The Cuisine of Nice

How the history and landscape shaped this unique French cuisine

Like in so many other places, the best way to understand Niçoise cuisine is to look at the special history of the city and its unique landscape.

The caves alongside these pebble beaches were inhabited nearly 400,000 years ago and this region has been witness to so many great civilizations throughout the ages. For much of its history Nice was not affiliated just with France but also Italy. After the fall of Rome, Nice was taken in as part of French Provence until the 13th Century when the Italian House of Savoy took it over. This near constant shift between these two enemy nations ended just after the fall of Napoleon. With the Treaty of Turin in 1860, the King of Sardinia agreed to finally give the county over to France. Nice had grown closer to France in language and culture and the vast majority of residents were happy to join. Years later Nice became the playground of the English elite. They came to vacation, brought their great fortunes, and built up the city of Nice to what we know it as today. Torn between these past identities that have all left their mark, Nice is an ancient city whose unique history and influences are all present in this relaxed Mediterranean dream destination.


The landscape of Nice made its traditional foods unique to the area. With a mediterranean climate there were certain foods that came to make up the Niçoise cuisine. The rocky sea's edge does not allow for the pastures needed to house dairy cows and so the keystone of French culture, cheese, is slightly different here. In order to get cheese the local animals needed enough room to graze and so the solution was fairly simple. The local cheeses heavily feature goat's milk instead of cow's and are very creamy in texture. The beaches do allow for plenty of access to the ocean and the land is not wholly barren and so fresh ingredients and fresh seafood make up the majority of Niçoise cuisine. While there are some larger fish on the markets, historically the Niçoise people liked to stay a little closer to the shore. This means that small fish and shellfish are ever present on their menus. A strong connection with Italy lies in the fact that olives and olive oil are the heart of Niçoise food instead of a more typical French butter. These cook nicely with their local produce which heavily features swiss chard, lemons, garlic, aubergines, tomatoes, but is not limited to them due to their well suited growing climate. The Niçoise cuisine is not heavy but light, refreshing, and flavorful.

Open air markets are the preferred shopping method and baskets are frequently sold all around Nice to carry your groceries. When you feel the need to shop or to explore you can head to the Provencal markets that sell anything ranging from antiques to local crafts, go to the flea markets located in Old Nice which generally appear once a month on a Sunday, explore the farmers' markets which offer every type of food and all of the local specialities, and the breathtaking flower market which is open all day should never be missed. You can buy ingredients or full meals with the many sellers, restaurants, and bars both located inside and just outside the markets. Picnics are a favorite and you'll never be eating alone in the many parks or along the beach. Consider buying Herbs de Provence from the many herb sellers and take time to smell the locally sourced lavender products.


The Local Specialties

Don't miss out on the food that is special to Nice. There is a perfect fusion between French and Mediterranean cuisine that is hard to find anywhere else.

Salade Niçoise

The classic and world renowned speciality! The basic salad is made up with a mesclun salad mix base with a dijon vinaigrette and can feature additions like tomatoes, anchovies, tuna, radish, onions, hard boiled eggs, and many other additions.

Pan Bagat

A portable salade Niçoise, most everything you'd find in the salad put in between two pieces of bread to make a delicious on the go sandwich.

Socca

A hearty and savory pancake made out of chickpea flour. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside it is the quintessential street food. It can be enjoyed on its own or enjoyed as a side.

Pissaladière

A kind of onion tart not dissimilar from pizza that can be topped with olives and anchovies. It is salty, flavorful, and a little tart and shows the flawless merging of French and Italian influences. It is common all over Nice and can be bought very cheaply.

Ratatouille

Before it was made famous, Ratatouille originated in Provence and Nice. The mixture of eggplants, tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs is a popular side dish.

Tourte de Blettes

This dish is very specific to Nice, can be bought at every bakery incredibly cheap, and should not be missed. Similar to Baklava but instead of a honey sweet base there is swiss chard and pine nuts. Swiss chard grows in abundance in Nice and this dessert is a surprisingly delicious way to eat your vegetables. Recipes were passed down for generations and has resulted in a not well known and yet truly delicious dessert.

Beignets de fleurs de courgettes

The light yellow flowers of courgettes (zucchini) are fried in batter to make fritters.

Les Petits Farcis

The "little stuffed ones" are a dish of baked vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, courgettes (zucchinis) and their yellow flowers, and onions that are stuffed with breadcrumbs, meat, and vegetables. The stuffed vegetables can be an appetizer, meal, or side dish and come in a lot of varieties.

Soupe au Pistou

A cold soup heavily influenced by Italian pesto this is a bean stew made up with basil, garlic, and olive oil. All it's missing is pine nuts to be real pesto but it is also very similar to minestrone soup with the common addition of vegetables.

Rosé

Rosé wine is everywhere in Nice and can in fact be cheaper than water, I've tested the theory. The accompaniment to Niçoise cuisine it is the perfect partner to the lighter Provencal cuisine.

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Celebrate Endangered Species Day.

An endangered species is not a tragedy, because if a species is endangered, then they aren't yet extinct.

Sadly, there are millions of endangered species across the world, all facing threats that mostly stem from human activities. Still, it's not too late. Take a gander at these majestic animals, and then donate to a wildlife fund or environmental activism group of your choice.


Of course, nature doesn't need saving—humans do—and climate change and environmental destruction are threats to humans as well as animals, but if you need a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the natural world, check out these extraordinary species.



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Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

I took one piece (super yummy!) - 30-60 minutes before bedtime is recommended - but when I climbed in, I didn't notice a difference. I was worried I'd wasted my money.

However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

It had to be these sweet treats. The next day, I even felt more balanced and relaxed - Fast Asleep helps boost serotonin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and I definitely noticed a difference in my overall mood and alertness.

I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

Food & Drink

The Best Apps for Craft Beer Delivery

Try beers from all over the world–from your phone.

With breweries and distilleries out of business for the foreseeable future, your favorite beer may feel particularly out of reach this time of year, especially with the weather changing. But don't let quarantine suck all the fun out of summer. Luckily, thanks to technology, a lot of craft beer is now deliverable straight to your door step. Here are a few of the best apps to help make sure you stay up to date on the latest trendy brews.

Tavour

Tavour

Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.

TapRM

TapRM

TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!

Drizly

Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.

Saucey

Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus

BeerMenus

For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.