With a title like that, we couldn't pass up a short train ride to visit the Pain, Amour, & Chocolat festival this past weekend in Antibes. Organized in part by the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Nice, this three-day foodie love-fest saw participation from chocolatiers, patissiers, and cheese-producers alike...and that was just in the first tent!
And just who did we find in this magical tent draped in red, green, & white. Well, if you've got your flags in order, you'd be right to guess our dear friends to the north - artisanal producers from Piedmont, Italy.
Oh and what a welcome feeling to walk into a hall full of chatty Italians offering samples of salami (with truffles no less), cheese aged with Barolo wine, & slivers of dark chocolate - all in halting French with requisite breaks in Italian to shout orders to fathers, brothers, & other exceedingly busy family members - all tending to a very happy crowd of French, Italians, & English (& one very fortunate American).
We sampled, attempted to squeeze in some rusty Italian (mine sounding more like Italio-Franglais), and I must have circled the tables three or four times looking for more chocolate. (Hint: there was more bread & love then chocolate at this festival)
In fact, outside the Piedmont tent, there were two more rows of stalls exhibiting Italian specialties from Sicily, Umbria, & Genoa.
And let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've had one of those big, fat arancini rice balls from Sicily - stuffed with rice, cheese, and if you're lucky...sausage. Or eaten a hefty slab of foccacia bread from Genoa...or bitten into a chunk of well-aged parmesan.
Well, I think that paints a pretty clear picture of how our afternoon progressed, but gives less of an explanation of how we were able to fit in a very fine crepe lunch at the lovely La Creperie du Port after our first round at the festival. We did manage to find the motivation for a walk along the quay separating the port of Antibes from the sea - motivation in the shape of exquisite vistas of the town and peek-a-boo shots of the Mediterranean. Antibes is indeed a very beautiful place.
Maybe only one thing could call us back from those azure waters - a buffet of salted & cured meats. We finished the day where maybe only true lovers of Italian food can (or maybe just two people caving in to the enticing image of a pig holding a wine class) at the exuberant pork station of Il Divin Porcello.
And on that note, not much tops a day of noshing on quality French & Italian foodstuffs, except maybe a toast from a now dear friend - So from our Divin Procello to yours, here's wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!