Fenocchio Ice Cream

2 ice creams

Every time I go to Provence and the Côte d’Azur, I keep remembering that I want to share Fenocchio ice cream with you. But I’m not all that good at sharing, when it comes to ice cream, so I hope you’ll forgive me for keeping this all to myself for a while. But after tasting more than my share of their ice cream down in Vieux Nice, the old part of the city of Nice, I summoned up the courage to ask if I could step behind the counter and into the kitchen for a look behind the most famous ice cream maker of the region for a little bit of a look, and a few licks.

chocolate ice cream makers

Fenocchio is a family-owner and operated business that has been making ice cream since 1966, and their production facility is up on the hill in La Gaude, overlooking the Mediterranean. So to get up there, you’ll have to take a bit of a drive up a few rather steep roads.

ice cream machine ice cream in Nice

When I asked Monsieur Fenocchio how many flavors he made, he replied, “I don’t know!” Which I thought was funny, until I passed the reams of lists written on the walls of a long hallway and tried to read them all for myself. Although I didn’t stop and count, their website says they have 94 flavors. But it sure looked like more to me.

ice cream flavors at Fennochio

For those of you who don’t speak French, and even for those who do, you might not be familiar with some of these flavors—especially when you’re thinking about ice cream!

ice cream flavors at Fennochio fenocchio

Yes, that’s right. Les blettes are Swiss chard, which finds their way into a famous barely sweet tart from Nice that’s got chewy raisins, stewed greens, and nuts in it. (I love it, but I’ll concede it isn’t for everyone.) M&M’s don’t need any introduction, but calissons are the pointed oval-like candies made of almond paste and candied melon syrup, which is another specialty of Provence. Then there are cactus, violet, lemon verbena, guava, capuccino, beer, lavender, riz au lait (rice pudding), maple-pecan, rosemary, and pain d’épices (spice bread) ice creams and sorbets.

ice cream maker

When I noticed that they also had a particularly interesting selection of ice creams based on classic French candies, such as Bounty (chocolate-coconut—j’adore!), Kinder, and even bubble gum (I passed on that one…), I asked why he chose to use popular candy flavors. “Because we want to please the children, as well as the adults”, which reminded me of being in Italy where some of the gelaterias make two versions of pistachio gelato; one bright green, for the kids, and one left ‘natural’, for grown-ups.

candied fruits ice cream flavors at Fennochio

As much as I’d like to reclaim my inner child, I tend to be a bit repetitive when it comes to ice cream and always order a variation on the same basic themes: chocolate, coffee, coconut, and, of course, anything caramelized.

I did have a scoop of Bounty, which was like eating a dark chocolate-enrobed bar of coconut, which gave me a bit of nostalgia for a Mounds bar. And just thinking of it again, right now, makes me glad they’re not going on strike tomorrow, like the rest of France.

ice cream containers tutti frutti ice cream

Even though I was entirely smitten with the coconut-chocolate combo, I wasn’t swayed enough to not make me order a creamy-sweet scoop of confiture de lait, the French version of dulce de leche, again. Boy, was that good!

stirring confiture de lait confiture de lait

As the chefs were stirring and stirring the thickly-rich caramelized milk, creating sweet amber ribbons, ready to ripple and swirl into ice cream, I knew that was exactly what I was going to have when I stepped out of the factory and into the blazing sun of Provence, after stripping off our paper hats and chef’s jackets.

confiture de lait ice cream lavender ice cream

And truly, the confiture de lait ice cream was exceptional; beautifully gooey, with lots of slippery-sweet caramel melting into the ice-cold vanilla custard. The plans for the rest of the week call for a bit of rain. But since the folks at Fenocchio are heading to work tomorrow, well…I guess it’s my duty to show up as well.



Fenocchio
2, place Rossetti (Old Nice)
and
6, rue de la Poissonerie (Old Nice)

There is also a shop at the factory, 1176 route de St Laurent du Var, in La Gaude


Related Links

Grom

Molto Gelato in Bologna

Gelato in Rome

What is gelato?

Merce and the Muse, and Mary

Ici

Paris Ice Cream Shops

61 comments

  • My favorite place in my current “hometown”. Yum. Try yogurt with red fruit! It’s my fav!

  • whenever we’re in nice, to fenocchio we go ! and patiently wait in line behind the crowds that are always pointing at all the surprising flavors. i always shy away from the tomato and basil and other such creations, hard to resist anything coffee flavored for me. but i’m already ready to order the next time i’m there. coffee… and confiture de lait.

  • Oh, my. This isn’t helping my craving for your salted-caramel ice cream. I guess I really do have to send James to the store for milk and cream. Oh, and vanilla. How did I manage to run out of vanilla?

  • Oh no! It’s in Nice! Man, if the ice cream is half as good as your photos…

  • The Bounty flavor sounds perfect to me. I can’t get enough coconut, especially in the form of ice cream. I would even give swiss chard a try even though is sounds like it is in the wrong place. Fenocchio’s sounds like it is worth a trip across the ocean for.

  • Oh WOW! David, you’re here in my neck of the woods!! I LOVE Fenocchio’s! Thanks for sharing the “behind the scenes”. Can’t wait to see what/where else you eat while here! Bon appetit!

  • As always love your post…
    Who doesn’t like a good ice cream, I really love them and because I’m in Mexico I love the “nieve de garrafa” in all the flavours possible, like chocolate mexicano or coconut, lemon etc etc etc…
    You make me go to buy one right now….Damnnnn…

    Saludos

  • Hi David,
    Bounty chocolate bars, although not made with dark chocolate are one of my favourites.I can just imagine what they would be like in ice cream.
    I was browsing Amazon.ca and they have your ” Room for Dessert” (used) for 194.00$.I believe you mentioned once that it was out of print so if anyone is interested, they have 4 used copies in stock.The cheapest copy is 108.00$.And the rave reviews make me want to buy it even at those prices.

  • I love your posts. I am now heading to bed (in rainy Paris though …) and I am sure I will have sweet dreams

  • David, you are bringing back fabulous memories of vacations in Nice. Love Fenocchio in the evening with a big cup of gelato. September is my favorite time of year in Nice. Oh, I want to go back NOW.

  • Hi David –
    We were there, back in May. At the beginning of our summer…. seems like a lifetime ago. I’m trying to remember what exactly I ordered. I remember getting thyme, which was good, but for the life of me can’t remember the other flavors. Maybe pepper?
    Anyway… I really liked Nice, in any case. Lots of ice cream, I liked the socca as well. Couldn’t find any panisses, alas.

    Don’t know if you know this, but the term “Bounty” can be used as a sort of racial epithet in France, with pretty much exactly the same meaning that “Oreo” has in the U.S. So I always find it strange, reading about the actual candy bar (which I never eat, not for any sort of PC reasons, just because I don’t like coconut).

  • As soon as I saw the Tutti flavor I immediately had a premonition about Little Richard

    But I digress, that is some damn fine looking ice cream my good sir

  • Holy moly that ice cream looks DIVINE! I want to try the Bounty as well – this is going on my already long “to do” list for when I finally make it to France!

  • I love the wild variety of flavors. Why are we so restricted by our own imaginations when it comes to the ice cream we make at home?

    There is a small town in Mexico, called Dolores Hidalgo, which may prove every bit as imaginative as Fenocchio. Their more unusual flavors include chicharrones (fried pork skin), corn, avocado, cactus fruit, tuna fish, alfalfa (a brilliant green), pulque (a drink fermented from the maguey plant), even mole, the chocolate/chile blend.

  • It’s a long way from Australia to France, but I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice now. I can see me making a detour to Nice next time. How fantastic does Fenocchio look? I’d love trying some of the more unusual flavours, but confiture de lait, pain d’epice and Bounty would be an excellent starter. On our recent trip to Paris, the only French that my 9 year old son managed to master was the flavour boards at Berthillon, a trip to Fenocchio would be a wonderful extension for him (and his mother).

  • I love Bounty especially the dark chocolate ones. But I can only get them in Canada. Do they make Lion ice cream too? I would die!!! :)

    All those other flavors look lovely as well. Is it absurd to plan a trip around ice cream? I might just have to do just that!

  • You know what you caused tonight in lil ol’ Brooklyn? I’m making Nutella ice cream as I type this. It’s churning in the ice cream machine. I miss Fenocchio!! I still remember their vanilla pink peppercorn ice cream, and their violette and lavande ice cream like it was yesterday.

  • I have had ice cream and gelato in the South of France on several occasions, but I am not sure if I have had this particular ice cream. The list of flavors is pretty spectacular (whether I can read them or not!). I am with you and might have to go for a scoop of confiture de lait when I am fortunate enough to be in this part of the World again!

  • Hi David,
    I saw Lindsey and Charles at the Eat Real Festival last weekend and thought of you. They were too cute. Next time you are in Berkeley come and visit me, I am just next door to Mary at Ici at Summer Kitchen.
    http://www.summerkitchenbakeshop.com. I always love getting your blog posts!
    (By the way Charles only follows you and 3 other people on Twitter)
    Charlene

  • Yum! it all looks amazing and makes me want some kind of caramel ice cream now!! Not sure if it was the same ice cream place, but when i was in Nice we saw a place selling avocado flavour. So strange that I just couldn’t order it, but would be curious to taste!

  • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh………….. calisson and d’epice ice cream! Why oh why do I have “light” english toffee ice cream in my freezer at the moment?! It’s a travesty of fakeness compared to this wonderment you’re showing me…

  • I saw the Alderwood smoked salt on your “…liking now” column and was wondering if you have used that in ice cream? I’ve put it on my homemade chocolate dipped caramels (miam-miam!) so envision it might be good in a really deep chocolatey-flavored ice cream or a caramel-chocolate swirly one…Should I add the salt at the end of the churning period? Du conseil s.v.p.!

  • I’ll be in Nice next month – I’ll find Fenocchio and it’ll be confiture de lait and maybe a side of Bounty!

  • Um, oh my goodness! That confiture de lait looks so amazing I could lick my screen! When we lived in Villeneuve-Loubet, we used to head to Vieux-Nice some evenings just for a Fennochio fix, I wasn’t as lucky/courageux as you to get behind the scenes though.

  • Ah, Fenocchio… I went there on my first (and so far, only) trip to Nice seven years ago and I still dream about the ice cream. I had fig and rose – both worth trying!

  • I used to go to Fenocchio’s but now I prefer the gelateria on the courthouse square. Sure – it’s smaller, with a more limited range of flavors but I find the gelato a bit lighter less gooey. I also prefer the setting of the square – the bookinistes on the weekend and the choice of the courthouse steps or the fountain to enjoy my cone.

  • I fell in love with their tomato and basil ice cream many years ago. And with the lavender. And with the rosemary. Fenocchio is the highlight of any visit to Nice for me.It makes the commercial nightmare that the Vieux Nice has become bearable.

  • I went to Fenocchio last year for the first time and immediately craved the calisson ice cream. Then I spied Bounty and a fiery dispute took place in my mind. Calisson won, but now I’m wishing it had been a tie and I had gotten both!

  • I saw the word “Fenocchio” and instantly knew somebody had been to Nice. Good for you! And what beautiful shots. No trip to Nice is ever complete without me gorging on the “marrons glacé” ice cream at Fenocchio. And once in a while I’ll do lavender as well.
    Great post.
    Best,
    Michael

  • So many flavour pairings, so far away,
    so urgently necessary to order anyway!

    pretend pear + jasmine, svp

  • Michael, I’m with you on this – I read Fenocchio and immediately thought ‘marron glace ice cream’. What a great place!
    Sadly, I won’t be going to Nice for quite a while, but I can’t wait to try a new gelateria in London’s Soho tonight – Gelupo. As luck would have it one of their flavours today is chestnut and I’ll definitely try ricotta, coffee and honey (and as many more as I possibly can).
    David, I hope you had a great trip to the Cote d’Azur and will tell us about your other discoveries.

  • The confiture de lait looked amazing! And Bounty (which by the way also comes in a dark chocolat version these days. I has red in the wrapper instead of blue if that is any help – for Joan) is one of the very few childhood chocolate bars I still love…there used to be a gelateria near my house that made it, but I haven’t seen it or had it in years…may have to drive to Nice!

  • David, I come to the conclusion that you must have the best job ever, being able to travel, sample and go back stage as it were!

  • Just in time for my visit to Nice and the Côte d’Azur. merci beaucoup David!

  • I’ll bet they made you pay for the ice cream dishes you photographed!

  • Ich bien a frog.

    Bounty is English (Captain Bligh, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island) and Kinder is surprisingly, German.
    But I guess we are all European now.

  • Just as we were discussing our fall trip, and what little ‘adventure’ to undertake in France, you bring me this… Just might tip the scales in that direction. Talking the Hubby out of driving through Burgundy won’t be easy, but your pictures are going to go in my favor!

    Thanks, David!

  • Oh my god, just taking my car and drive to Nice !!!

  • This looks so divine! It really reminds me of the “Palais des Glaces” that was in Nice when I lived there, 32 years ago. Your post brings back wonderful memories. Thanks.

  • Have you sampled their coquelicot ice cream? I have never eaten poppies – wondering what it is like. It must be a gorgeous hue!

  • What incredible flavors! David, I’m with you on the chocolate, coffee, caramel, and coconut as my usual choices! But, at Fenocchio, I can see that I would be tempted by many more options.

    Your photos of the ‘creamy’ ice cream, which looks so luscious, suddenly brought back memories from long ago when I was a kid. My brothers and I would use our spoons to stir and stir our ice cream to soften it and make it ‘look just like that.’ Yet, for some reason we were always scolded “…not to PLAY with our food.”

    Why not? We always ate it with enjoyment! (In fact, it seemed to tasted better.) Grown-ups! hmmpf!

  • What a list! Am I mistaken, or did I see ‘biere’ on the first one? And the two menthe – one french and one swiss? (fr and ch.. ) or fraiche and something else?
    I am dying to go there, though I always judge from the same set of ice cream flavours, the classic ones, in the first place.
    When I already know a gelateria, I always end up according my taste to whatever the person I am with takes. I don’t have any personality in terms of icecream. The only flavour I really cannot stand is basil ice cream – I have a feeling of eating sweet pesto, eeek.

  • I was wondering, if you would be able to put the true subject in the subject line vs. repeating Tartlette? I only ask that as I love to file away all your blogs for the receipes and it means I have to open every single one until I find the receipe I am looking for.

    Thank you for such a wonderful blog and truly wonderful subjects!

    -Patti May

  • The last time I was in Nice I stopped at Fennochio’s and was amazed at the selection. I particularly enjoyed their romarin ( rosemary ) gelato. However, that was when France was still on the franc. Are those numbers next to the flavors the price in euros? If so, they seem rather steep and vary wildly!!!

  • You and your ice cream posts. You are evil. I’m stuck on coquelicot and choc-piment, personally.

    By the way, do you know what the red numbers mean? Not the prices, I hope!

  • I had totally forgotten about this place – it has been years since I was in Nice but now I remember the ice cream (peche for me). It was fantastic… I must go back. How did I get something as simple as peach when I could have tried beer ice cream? or cactus? Crazy!

  • There is a gelato shop in Denver and an ice cream shop in the burbs that make what I would at one time have considered a nice assortment of flavors but now after seeing this list? They suck!

    As much as I think I’m adventurous enough, I typically stay in one realm too. I remember that as a young girl the only ice cream I ever really wanted was Butter Brickle; a butter type ice cream with chunks of toffee. Some things never change. I can’t find it anywhere but give me vanilla, caramel, toffee…something along those lines and I’m happy.

    There is a great sandwich shop not far from here called The Crushery; it’s main fare is bagels and paninis. But my favorite reason for going? You decide the ingredients, they mix them in an ice cream base and then freeze them on the spot with liquid nitrogen. I must admit I’m in love with caramel, fleur de sel and graham cracker in a vanilla base…like I said some things never change!

  • margie + Tom: No, those aren’t the prices. I think they must be numbers that correspond somehow to the recipe or the production of the ice cream.

    Patti: I don’t understand, as this post is about an ice cream place, so I don’t know how else I would title the post. (And I checked over on Helen’s site and did not see a similar post.) Other suggestions welcome!

    Kate: I didn’t taste the poppy ice cream since I’m more of a chocolate/caramel/coffee kind guy. But they certainly have enough flavors to satisfy everyone, don’t they?

  • Another wonderful Provence ice cream shop with a fantastic hilltop view overlooking a valley with 40+ sumptuous and unusual flavors of ice cream and sorbet is L’Art Glacier in the Luberon. Check out their website.

  • It warms my heart to know that people like you get to do this for a living! It’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it!

  • I love that in France (and on Fenocchio’s list) area smattering of variations on the chocolate hazelnut combination: Rocher, Nutella… There’s nothing like a cone while strolling along La Croisette.

  • Next time you are in Nice give Arlequin a try. It is up Jean Medicin and their chocolate sorbetto are to die for. I dreamed of their gelato. I enjoyed Fenocchio too and all the flavors, but Arlequin stole my heart during our 2 month stay there.

    By the way – we love hearing of your travels. We miss Vence so much, from the socca guy to Les Baccanales – so fun to see your perspective on these places.

  • David, I have recieved your msg, thanks for your info and highly appreciated. :)

  • rfrancis, actually kinder is Italian! http://www.kindercioccolato.it/

  • I think Patti meant to comment on Helene’s site instead. I know because I’ve many times also wanted her to include the name of the posts in the title, it’s so hard to sort through bookmarked recipes otherwise.

  • Nutsaboutfood:
    Kinder Schokolade is indeed Italian and made by Ferrero, but strangely they first launched it in Germany in 1967 and gave it a German name (Kinder means children) and only introduced it in Italy a year later before going global. I grew up with the stuff and ate lots and lots of it and my favourites arestill the bags of individual little eggs. Yum!

  • Your sense of humor works for me as does your enthusiam for gelato. I will be in Rome in November and am looking for a fun 1-2 day cooking class. Any recommendations are appreciated. Grazie!

  • Hi Dave……..This has nothing to do with ice cream.. I want you to read about this fabulous market in NYC….

    http://gothamist.com/2010/09/08/eat_cetera_21.php?gallery0Pic=1#gallery

  • Andrea,
    thanks for interesting piece of info. I am actually half German and grew up thinking for some reason Nutella (Ferrero too) was German because in those days my Mom found it in a store in NY in German town. Then I moved to Italy and found out otherwise!

  • I used to believe that nothing can beat Italian gelato but this post is making me think twice! I had just moved to Paris exactly a year ago and so far, the only decent ice cream I’ve had around here is the one from Berthillon by any chance, is there a Fenocchio in Paris?

    And speaking of sweets, there is a new place that opened up in town which you may like as well. Check out:

    http://www.mybestaddressbook.com/en/mag/buzz/tea-by-the-paris-new-tea-bar

  • I have been to Nice a dozen times, but I never went to Fenocchio. And now I am sorely disappointed. I have noticed, though, that ice cream in France is always so much better than in the States. The sorbets taste more like actual fruit, the chocolate is richer, the coffee is smoother. Now I want French ice cream. And it’s 8 in the morning!