It’s the end of October, so before the Christmas chaos kicks in, Jamie and I decided to take a last minute break, and Nice seemed like the perfect place to grab some Winter sun. But at Whitmore & White we’re all foodies at heart, which means we can’t go anywhere without having a mooch around the local delis, bakeries and wine shops!
So a week (it already feels like longer!) we spent a lazy sunny morning walking around Nice old town. A beautiful part of the French Riviera, the old town is a tangle of narrow streets, multi-coloured shuttered buildings and a multitude of little shops, cafes and bars tucked down every alley.
First on the agenda was breakfast, and in France that means pastries! We found a perfect little boulangerie on Rue Massena, and started the day with good strong coffee and freshly baked Pain au Chocolat. Chez Maitre Pierre has an array of beautiful cakes, filled baguettes and bagels, as well as a constant stream of fresh baked pastries coming out from the back. We sat at a little table on the pavement outside and watched the world go by, if there’s a better way to start a day in Nice, I don’t know what it is!
After breakfast we took a walk over to the old town. Starting at the northern side, we headed into a narrow alleyway and happened upon Olio Donato a beautiful little French deli on Rue de la Boucherie. The first thing that’s hits you when you walk through the door of this place is the rich smell of truffles – and it’s no wonder given that they stock everything from truffle oil to truffle honey. This little gourmet grocer is perfectly French, with a little bit of Italy thrown in for good measure!
A little further along, on Rue de Collet, we discovered another little piece of foodie heaven in the form of Le Comptoir de Mathilde. Billed as a Chocolaterie & Epicerie, they stock a delicious range of savoury sauces and pates, and of course CHOCOLATE! After much deliberation, we decided on a bar of Blonde Chocolate with Fleur de Sel – it didn’t last long!!! If that wasn’t enough, you can also bottle your own cocktails here – that’s an idea I think we need to steal!!!
This part of town is obviously a little haven for food lovers, as directly opposite the chocolate shop is a lovely little wine shop (chocolate and wine, think they’ve nailed it here!). La Cave de Stephane is small, but perfectly formed, with a great range of French wines and spirits. Given the location, there is a big selection of Provence Rosé, but the rest of France is well covered too. We treated ourselves to a bottle of Saint Julien Chateau Talbot – something to enjoy back on the balcony at the hotel later whilst looking out over the Med!
Ambling down through the winding streets of the old town we were stopped in our tracks by a gorgeous little Patisserie – one of those places with the kind of window display that just seems to pull you through the door! LAC is a contemporary French Patisserie and Choclaterie, with a beautiful range of perfectly formed cakes, and handmade chocolates. After much deliberation, we settled on a Tarte au Framboise and a rich chocolate praline dessert. Both delicious, and very quickly devoured.
The last stop on our little tour was the Flower Market on Cours Saleya, the heart of the old town. There is a fresh market of flowers, fruit and veg, fish and bread here every day except Monday (when there is an equally charming antiques market instead). We wandered the stalls for a good hour. At the far end of the market we spotted something we recognised - a shop dedicated to the beautiful olive oils of A L'Olivier. We stock a range of these fabulous French artisan oils in store and online, but here was an array of new and interesting looking delights, all based on olive oil. I get a feeling our range may be increasing fairly soon!
By now it was midday, which meant it was clearly time for a cold beer! The market is lined with restaurants and bars, the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the unique atmosphere of Nice, and do a little people watching. Nice, we love you, and we’ll be back soon!
See you soon