Monaco is situated on the eastern coast of France, adjacent to Italy. Consequently, its food has strong influences of the French and Italian cuisine. Its breakfasts are mainly on the lighter side, but they make up for it with a luxurious lunches and dinners. The Monegasque cuisine comprises a lot of fish, vegetables and fruits because of its Mediterranean connections and has its own distinct character. If you want to taste the best food from Monaco, read on…
The popular fish stew Bouillabaisse has its roots in the port city of Marseille but is also loved by the Monégasque. The traditional stew comprises three fish varieties, usually sea robin, European conger and red rascasse. The most important thing is that several varieties of fish is used and that the fish is very fresh. The fish is prepared alongside other ingredients like mussels, tomatoes and potato, thickened and seasoned with rouille sauce. This is made of breadcrumbs, olive oil, cayenne pepper, garlic and saffron. However, depending on the region, the ingredients differ and the aromatic spices and herbs being used make the difference.
If you’ve ever been to south France, you probably had Pissaladière before. The dish is originally from Nice and is made from a dough which is halfway between a bread dough and a pizza dough. The Monégasque version is topped with caramelized onions, olives and anchovies.
Barbajuan is a kind of fritter stuffed with ricotta cheese and Swiss chard among other ingredients. The fillings differ but often also include onion, rice, leeks, spinach and Parmesan cheese. The dish is mostly eaten on the 19th of November, the country’s national day, but of course you can find it as a delicious appetizer on other days too.
The traditional seafood dish of Slocafi is dried cod which before preparation is usually soaked for about 24 hours. It is stewed in rich red wine, tomato sauce with onions and garlic and flavoured with black olives and small vegetables. It is mostly served with potatoes. A variation of the recipe also includes adding cognac while cooking the fish.
You most probably know the world-famous dish Gnocchi already. We would normally expect Gnocchi in Italy and it may surprise many that it’s a traditional fare in Monaco. Gnocchi are thick, small dumplings made with dough comprising of mashed potatoes, flour or semolina and other ingredients like cheese, bread crumbs and egg. In Monaco, Gnocchi are served with a velvet-like butter sauce or a light red wine and tomato sauce and with fresh local shellfish.
Porchetta is an Italian cuisine made from a boneless pork roast stuffed with flavourings such as fennel, aromatic herbs and its own offal. It is cooked over a pit until perfectly tender and tastes soft and juicy and best when eaten warm.
Fougasse is a dish that is usually associated to Provence but it is widespread in many other countries, including Monaco. It is a sweet bread flavoured with oranges and decorated with nuts, raisins and anise and can usually be found in the local bakeries. In ancient Rome, Fougasse was traditionally used to assess the temperature of a wood fired oven. The baking time gave an idea of the oven temperature and whether the rest of the bread could be loaded.
Socca is a popular street food in Monaco and some would even say it is their national dish. Socca is a crepe or pancake made of chickpea flour, olive oil, onions and herbs like rosemary. The dish is often cut into wedges, sprinkled with salt and pepper and sold hot. Whereas the outer part is crispy, the inside has a creamy flavour. Delicious!
This dish is indigenous to the Nice region of France and comprises of a sandwich, made from whole wheat bread stuffed with a sumptuous salad of hard-boiled eggs, raw vegetables, anchovies, olive oil and spices. It makes a mouth-watering appetizer that can mainly be found in supermarkets and bakeries and has a fresh and juicy taste.
Galapian is another sweet treat and is made with a batter of egg whites, almonds, cherries and cantaloupe, bushed with a honey glaze. It’s a perfect treat for all those with a sweet tooth with just the right amount of sweetness coming from the fruit and goes perfectly with a glass of wine.