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The soil in Provence always bakes in sunshine and sprinkled with just the right amount of rain along the coast, Provence’s climate has all the right ingredients for great harvests of wine grapes, olives, tomatoes, zucchinis, garlic, peppers, fresh herbs, truffles , melons and more. And locals know what to do with their harvests. Centuries old traditions have a great influence with every Provencal kitchen, where age -old specialties and contemporary creations are based on of the world’s finest olive oils and produce picked  every morning. The Mediterranean sea always brings fresh seafood on the tables. On top of it, great local wine – Cotes du Rhone, including Chateauneufdu-Pape and wonderful as well as crisp Cotes de Provence Roses.

On the coast.

Menton. Wedged between the sea and surrounded by mountains and situated between Monaco and Italy, Menton is blessed with the  mildest weather on the French Riviera. Its micro climate has made it a center for citrus-fruit cultivation since the 1500s. During the annual Fete du Citron ( lemon festival), from mid-February to early March, the town turns to a rolling Mass of yellow, as local decorate floats, windows, streets and themselves with lemons. Try the famous Tarte au Citron, a Menton specialty.

Menton Tourist office, 8 Avenue Boyer 06500  http://www.menton.fr

Nice.

In 1388  Nice chose to belong to the counts of Savoy. The city did not become Frenchuntil 1860, when tourism was just taking hold. Cosmopolitan and eclectic, Nice boasts some fine arts museums ( including ones devoted to Chagall and Matisse).Tall, white, modern blocks hide the Baroque churches and other facades of the old town, while Roman remains and Belle Epoque houses coexist up at Cimiez, the hill above the city. The promenades des Anglais, built for sea loving English tourists, has  been given up to rollerbladders.

The Food.

As in Italy, many traditional dishes start with superb Olive oil. Socca is a very thin crusted, pizzalike bread, made from chickpea flour and olive oil; Another delicious one is La PissadiereSocca topped with anchovies and caramelized onions. Both are sold at Chez Theresa ( in the boutique and on the market stall in the Cours Saleya and Chez Rene Socca, 2 rue Miralheti.

Want to find great olive oil? go to Oliviera, this restaurant-shop sells what may be the Mediterranean best oils. The owner Nadim runs blind taste tests and is very passionate about his products as well as knowledgeable. Other Nicoise specialties include the Pan-Bagnat, bread dipped in olive oil and filled with tuna, eggs, and salad- It was once the prized meal of fishermen. Salad Nicoise is Nice‘s most exported dish. The traditional version is a toss , rather than an arrangement, of salad leaves, tuna, eggs, anchovies, tomatoes, onion and black olives. Omelette de Poutine, a delicious local omelet made with parsley, olive oil & lemon juice and poutines ( small sardines, caught over a 30- day period in February & March. Another specialty is Beignets de fleurs de courgette- batter -coated zucchini flowers, deep-fried and served in a tomato sauce. Soupe au pistou is a hearty bean, tomato and zucchini broth, flavored to taste with pesto. Bakeries in the old town sell Tourte aux blettes– a sugar-coated pie made with cabbage ( blette), raisins and pine nuts. A savory swap is made rice and parmesan cheese.

Les petits farcis are delicious round zucchinis, tomatoes and onions stuffed with pork mince called petits farcis.

Love wine?

Cote de Provence Wine Minitour. Amid quite steep hills and sea views, the Var region is the land of rose wine par excellence. this Minitour takes you into the diverse and very dramatic landscape of the Haut Pays ( inlands), where well-drained soils; abundant sunshine ; and winter showers yield some of France‘s best Roses. All the wineries are premier cru.

An 18th-century bastide once owned  by the counts of Provence, the Chateau de Selle in Taradeau ; http://www.domaines-ott.com, they make world-famous roses, blending Cabernet-sauvignon, grenache, and cinsaux grapes. Chateau de ST-martin; http://www.chateaudesaintmartin.com. The vineyard has a ruined 2nd-centuryb.c. Roman villa and a Gallo-Roman grape press on- site. Love fruity wines visit Chateau Roubine‘s wines ; http://www.chateauroubine.com

Le Jas d’Esclans is an award-winning organic wines, route de Callas La Motte en Provence; http://www.jasdesclans.com – If you decide to go west along the coast you will find the Chateau de Bregancon in beautiful Borme-les-Mimosas is a beautiful 17th-century chateau on 350 hectares ( 864 acres) of vines. The Rose blends cinsault, syrah, and grenache grapes. In Hyeres, the chateau de Mauvanne ;www.mauvanne.com has been making wine since the 1600’s. The current owner Bassim Rahal produces some of the region greatest roses.