We woke up early and headed for Cannes. Rid your mind of a glamorous day of seaside shopping and designer fare – that’s for tomorrow. Today was an adventure of epicurean delight, starting in the Forville Provencal Food Market. Accompanied by Head Chef David Chauvac, we searched through tables of bountiful produce, all seasonal and sourced pretty close to home. We watched merchants and locals interact like old friends, swapping stories, explaining recipes and bargaining for better prices. I then fell completely and utterly, head over heels in love. No, not with more cheese – with this guy. Just look at his little ears! He was curled up under a table of fish, waiting patiently for someone to play with. It took a lot of self control to not scoop him up and take him home with me. Having snagged the best produce, freshest fish, and other incredible ingredients, we headed back for the kitchen of Le Mas Candille to get cooking. Here, Chef David began by dipping courgette flowers in a light batter and frying them, before sprinkling with sea salt and chilli. He began to cook down artichoke with onion, thyme and citrus, filling the entire kitchen with its aroma.
A meaty beef tomato was paired with a langoustine and topped with basil oil. The artichoke and onion was then ready to be plated, the delicate flavour of citrus pairing beautifully with the tender vegetables. Beetroot and monkfish were cooked together, giving it a pink presentation and deliciously sweet flavour. Seared tuna with broccoli and a teriyaki glaze hinted at Chef Chauvac’s love for Japanese culture. Followed by a Japanese stir-fry with massive, perfectly cooked scallops. Having spent the afternoon grazing on Chef Chauvac’s creations, showcasing his talent for inventing dishes on the spot from whatever local produce looked best, we were thoroughly impressed and incredibly full. But, when in France, temptation is always around the corner, or rather, on your plate. Just look how perfectly soft and slightly melty this goats cheese is!
Chef relieved us from our sous chef duties, and we sat on the terrace, spreading cheese on bites of grilled baguette. I even cheekily asked for more of the fig compote from last night – one of my favourite snacks in the world.
A surprise soon emerged from the kitchen – a pear and chocolate tart topped with a white chocolate disk for a satisfying crunch.
I leaned back on my chair, replete with French fare, ready for a chat-nap. Instead, I snuck off to the Shiseido Spa for a unique Qi treatment, a massage that incorporates tsubo point stimulation, leaving the body and mind with a sense of well-being. Feeling completely revived, we took a walk to the hilltop town of Mougins. For the culturally inclined, this is a true haven. In modern times, Mougins has been frequented and inhabited by many artists and celebrities, including Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Arman, Yves Klein, César Baldaccini, Paul Éluard, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Winston Churchill, Catherine Deneuve, Édith Piaf and Jacques Brel, to name a few.
As if the streets themselves weren’t stunning enough, the view of the Côte d’Azur between rooftops was simply breathtaking. I can see why so many have fallen for the allure of Mougins. I can’t recommend a trip to the Mougins Museum of Classical Art enough. A British businessman became enamoured by Greek armoury. His collection eventually grew to hold ancient Greek and Roman art and armoury, and had expanded so much, that he decided to put all his pieces in a museum, and open it to the public. It’s unlike anything you’d expect, and the way that the collected pieces are juxtaposed with modern art makes the perspective truly remarkable. We watched as the sky put on another show, filling with vibrant, pink lines, highlighting clouds in yellow. This was the sun signalling it was time for yet another feast. We stayed in Mougins for dinner at a little local restaurant. To start, I had creamy slices of foie gras, paired with winter berry purée and brioche.
My main was… interesting, to say the least. Apple tarte tatin topped with beef and seared foie gras – not something I’ll be ordering again in future.
Dessert of moelleux au chocolat was a sweet saviour, ensuring I never end a night in France feeling less than satiated.
If you can believe it, tomorrow is even sweeter! I can’t wait to take you to France’s own Willy Wonka-esque chocolate factory – only it’s Florian’s, and very French and much more refined.