Saturday, October 01, 2005

France: 3e Jour

Oh this will be a good one for all you foodies. Warning, graphics-intensive post.

The third day was our foray into Nice, a great big seaside town which is almost what most people think of when they picture the Riveria.

Nice Confiserie 2

Guess what those are, and guess where we stopped off first?

Nice Confiserie

Ah you'll never guess, you uneducated masses.

Those beautifully luminscent globes are candied oranges, from a confiserie in Nice. We were taken through their outlet, which was rather like Wonka's factory come to life, though with no chocolate. The end products were quite amazing, sweets and fruits and jams and all manner of sugary things made from basically fruits and petals of flowers. There were also some other interesting products being sold in their shop, such as chocolate coated coffee beans - good for chocoholics who need to keep awake during all night duties in army, rice krispies around a chocolate kernel and coated with a caramel glaze, and interesting melon syrups.

From thence, we moved to Cours Saleya, the street market of Nice. Now, I'd not seen a French outdoor market before, and I was really blown away by what I saw. Like us, many French choose to shop at the market rather than at the supermarket, for the same reasons (cheaper, fresher products, better service). Unlike our local wet markets though, French markets are actually a pleasure to shop at and just walk through. There's no smell, no wetness, and most importantly, no old women trying to shove you out of the way.

But the best thing was, of course, the food. The picture speak for themselves. Okay, maybe they don't, so I shall add comments.

Nice Cours Saleya 2

Fresh cepe mushrooms, which, if I'm not mistaken, is the same as the heavenly porcini. Strangely, fresh cepes are not as fragrant as you might imagine, even when cooked (more on that later).

Nice Cours Saleya 3

Baskets and baskets of mushrooms. We snagged some dried morels. While they were not particularly cheap, the fact that they're unavailable here made them somewhat more attractive.

Nice Cours Saleya 5

Amazing asparagus spears and what I think are baby radishes. Could be wrong about the second one though.

Nice Cours Saleya 6

French grocer looking strangely at my sister. Oh yeah, and check out the stuff he's selling. Gorgeous.

Nice Cours Saleya 9

All manner of candied delectables on sale here. The best part is that they all look healthy, or at least, like they won't give you cavities and disgusting gum disease.

Nice Cours Saleya 10

Bunches and bunches of garlic and chillis. French garlic, I have discovered, is curiously much stronger and more intense than our local garlic, and quite spicy to boot. Garlic back here is so tame it's almost bland. Our host was telling us how she brought kilos of garlic with her everytime she travelled to her house in the US, as the sniffer dogs, apparently, aren't trained to recognise garlic.

Nice Cours Saleya 12

There are no words that can adequately explain my state of mind upon seeing these tomatoes. If tomatoes were a religion, I'd have converted.

Nice Cours Saleya 14

Figs. Now how often do you see figs? How often do you see figs as juicy, as ripe, as succulent and as incredibly amylase-inducing as these?

Nice Cours Saleya 21

Now these are something special. Courgette flowers. I didn't even know courgettes had flowers, let alone floppy yellow things like that.

Nice Socca

Also in Cours Saleya, we had some socca, which is a great big pancake made of chickpea flour and olive oil. Surprisingly good for something made with such few ingredients.

Lunch was at an Italian place, which, while very good, seemed somewhat out of keeping with the French theme of this holiday, so I didn't bother with photos. It was very good though.

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