only ones in France that can offer a complete meal, from starters to desserts, in all seasons... A cuisine with simple origins, a cuisine of social conviviality and integration, of respect for fresh and regional products, it is totally integrated into a strong Nice identity on a stable and ancient basis". This recent national recognition (15 October 2019) of the value of Nice's culinary heritage is a mandatory preliminary step for France to submit a dossier for the inclusion of Cuisine Nissarde in the UNESCO Inventory of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity!
How can you begin your discovery of the cuisine of Nice without the emblematic and unmissable visit of the Cours Saleya market in Old Nice? Classified as one of the exceptional markets in France, it is open every day, except Monday, from 6am to 1pm for the fruit and vegetables section and until 5.30pm for the flower stalls. This market is a pure delight for your senses as this profusion of colours and scents is exhilarating. The scent of mimosas, geraniums, dahlias, roses and other flowers of local production accompany the many locals and visitors who love to stroll under the colourful tents, between the cafés, the sea, the authentic facades and the stands of local products.
Among the culinary specialties to be tasted on the go, socca (chickpea pancake cooked over a wood fire), pissaladière (a specialty based on cooked onions), small stuffed vegetables, fougasse (a brioche flavoured with orange blossom), the olive of Nice and the mythical pan bagnat (a sandwich from Nice par excellence)!
What better way to fully initiate yourself to the cuisine of Nice and to take the measure of its importance in the local culture than a course with a chef? Several workshops are proposed to you to learn how to make a good daube à la niçoise, a sweet chard pie, tasty gnocchi or even authentic barbajuans.
- Next to the old Senate, near the Cours Saleya, the Atelier de Cuisine Niçoise, invites you to get your hands dirty and make one or two recipes among the most typical of the Comté de Nice. Courses are mainly in French but, on request, can be offered in English. Choose between classes of 2 and a half or 3 and a half hours. Are there two of you? Take advantage of the "duo in family" rate.
- You can also follow Rosa who animates visits of the market with cooking classes. This Canadian-born culinary journalist with a degree in dietetics has chosen Nice for its dynamic market and its unique culinary traditions steeped in Mediterranean cultures. Discover her "cooking studio Les Petits Farçis" where you will meet both local and international customers, and a wider range of recipes around organic vegetables and pastry workshops. Expect a warm and relaxed culinary experience. Classes start at 9.30am with a visit to the market, then head to the kitchen at around 11am. End of the course around 3pm. Rosa can also teach you how to make "choux" and macaroons (3 hours), as well as vegetarian cooking.
- Live a unique experience in the heart of a Chef's kitchen! Christian Plumail welcomes you at his place! After having worked for years at the beautiful starred table of "l'Univers", it is now "at home" that the Chef pursues his passion and welcomes you for a new concept of very convivial classes. After a market tour on the Cours Saleya in order to select fresh and quality products, he goes to his apartment, five minutes away on foot, in order to create, next to him, southern dishes full of flavours... then to sit down to eat!
See all the cooking classes
Not far away, push the door of Auer House. This institution, founded in 1820 and official supplier to Queen Victoria, perpetuates the artisanal production of candied fruits, fruit jellies, chocolates, jams and cakes. This shop will surely win you over, both for its high quality products and for its deliciously outdated decoration !
Then head to the port to enjoy a free guided tour of Confiserie Florian. All year round, the workshop-boutique welcomes visitors from all over the world to help them discover how sweets, candied fruits and chocolates are made. You will witness the transformation of the best fruits and the prettiest flowers of the region. You will discover the work of the violet, the Tango rose, the jasmine and the verbena transformed into delicious crystallized flowers or candied flowers as well as the work of the chocolate!
To end the evening and fill yourself up, take a seat at Julie's Table! This restaurant with the "Cuisine Nissarde" label is located between the Port and Riquier districts (restaurant open on Friday and Saturday evenings). Julie offers you home cooking with fresh and seasonal products. Taste the specialities of Nice: gnocchi, homemade Nice ravioli, daube with ceps, socca, grilled peppers, pissaladière...
Another suggestion: Lulu's Canteen. This small restaurant in the town centre, run by a master restaurateur, will serve you a menu according to the market of the day. You will absolutely have to taste the zucchini flower fritters, the small stuffed vegetables and the ratatouille and especially the stockfish on Fridays! Open from Monday to Friday evening.
It is by visiting another major market in Nice that you will start this beautiful day. The Liberation market, easily accessible on foot or by tram from the city centre, welcomes you from Tuesday to Sunday. In the lively morning atmosphere of this popular district, you will find fruit and vegetables, flowers, tasty fish as well as local producers: honey, cheese and oil... All the market gardeners will do their utmost to satisfy your desires and offer you their best products. Over the years, this historic market has become more and more trendy, and nowadays it occupies a real place in the life of the people of Nice, all the more so as many stalls offer local and organic produce.
On the Place de la Libération, within the listed building of the former railway station, last year saw the opening of the Gare du Sud gourmet hall. Enter the heart of this venue, which has been entirely converted into a temple of flavours. Under its large glass roof, behind its façade classified as a Historic Monument, a vast central room, tables to share and thirty or so stalls, all punctuated by exotic vegetation and bright yellow flat tints echoing the warm colours of old Nice... Choose between Japanese sushi or Indian curry or an American burger or oysters... and of course local recipes! All the flavours are on display at the counters. Indoor or outdoor tables... You have all the choices here! You simply feel like strolling around without eating? That's possible too! Free entrance from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to midnight (11pm in winter). Musical evenings are organized during the week.
Then push the discovery further as you leave the centre of Nice and head east towards a green hill to discover Domaine Lessatini. Between 150 and 450 meters of altitude and planted with 1200 olive trees enjoying an exceptional sunshine, this family estate produces quality oils. The estate and its shop are open from Monday to Saturday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm or by appointment. Closed on Sundays and public holidays.
If you still have a little time left before dinner, why not start a short walk that will whet your appetite? To the north of Nice, at the Canal de Gairaut, you can admire a superb panorama of the city and the Mediterranean.
Not far from the canal, you can sit down to dine inside l'Autobus! This address will also treat you to Nice cuisine such as stockfish, polenta or zucchini flower fritters. A favourite address where the serenity of the place and the love of local flavours perpetuate a perfect alliance.
Another suggestion: La Gaité Nallino, in the Cimiez district. You won't be disappointed there either. The chef puts the spotlight on the products from Nice: Stuffed vegetables, Niçois salad, peppers in oil, pissaladière, homemade gnocchi with ceps, warm octopus salad, ravioli... Tasty recipes typical of the County of Nice to be enjoyed in a bright room or on the pleasant private terrace.
This morning, head towards the Madeleine district to discover the Moulin Alziari, the last active mill in Nice! It has remained as it was when it was created and the last structural development dates back to 1933 with the switch to electricity...
Typical of Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil enchants salads, marinades, fish, barbecues and other seasonings. The visit will give you the opportunity to see how the local oil is made according to the so-called "Genoese" method, but also to taste the olives from the estate and its by-products such as black and green tapenades. The mill has a shop open all year round. Pretty and particularly well decorated containers and boxes will give you a sudden urge to make gifts to your family or yourself! The shop, with its retro charm, also offers olives in jars and bags, as well as a wide range of delicatessen products (condiments, spices, soups, honeys, jams etc...). It is open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 6pm. However, the last visit in the morning is at 11am and the afternoon visit at 5pm.
Then go to Castagniers, a small village in the hinterland of Nice. Discover its central square, the parish church of Saint-Michel and the contemporary works of art created by a local artist.
Time for lunch? The place is simply perfect to eat at Chez Michel. Taste the delicious local dishes such as daube niçoise, zucchini flower fritters, but also grilled garnished meats or cannelloni with daube sauce.
Are you full now? Confront the sin of gluttony in a Cistercian abbey! To get to the Abbey of Our Lady of Peace, leave the car and walk through the forest. At the end of the winding path, you will discover a Provencal-style abbey. Around it, mountains as far as the eye can see and olive trees on the hillside. Before leaving, a visit to the shop is a must, chocolate is the speciality, but other gourmet surprises await you...
It is then on the charming hill of Bellet that you will be able to make an unusual visit of the different vineyards that produce one of the oldest appellations contrôlées and work in organic, even bio dynamic, the three colours of wine. Between the sea and the mountains, the Bellet vineyard covers some fifty hectares at an altitude of between 200 and 300 metres on the western slopes of Nice. Go and meet a dozen or so winegrowers, each of the estates is very different, castles, residences, enclosed, farmhouses... What do they have in common? Love of wine and the quality of the product.
Today, let's head for the high country, in the valley of Vesubia! Take a breath of fresh air at Belvedere! Discover this village in the hinterland of Nice with its evocative name (it offers an incredible panorama of the valleys). Stroll through its narrow streets and admire the mountain scenery. Belvédère also invites you to travel back in time thanks, in particular, to its Milk Museum. In the centre of the village, this small museum space preciously preserves many traditional objects used for the production of milk and its by-products. Through them, discover the customs and trades of the pastoral life of yesteryear. Among the local specialities to be tasted in the village, the "brousse" is a reference, a tasty little cheese, accompanied by a good wine. Are you interested in visiting the Milk Museum? Go to the tourist information office at the entrance of the village.
To eat, the Relais des Merveilles will serve you a hearty meal, in a quiet setting with a magnificent view of the mountains, near a river.
Still at Belvédère, opt for an afternoon on the farm at "Des Abeilles et des Fruits"! Reconnect with the nourishing earth thanks to the products processed from honey by Jérôme, a beekeeper (nougat, gingerbread...) and by Elise whose fruit is grown organically and transformed on the spot into sorbets, jams, syrups, fruit paste, ...). Not only will you approach two fascinating jobs, but you will also be able to leave with local products with an unparalleled flavour. This farm has 200 beehives which are moved, as required, to the Alpes Maritimes departmental park and 2.5 hectares of land for the production of red fruit, arboriculture and market garden products.
Beer has also regained its letters of nobility... Initiate yourself to this thousand-year-old know-how by visiting the Brasserie du Comté in Saint-Martin-Vésubie. Here, the beer is artisanal, organic and made with spring water. Nestled in the mountains, the brewery reveals itself and the welcome is very friendly.
Another beautiful day begins... See you in the other valley, the Haute-Tinée valley!
At 850 m of altitude, Isola is a charming typical mountain village. Discover its historical heritage and its local culture such as its dairy museum, the houses and tools of the past or its grain mill. But above all, you must go to meet the chestnut, because the canéiculture (that's its name), was the main resource of the village. The Canal de la Châtaigneraie offers you a walk among the "breadfruit trees". Then make a detour to the grocery store to find the by-products: syrup, sweets, and of course the famous chestnut cream from the local processing workshop.
In the heart of this valley, the agro-pastoral activity is still present. Guardians of the tradition, some farms bring it up to date by making cheeses with character, made from cow or goat milk. Come and taste the local products but also discover life on the farm, during the milking of the animals or during the making of the cheese. A moment apart that everyone will remember.
La Vacherie de Chastillon welcomes you every day and offers you the sale of its cheeses made on the spot and those of the region. You will also find an appetizing grocery store with local products. Every evening at 6pm: milking and suckling of the calves. Opening hours: 9h30 - 13h / 15h - 20.
To spend a serene night in the mountains, we recommend La Maison Achillée, in Saint-Dalmas-le-Selvage. This 130 m2 duplex gite is suitable for families and adventurers in search of nature and calm.
You will also be on site to live, the next day, a new day ...
In the morning, after a peaceful night at the Maison Achillée, Kalice Brun, the owner, a local child and chef, offers you a day around gastronomy and aromatics. Passionate about medicinal and edible plants, she offers you brunches, lunches and local dinners, but also gourmet walks with wild cooking classes, or even cyclo-tours, for the more adventurous, to the Col de la Bonette, the highest pass in Europe. A simple way to relearn how to look around and take care of your food. You can also take home local products or follow one of her cooking classes (starter, main course, dessert) or go with her on a gastronomic tour of the Vallée de la Tinée with visits to farms and tastings. For this last activity, plan a full day.
On your way down, don't hesitate to stop at Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée, an authentic village with a cultural heritage worthy of interest: the church of Saint-Etienne with its bell tower dating from 1492 and its very old chapels and also the Traditions, Milk and School Museums.
Located in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, nature is everywhere you look...
Our suggestions for an itinerary Cuisine niçoise, art of living and local products end with this last proposal. But the Nice Côte d'Azur region is so rich in so many contrasts, traditions and activities... You won't have enough of a single stay to go round it all!
Discover more about the Cuisine Niçoise and the Cuisine Nissarde Label.
Photo credits: OTM NCA/ JM/ SJ / H.Lagarde / Métropole NCA/ Ville de Nice / Rosa Jackson / Christian Plumail / Des Abeilles et des Fruits / Maison Achillé Kalice Brun / La Gare du Sud / Hervé Favre / Maison Auer / Bière du Comté /