|An Artisian Bakery|
The hunt for the perfect place to satisfy the growing hunger pangs was accentuated with the aroma of baking while strolling on the cobbled streets of the Old Town( Vieux), in Nice. The small streams of visitors were slowly heading in the direction of the Flower Market, a major draw. The surroundings looked like an Indian bride decked up in the finest. Buntings, hoardings, and images of Santa Claus adorned the marketplace, as it was Christmas time. Then we spotted one place that had a pull of the magnet, I had not experienced for a long time. It was a tiny Patisserie with a small crowd inside. The sight with an inset of all hues of pies, pastries, bread and croissants left me gaping like a child. For next couple of minutes, it was one of the most difficult decisions to choose from the offerings of Tart Au Citron( Lemon Tart), Tart aux Pommes( Apple Tart), more.Tart aux Myrtilles( Blueberry tart) and more.Even the most hardened dieter would melt at the sight of these!
We finally homed on the Tart au Citron and Tart aux Pommes with a steaming hot latte, and a topping of chocolate. The months of exercising, yoga and weight watching, was tossed out of the window as I merrily dug into the crust of the pie. The contents melted in the mouth with a flavor lingering, till the next bite came. Rarely, one gets a treat like this!
Tarts are one of the French’s favorite desserts. Many households keep the recipes a well-guarded secret. The fillings vary from region to region of the country. Those from Lorriane swear by the Mirabelle tart while in the Normandy region, the locals swear by the apple tart. It is an integral part of the regional heritage. In the Vosges, the abundance of blue berries that grow in wilderness is a favorite. Likewise the Lorianne region boasts of the finest Mirabelles.(cherry plums, almost 80% of the global commercial production is done here). Menton, is the only place in France where lemons grow and thus Tart au Citron is the specialty of the region. The list is almost endless and each of these delicacies deserves a separate post to describe it.
Cote de Azure also boasts of one of the best Boulangeries (bakeries) anywhere in the world. A visit to at least some of them is an absolute must. The most famous ones in the region are Boulangerie du palais, La Baguette Magique, Serrain Cappa(all in Nice), Patisserie Cottard in Antibes and Sapore di Pane in Cannes make breads that makes one drool. Their presentation is as beautiful as the places where these are located.Whether hungry or not just the sight is so tempting that it is difficult to resist.
|Artisians at work in Cannes|
The ‘French Stick’, the long thin crusty loaf, is perhaps the best icon of the French life. Baguette- literally means ‘a stick’ and is the most popular bread in France. The golden brown crust and the lattice pattern on the underneath makes this bread stand out. The other kinds of popular breads are Couronne( bread in a circular ring from), Flute( twice the size of Baguette), Batard(a half-length normal loaf), Ficelle( a thin loaf),and Brioche( a sweet bread) are just a few of the popular ones besides a dozen more offerings. These make an excellent treat for a picnic anywhere, while traveling in the region. They are extremely delicious and must be eaten when fresh.
|Spoilt for choices of bread- A bakery in Cannes|
For those traveling in the region, it is necessary to know that most of these boulangeries close around 1230 am for two hours or more, and by evening most of the fresh produce runs out of the shelf. So to avoid disappointment, be an early bird to pick and choose the best.