Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Culture, Cuisine, and IAAPA in Nice in 2008!

Need a quick guide to Nice before you visit for IAAPA's Euro Attractions Show in January? Below, Amanda Charney, editor of FUNWORLD, has detailed much of what the city has to offer and gives suggestions on what to eat and where to visit during your time off from the show.

One of the best things about working for an international association is that we get to do our work in some exciting, sometimes exotic, places. Sure, there’s quite a bit of work involved, but the opportunities for fun and food are everywhere.

This year, I’m particularly excited about going to Nice, France, located right on the majestic French Riviera (for an extremely romantic reference to this amazing region, please see “To Catch a Thief”). As editor of our magazine, FUNWORLD, I will be covering the show for the magazine, as well as managing the photography and videography for the event.

When I’m not running around, taking notes, or writing in the press office, I will be diligently planning my meals and a few cultural experiences. Dining out is one of my favorite activities, and when I travel, that is priority No. 1—exploring the culinary delights and adventures that await me at my destination. In the case of Nice, traditional cuisine is a mix between Provençal and Italian. Just a few weeks before the trip, I'm looking forward to sipping café au lait, taking early morning walks along the water, and indulging in a painfully decadent meal at the day’s close. Here are some things I plan on doing. I hope you’ll join me.

Farmer’s Market
On the weekends, in the cours Saleya, vendors sell the best in cheese, honey, produce, and one poster on Chowhound.com even said there’s a “mushroom lady.”

35 rue Droite; +33/493805067
Every morning will involve a bowl of café au lait and a top-notch freshly baked pastry. Espuno gets high marks from Yahoo! Travel for its pisaladière (a savory onion tart popular in the region) and fougasse, a distinctive bread flavored with aniseed or orange blossom, or occasionally filled with bacon, olives, raisins, or nuts.

La Merenda
4 rue Raoul Bosio (formerly rue Terrasse)
For dinner, I’m most excited about this quirky, but well-liked, restaurant in the Old Town section. It boasts an excellent daube of beef (beef stew) with chick pea chips; a revelatory lemon tart, and excellent wine. The quirks might be hard for some travelers to get over: No phone, but reservations are a must—and should be done in person. No credit cards. But I get the feeling that if you’re looking for a simple, classic, perfect meal, you’ll soon forget the bizarre drawbacks. Here’s what Foodtourist.com had to say:

"What we are primarily looking for is good food that reflects the stated intentions of the owners. At Le Merenda we found exactly that. Perfectly cooked, honest food that used the best ingredients and reflected the soul of the cuisine of the region."

Chez Theresa
cours Saleya, +33/493850004, closed Monday
If you’re going for authenticity, one of the area’s signature dishes is socca, a pancake made with chickpea flour. The best, according to Time Out’s Nice guide, is here. Put a fried disc made from flour and egg in front of me, and I’m set.

Food shopping is also at its best in Nice. One Chowhounder suggested the following:

Alzieri, 4 rue Saint-François-de-Paul—buy the proprietary olive oil, tapenades, and lavender honey.

Confiserie Auer, 7 rue St-François-de-Paul—for ice cream and desserts, all steeped in a rococo wonderland.

Okay, let’s check out some culture. Try this on and see how you like them:

The Matisse Museum—see more than you’ve ever seen of this master fauvist.

Le cours Saleya—walk this traditional square and take in the flower market, the farmer’s market (mentioned above), as well as the great shopping and Nicois restaurants.

Le Palais de la Préfecture—this 18th century structure was formerly the royal palace for the governors and princes of Savoy when they visited Nice.

Le Jardin Albert 1—This is Nice’s oldest garden and boasts extensive greenery from the water to the hills. Here you’ll see the flowers and fountains at L’esplanade du Paillon.

For more on Nice, visit www.nicetourisme.com.

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