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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!


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

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

  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!

  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!

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

  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.

  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!

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

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

  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!

  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!

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

  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.

  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! :)

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

  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!