The French Riviera has no shortage of beautiful, sun-kissed coastal towns: Villefranche-sur-Mer, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, Antibes, Eze... But Monte-Carlo has a way of sparking the imagination.
After the Vatican City, Monaco is the smallest country in the world. This rocky country nestled on steep hills that drop off into the Mediterranean is divided into four neighborhoods: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte-Carlo, and Fontvieille. Of these four, Monte Carlo is the main resort and residential area, popular with tourists around the world.
Thanks to its location and climate, Monte Carlo has an easy access to fresh, local produce. Moreover, the near proximity of the sea has led to the development of the cuisine which is rich in fresh seafood of high quality. Thus, the people in Monaco developed a taste and appreciation for good, local food. The cuisine generally reflects its Mediterranean heritage, but both Italian and French influences can be found in the local recipes.
As it’s nestled on the east coast of France near Italy on the Mediterranean, it is to be expected that seafood dominates the menus in Monte Carlo. The fish most commonly used are anchovy and cod. Thanks to its pleasant climate, the country thrives with fresh vegetables and fruits, the most popular being garlic, onions, tomatoes, and olives. If you are looking for some staple food in Monte Carlo, you won’t find it as such. Dishes are mainly prepared by cooking ingredients in olive oil or they are served with it as a side or a dip.
Since Monte Carlo is just a 30-minute drive from Italy and France, you will taste how its cuisine is influenced by both Italian and French gastronomy. Italian-style pasta can be found in Monte Carlo as well, but just a dash of lime gives these dishes their unique taste. Pastries are also very common and can’t be missed on your trip to Monte Carlo. What probably makes this cuisine so appealing to tourists are its dishes with the fine combination of sweet and sour ingredients.
Planning your Monaco meal
Whether you once visited Monte Carlo and would like to taste some of its food delicacies again or you would like to surprise your taste buds with some new flavor combos, this is the right place to start.
Barbagiuans is an appetizer that originated in Monaco but can also be found in Northern Italy and along the coast of French Riviera. It is particularly popular on National Day which Monaco celebrates on November 19.
Socca is the name referring to chickpea pancakes that are popular as street food in Monaco. Usually, Monegasques enjoy warm socca with a glass of chilled wine.
Cod is very popular in the dishes of Monte Carlo. Usually combined with typical Mediterranean ingredients such as tomatoes, olives, garlic, and pepper.
Fougasse is a famous sweet treat that you have to try when in Monte Carlo. Basically, it is a bread but with a very distinctive anise and orange aromas and studded with a variety of nuts.
Although Monte Carlo is located in one of the world’s smallest countries, it has access to everything.
The national drink that people in Monaco are proud of is champagne. So, whichever champagne you choose, it will be a perfect choice to finish your dinner.