Just a self-trained home cook in an 8' x 12' kitchen honing his craft…

Archive for October, 2011

‘A’ is for adventures in good food

Admittedly, I took the title of the post directly from the name of my blog, but when I was perusing my photo archives to decide what to write about, there it was, my first adventure with good french food in Nice on the Côte d’Azur.

It was 11 years ago and while my french is not good now, belive me, it was extremely limited on that first journey to a mere ‘Oui, non, and merci.’ Now while that might seem rather limiting(and it is, trust me), it certainly didn’t prevent us from having a great adventure with good food. One of our first days there we visited the very famous Cours Saleya flower and food market.

Enticingly colorful!

Offerings from the nearby sea (and beyond).

As you can see from the photos, it was raining, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned in traveling, always have an umbrella at the ready!

There's always a few Brits in Nice...can you spot them here?

If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen(ette) in your hotel room, or have rented an apartment or nearby villa(which we usually do now if we’re staying on one city for at least a week), take your taste buds and let your eyes and nose lead the way. If you’re limited to a ‘normal’ hotel room, buy some fruit that only needs washing before consumption. Now, I will not travel, even for the day without a vegetable peeler, my opinel knife, a cork screw, bien sur!(tr. of course), and a couple of napkins. Yes, I have to carry these in my checked baggage or visit the nearest dime store upon arrival, but on more than one occasion, I hate to admit, I have had no choice but to push the wine cork into the bottle and drink directly from it, which by the way, the french locals didn’t bat an eye at, much to my amazement! It did none the less make me feel a bit like a well-dressed wino.

With your fresh fruit, a slab of cheese and a baguette, you have a picnic ready to go anywhere. How about a few minutes by the harbor while we lunch?

Now besides the thousands of raw food offerings, there are also slices of pizza and socca, honey, jams, soap and flowers. There are literally thousands of flowers.

Gorgeous floriferous display on shining pavement.

Once the cannon booms, the market begins to wind down until the next morning(every day except Monday when it’s an antique/flea market) and once the vendors are gone, the sanitation crew comes in, hoses the entire plaza and by 3:00, the restaurants fill the plaza with tables and you’d never know what had transpired that morning.

The beginning of the end. The yellow building is where Matisse once lived.

The beginning of the end. The yellow building is where Matisse once lived.

Please do take a few seconds and click on the photos to open them into their full size to appreciate and enjoy the marvelous colors. Hopefully you’ll even feel the warmth of the Riviera sun on your face and in your heart, if only for a second or two!

So the next time you find yourself in a foreign land where the language is not your native one, visit a market, even if it’s the corner grocery to have an adventure in good food. Some of our most memorable travel experiences with locals have come from these unexpected moments, where faced with a seemingly insurmountable language barrier, through a love of good food and with some discreet(and sometimes not so discreet) pointing and gesturing, we found a common thread.

Now isn’t that a real adventure in good food?

Toujours, bon appétit!
© Kyle A Nelson