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Monday, February 14, 2011

Bread, Love & Chocolate in Antibes


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!

16 comments:

  1. Too bad about the chocolate but arancini...yumm!

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  2. Everything. looks. so. good! Why doesn't this exist in Verdun!??

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  3. This looks like so much fun. That cheese looks divine, and I completely agree with you about aranicini. On my very first trip to Europe & France (in 1997)I stayed in Antibes. Although, I loved it there, I haven't been back since....ahh to go back during this festival would be a food lover's dream. Hope you're having a fabulous Valentine's Day!

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  4. Maybe it is a good thing I leave Europe every few months and detox. Keep enjoying your fabu food culture over there - and posting the food porn! Hugs!

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  5. OMG The cheese! The CHEESE! *swoon*

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  6. Tanya, I know, funny about the chocolate..means I'll just have to go out & buy some, lol.

    Brenna, come see us in PACA, always a good fete about.

    Kathy, thanks for the V-day wishes, was a great one - cooking at home (chicken with peppers - Roman style!) Antibes is definitely worth a return visit.

    Valerie & Jennifer, glad you like the food photos :) Yep, hard to go wrong with big slabs of cheese & salami, yum.

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  7. YUM! I wish I'd known about it - I would have made the trip! There is the Culinary Festival coming up in Toulon and I hope I can go and sample the deliciousness. This looks absolutely wonderful and your pictures are great! And I love the mix of Italian you can find throughout the French Riviera. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Cheese aged with Barolo wine... HEAVEN!
    Your photos are amazing as always :-)

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  9. How deliciously fantastic, Tuula!!! I love this. :-) What a perfect day out. :-) You made me smile today.

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  10. Whaqt a lot to sample sample sample!
    I'd have wooed the Italians into giving me more...they love to meet fellow compatriots when abroad. Great photos!

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  11. The fact that I became so hungry after reading your article is a proof that you did a good job :) Your blog got a new fan :) Greetings from Croatia!

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  12. Did you try the barolo cheese? It looks so good!And crepes for lunch? I've got to get over there. period.

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  13. Thanks for the kind comments!

    Stephanie, hope you can make it to Toulon for the food festival, always a great reason to travel :)

    The cheese was fantastic, Sara, even given the fact we're living in the land of great cheese!

    Scintilla, It's true, the Italians are quite a generous lot -especially with food (thankfully!)

    Mislav, yay, glad you like the blog, welcome :)

    Nicole, we didn't sample the barolo cheese, but plenty of others - including fresh goat cheese (pecorino) from Piedmont, Italy.

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  14. This festival reminds me of the one I went to in Mogliano near Venice! The barolo cheese looks amazing. It would have been my weakness! :)

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  15. Adoro Antibes, uno dei posti più belli del mondo

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  16. I am sad to have missed the Chocolate Festival in Antibes this year, but will certainly catch it next year! From the pictures, the festival looks like a gourmands slice of heaven! Between the cheeses, the breads, the pastries and the chocolate how can one resist!

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