|The abundance of fresh food in France|
To get to Nice, the first destination of our trip, we took a train which brought us to the border between Italy and France. As it was Ferragosto ànd lunchtime, we (my husband and I) decided to have a break and enjoy the last bit of Italian food. But we were not the only ones with this idea. Ventimiglia was full of people – half of them Italian, half of them French – that were looking for some place to eat. We stopped in the restaurant called Pasta e Pizza and enjoyed a light Italian lunch. Apparently the place was appreciated also by ‘the neighbours’, as the French were numerous. Not strange if you consider that the prices on the Italian side are more convenient than the ones on the more beautiful but expensive Côte d’Azur.
Before heading to a campsite, we spent two nights in a room rented via AirBnB. Being hosted meant that we were ‘convicted’ to eat out of the house. And for those who are not used to the French kitchen, it was quiet a task to find a place that offers local food: it seemed the city was invaded by pizzeria. After strolling around for an hour or so, we finally hit what seemed the right spot in a small street in the old town. It turned out we were right as after two hours we left our table very satisfied having eaten a good plate of fish accompanied by tasty boiled potatoes, haricots verts and a whole lot of garlic. I did not know this was so popular in this country….
The days passed fast and before we knew we were on a camping in the cosy village of Eygalières. After a good experience with the bread and croissant delivered to us by the owner of the campsite we put our tent on, the second day we decided to take the bike and head for the village ourselves. Wauw! Visiting this bakery is the best thing you can do to start your day in a good way. The assortment was exactly like we were used to find in the French Bakery Michel which we visited regularly in The Hague: pains de campagne, baguette, pain au levain, croissants, millefoglie……. Would it be possible to taste it all? (The answer is no. After a few days of delicious but heavy croissants, I even decided to skip a day. But it was all sooooo good!)
Having a butcher in the village which seems to have a complete assortment, we decided to head there one afternoon and left the shop with 45 euros worth of meat. You can imagine that even though we were in four, we didn’t finish it all during that one evening. But all in all, the most important thing was that the quality of the meat was very good (that’s maybe where the cost counted for) and the that we had another good French food experience to remember.
The holidays got to an end sooner than we wanted, making long walks in the hills of the Parc des Alpilles, buying local products of the farmers of the Provence (Gorges du Verdon area), enjoying the lac St. Croix, ate delicious fresh goat cheeses, enjoyed the night sky’s full of stars, had figs freshly picked from the trees and so on. Just before heading back to Milan, we decided to treat ourselves one more time on a real French lunch and not in the least place: Antibes, the neighbouring town of the famous village of Cannes. Almost contrary to expectation we had a very good lunch (I fell in love with the French fries, which they don’t make that well in Italy) for a decent price in a top location.
All in all I love to think back of many positive food French experiences. To many this might be obvious (it is generally accepted that the ‘French cuisine’ is perfect) but I needed this trip to be convinced. Together with the nice landscapes, sunny days and good people France might enter in an not-yet-existing-list of countries I might want to live in.