Cuisine is the lifeblood of the Cote d’Azur, merging French and Italian with lashings of Mediterranean sunshine. Dine out in style, look out for seasonal market produce or try and island wine tasting.
Autumn is a great season for dining along the coast as restaurants broaden their seasonal menus. If you’re after something extra special, the Côte d’Azur added three extra stars to its Michelin collection in 2018: a first for Christophe Martin of Lou Cigalon in Valbonne, and second stars for the Tourteaux brothers of Flaveur in Nice and for Bruno Cirino of Hostellerie Jérôme in La Turbie.
Find out more on Michelin-starred restaurants on the Côte d'Azur.
It’s also worth looking out for restaurants with the ‘Maîtres-Restaurateurs’ quality label, where you can enjoy the creativity of other top chefs who produce authentic cuisine using local season produce. View the list of restaurants here. (French only)
Autumn produce at the market
Nice’s Cours Saleya boasts one of the best markets on the Côte d’Azur, a feast for the senses whatever time of year you visit. In addition to the fruit and vegetables of the summer months, look out now for apples and pears from the Hautes-Alpes, and chestnuts from the forests. Closer to Christmas, you’ll find bags of mendiants (chocolate discs stippled with dried fruit and nuts) which make ideal take-home gifts.
Wine on Île Saint-Honorat
Just 20 minutes from Cannes by boat, Île Saint-Honorat feels a whole world away from the buzz of the mainland, existing within the peaceful spirituality of a community of Cistercian monks. It’s not accessible to cars, bicycles or scooters and makes a wonderful getaway for walks and swimming – but also for tasting and buying wine, produced by the monks from the island’s 20 acres of vines.
Seven wines (three white, four red) are made here, all named after saints; the most highly regarded is Saint Sauveur (a blend of syrah and mourvèdre). There are also citrus trees and a herb garden to wander through, which provide the ingredients for a range of delicious liqueurs. All drinks are available to purchase from the monastery gift shop.
The Comté de Nice is also renowned for its wines, which are among some of the best crus in Provence.
Find out more on Côte d'Azur's vineyards.
Olives & olive oil
Olive oil is without doubt the Côte d’Azur’s most treasured and widely used ingredient, featuring in almost everything from salads, sauces and meat marinades to breads and beauty products.
Alpes-Maritimes is home to the Cailletier variety of olive, producing a mild and fruity oil following the harvest in late October. They have ‘AOP Olive de Nice’ status and the oil from this appellation is particularly highly regarded, with demand outweighing supply. Browse vast bowls of gleaming olives at any of the Côte d’Azur’s markets – some stuffed with garlic, chilli, anchovies or almonds, others sprinkled with herbs – and the stallholders will gladly give you a sample to taste. Or visit one of the area’s olive oil mills to learn more about its production.
- Socca – a chickpea pancake typically eaten plain with a liberal sprinkling of black pepper
- Pissaladière – a tart or pizza made with onions and anchovies
- Salade Niçoise – a popular salad with tuna, hard-boiled eggs, green beans, anchovies and olives
- Pan bagnat – the ‘sandwich’ version of a salade Niçoise!
- Légumes farcis – tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines or squash stuffed with sausage meat (or any other leftovers) and oven baked.
Find out more on flavours and gastronomy on the Côte d'Azur.
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