Nice

socca, pizza, pissaladiere, wine

If there’s anything nicer than taking a break and heading to the south of France, I can’t imagine what it could be right now. My first day in Nice, we ran from socca stand to socca stand, tasting as many as we could. Fortified, we hit the wonderful market in the old part of town to select our fixings for a lovely dinner.

socca

The way of life down here, and the cooking, are a world away from Paris. Generous bunches of basil find their way into pistou, which we pounded in the mortar and pestle until almost smooth.


Afterwards, it was stirred into a fresh vegetable-laced soupe au pistou. The locals told me it was traditional to stir it in very well, but I couldn’t bear to since there’s nothing better than big spoonfuls of that bold garlicky basil and pine nut sauce. I can never get enough pistou and it’s figured into every meal I’ve had here, somehow.

pistou

Dessert was baked apricots and sour cherries with a few drips of plum kernel oil and chestnut honey. I added a sprig of lavender only because the fragrant and colorful bushes outside the door were begging to be used in something. It was paired with a incredibly fresh brousse; a fresh, soft Corsican cheese. I was surprised we still had room after the obligatory stop at Fennochio for some ice cream on the way home. I’m heading back later in the week to meet with the ice cream maker and I can’t wait.

rose

No trip to Provence—or anywhere in France—is complete without sampling the local wines. Rosé is the wine of choice around here.

And I’m happy to oblige.

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24 comments

  • June 14, 2008 2:56pm

    I’m so glad that somebody is enjoying all this for me until I can get there. Vicarious living isn’t so bad…

  • June 14, 2008 3:20pm

    Gorgeous! Delicious! Off to Google socca.

  • June 14, 2008 4:01pm

    I’m about the same color as the mint in this wonderful mojito I had made for myself in advance to reading your latest blog entry. Mint green with envy that is. Sounds lovely everything you are doing and eating. Can’t tell you how I’m wishing, wishing with Dorothy-like fervor that my Houston would morph into your Nice. Enjoy yourself and in the meantime, I’ll read and weep.

  • Cindy
    June 14, 2008 4:49pm

    Love that rose from the south of France. It’s so refreshing.

  • June 14, 2008 5:50pm

    ohhhhh je meurs de jalousie….seriously, i could eat your picture with a spoon, the pistou looks so good. i wish i were there!!!

  • Lu
    June 14, 2008 6:30pm

    Since I won’t be in the South of France till next year (yay!), I guess I’ll be going here very soon!

    http://www.soccachicago.com

    Thanks for the always great photos!

  • June 14, 2008 7:19pm

    That is certainly a Nice way to spend a weekend.

  • José
    June 14, 2008 11:28pm

    Musee Chagall

    Must go!!!!!

  • June 15, 2008 5:54am

    That last picture — the almost finished glass of rose, the paper, the reading glasses, the tray and the landscape beyond — captures everything that’s wonderful about having a quiet moment. It’s a picture to make you dream – not that soupe au pistou and socca can’t make you dream.

  • June 15, 2008 8:14am

    Sounds like you’re having a fantastic time, David – look forward to reading more about the trip. kxx

  • June 15, 2008 12:23pm

    That last picture is just gorgeous. Now I’m off to google socca…

  • June 15, 2008 5:11pm

    That picture with the glass of rose does really capture it all. I wish the dollar were stronger; we’d be there right this minute if it were . . .

  • June 16, 2008 8:32am

    My mother comes from that part of France, she group during the war and told me about the hardships yet the serenity of the Var region in a small village. After the war she moved back to Nice and used to trade in her bus fare for some food and one favorite was socca! Thanks David and enjoy, my friend a young French baker named Vincent is just around that are now, listen to his interview about bread!

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  • June 16, 2008 11:08am

    Looks like a fabuluos trip!! My hubby and I visited Paris last year! I can’t wait to go back! Enjoy!!

  • June 16, 2008 1:52pm

    That last picture did me in – I felt transported, even if just for a few moments…

  • sara
    June 16, 2008 2:24pm

    Ahhh… looks wonderful. I’ve read you for many months, but haven’t posted until now! We’re coming to Nice (and Avignon/St. Remy) in July. Any restaurants you’d care to recommend?
    Merci bien!!

  • Ms B
    June 16, 2008 7:02pm

    In Nice, I highly recommend La Meranda on the Rue de la Terrasse. No phone . . . if you want to reserve, wait until the chef’s bicycle is out front and walk in and ask for a time. As I understand it, the chef used to be at Palme d’Or and tired of the fancy restaurant scene, so he opened this little gem. Very fresh and authentic food, although a bit cozy at table. I loved the stuffed anchovies and the ox-tail soup.

    Also, if you are motoring around the South, I loved the Relais Sainte-Victoire on the edge of Beaurecueil. The Mont Sainte-Victoire really does look just like the Gaugin paintings! The best parts were a “spring soup” with lamb, fiddleheads, and spring vegetables and the post-dessert that consisted of a two-foot tall jar of meringue cookies that were to be crumbled into a strawberry soup. Worth the drive and wear your expandable pants!!!

  • June 16, 2008 7:11pm

    The end picture sums it up, perfectly composed.

    I think I shall have to open a bottle of Rosé immediately.

  • June 16, 2008 7:56pm

    Dear David, about the time you must have been in Nice, I was introducing myself to your copain Regis the salt-seller at the Bastille market. I’d bought from him before but hadn’t made the connection. When I asked about you he grinned hugely and tossed in an extra sachet of sel melange, so you must be doing good for his business!

  • June 17, 2008 10:08am

    that last photo is exactly where i’d like to be sitting right now.

  • June 17, 2008 12:53pm

    It all looks delicious. What’s the difference between pistou and pesto?

  • June 17, 2008 1:21pm

    Dragon: Pistou, generally speaking, doesn’t usually have cheese or nuts added where most pesto does. Although there’s exceptions and I’ve seen pistou with and without cheese. But I’ve never seen it with nuts.

    Marya: Glad you got some great salt while in Paris. And glad you liked Régis-most women do! ; )

    Anna: Actually, I’m sitting there right now (except I have my computer with me, which isn’t so photogenic.)

  • June 18, 2008 8:03pm

    David, I’m so excited you posted about Nice! I’m moving there in September and other than Rosa Jackson, I haven’t heard of too many foodies experiences there. Can’t wait to try the socca and pistou myself!

  • annette
    July 1, 2008 2:34am

    just came back from nice and brought some “touristy” sals from the market. don’t know what to do with them yet though.