Before we left home on this trip, our good friends, M & M recommended that we book the Viator Foodie Tour in Nice. They had done it a year ago and said it gave them a good history of the area and its food, as well as taste sensations.
We booked the tour for the Tuesday after we arrived in Nice, thinking it would also give us some good ideas of what and where to eat. The cost for this 4 hour guided tour for 4 was $392.32 CAD.
On arriving in Nice (after the fiasco of no internet in Riomaggiore), I had more than 600 E-mails awaiting me, one of which advised that our tour could not find a guide for the Tuesday. We were soon rebooked for the Thursday, which defeated the whole purpose of learning all about the city.
Nonetheless, we showed up at 9:30 at the appointed meeting place on Quai des Etats-Unis, meeting the other 5 people who would be joining and shortly after, our guide, Samuel, who came bearing gifts. Food gifts. As he shared out pieces of sweet Tarte aux Blettes (swiss chard pie) and lemon squares, he explained that the French always started their day with sweet foods, before switching to savoury around lunch. He then took us to a nearby map of Old Nice and explained a bit about the history of the area.
Then, we were off to Cours Saleya and the market, where we walked by the various food stalls, as he explained the foods, gathering samples along the way.
We did not really pay attention to what he was gathering or even ask why, as he continued to offer us samples of sweets, including these delightful candied fruits and flowers.
In due course, we reached the end of the market and headed for Auer Chocolatier, a local institution since 1820. It has been said that they were once the French chocolatier to Queen Victoria. The store is all dressed up with Victorian display cases and chocolates, bonbons and candied fruits all displayed like the finest of jewels. Would there be samples? Yes there would, but as soon as my beloved asked about nuts, she was cut off immediately, because the store was afraid of causing an allergic reaction, even if the actual sample did not contain nuts. The more she tried to explain, the more she was denied. Sad Face.
Now finished with the chocolate shop, we headed back outside to review some of the architecture of the area.
On our way back to the market, we popped into Fete de la Sardine, a company which cans and sells all kinds of tinned fishies. Samples were available and surprisingly delicious, but too expensive to take home.
We accumulated a few more goodies in the market….
…before arriving at one stall, where a folding table was whipped out and quickly set up behind the stand. Samuel immediately began to set up a picnic of samples for us. I was tasked with slicing the dense Venison cognac sausage. The 10 of us dined on tidbits in fine style. At some points, tourists approached, thinking they could get free samples, but Samuel quickly told them to shoo, as this was a tour. Yay, Samuel.
After the dismantling of the picnic goodies, we were off to a wine store, where Samuel picked up a bottle each of white, rose and red wines for later. Oh boy, oh boy.
Wine in hand, we set off again, down the narrow lanes of Old Nice…
…before arriving at Al Taglio, a boutique pizzeria, where the “duff” was allowed to rise for 72 hours. Duff? Duff? Oh, rough, Tough, Enough, Dough. English is such a crazy language.
Onward, down the narrow street we went, touring a Baroque style church…
…before stopping at Chez Theresa for Socca (chickpea flat bread), pissaladiere (onion tart like a pizza) and some of the pizza from Al Taglio, all washed down with samples of all three wines. As we sat on folding chairs alongside the busy street, everyone juggling for shade in the noon day sun, we could not believe how much fun this was.
Wine and samples finished, we were soon back on the move…
…for a tour and tastings in an olive oil store. We were all given small samples of 3 different olive oils as well as lemon balsamic vinegar, black truffle mustard and lavender honey. OMG. We brought home some of the balsamic.
The tour was supposed to be 4 hours, but we were now almost at 5 hours and we knew all good things must come to an end. The end was yet to come and it was gelato. Wow, we were all so full, we did not know where we could put just one more bite, but strangely all found the room.
Gelato finished, Samuel said his fond farewells and left us to our own devices. What would we do? Perhaps a siesta to sleep it off?
I can not recommend this tour enough. If you are ever in Nice, or any other city for that matter, give the Foodie Tour a look.
Have you ever been on a Food Tour? If so, where and what was your experience?