Tag Archives: picnic

Peillon, perched villages, patisseries and picnics

Inevitably, Perosa Argentina’s proximity to France meant that we could not come this far without going all the way! We usually get across via Montgenèvre to the east of Torino, but this time headed south, and for the first time ever, used the Tunnel du Col de Tende, just 20 miles south of Cuneo. There is no tariff to traverse the 2-mile tunnel, and it was fairly quick even if only one line of cars is allowed to pass at a time. There was about a 15-minute wait (on either side) before the queue got the green.

Balcony view from Auberge de la Madone
Balcony view from Auberge de la Madone in Peillon, France

Our hotel lay in Peillon – one of those tiny little villages perchés that are so cute to look at but often a pain to reach. The pain was mitigated by the fact that we would be driving through a scenic route that included old french villages and the things that we love best about them, namely, the boulangerie, patisserie and fromagerie.

Tende, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
1st stop, Tende. Boulangerie des Merveilles is on the road that passes through the village.

Boulangerie des Merveilles

This is the first time I’ve come across the onion tart pissaladière (center). What awesomeness that was! The custard tart and assorted pastries (frangipane, apple and apricot) served as carbs for next day’s breakfast in bed. At 20€ each, Auberge de La Madone is too expensive in that department. Maybe if they had promised me truffled eggs with brioche and foie gras…

Goodies from Boulangerie des Merveilles
Yummy french pastries.

The next day came all too quickly and we ate our pastries and italian coffee (I’ll have to show you my set-up one of these days) at dawn. We had a long haul ahead of us to return home – the same way we came instead of the quicker Nice-Genova autoroute – but not before stocking up on foodstuffs and one last picnic.

On the way back to Italy: Sospel in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France.

Patisserie Alexis Demaria in Sospel scores big for desserts, but what caught my eye from the start were barbagian / barbajuan, a sort of fried ravioli said to be the national dish of Monaco. The seasoned filling is made with chard, spinach, rice, and parmigiano and they were a bit expensive at 3.20€/100 grams, but the taste makes them worth every cent.

Chevre from Auchan and barbagian
Chevre stash from Auchan in Nice; barbagian from Patisserie Alexis Demaria.

Desserts from Patisserie Alexis Demaria
Raspberry tart, lemon curd tart, chocolate eclair! Around 2.50€ each.

Tuna bento from Auchan in Nice
Mini tuna bento (7.10€) picked up at Auchan supermarket in Nice.

Salmon and tuna chirashi from Auchan in Nice
Salmon&tuna chirashi (12.80€) from Auchan’s made-fresh-daily sushi department in Nice. We also had a baguette and french charcuterie!

Dining al fresco: breakfast, lunch, dinner & merenda

While our neighbors come and go on their respective summer holidays (it seems that when one family returns, another one takes off), we take advantage of good weather days by eating outdoors whenever the mood hits. Lazy weekend breakfasts, quick and easy lunches, picnic dinners, and best of all, a late afternoon merenda (snack) with a glass of wine and a plate of nibbles. We have a couple of days planned in Tuscany to check out local food festivals, but other than that, we’re fine with the rest of the season looking like this.

Breakfast al fresco
Stonewall Kitchen pancakes, cappuccino, greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and canadian maple syrup!

Teddy Bear Picnic Day 2014
Freeze-n-serve mojito, gazpacho, bbq ribs, farro salad and chocolate-hazelnut tart.

Merenda al fresco

Piromàfo made from 100% Negramaro grapes. The name, of Greek origin, literally means “fire fighter”. From the website: The local population uses this word to indicate heat-refracting soil. The name of the grape Negroamaro has very old origins; it seems to be composed from the link of two words, niger and mavro, one in Latin and the other in Greek, that in both languages have the same meaning black or dark, just like the colour of the wine. Pair with roasts, game, raw shellfish. Very good also at the end of a meal as a meditation wine.