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Lots and Lots of Food

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To start off the week, my roommate and I went shopping at Carrefour, this insanely large supermarket in between Antibes and our university.  And when I say insanely large, I don’t mean by French standards.  I mean by American standards.


It never ends!!!

Along with PESTO CHIPS (why don’t they exist in the U.S.???), a mangosteen (looks kinda strange but tastes citrus-y and delicious), and lots of other food, I bought chickpea flour so I could make socca.  Traditionally it’s made in a wood-fire oven, but I found a few different recipes online for making it in any typical oven or on the stove.  I tried making it on the stove, but I think I should have watered down the batter more.  It was basically impossible to flip.  Still, even though it  looked like a mess, it tasted good!

Tuesday I had two classes I didn’t have last week: Advanced French II and Ethics.  Both are taught in French, so my brain was fried by the end of the day.  Ethics will definitely be my most challenging course this semester.  With the exception of one other girl from my study abroad group, everyone in the class speaks French fluently.  When the students start debating, they speak faster and talk over each other, making it difficult to understand.  However, when it’s just the professor lecturing, I can follow along quite well.  He began by saying, “Cette classe sera un voyage intérieur,” which means this class will be an internal journey.  Definitely not dropping that class.

It’s been raining really hard in and around Antibes.  People have lost their homes because of landslides, and traffic has been terrible.  My university’s ski trip was cancelled because of the weather.  I did take advantage of the one nice day we’ve had, though, and went on a walk along the beach with a friend from my study abroad group.  Then I went back to the Picasso Museum so I could take my time looking at the art and read all the explanations in French.


Walking along the beach in Antibes

In spite of the incessant rain, I did leave my warm, dry apartment to go to Nice with a few friends.  We shopped on Rue Jean Médecin, and I found the most beautiful coat on sale.  All the stores have “soldes” signs up right now, because this was (I think) week three of four of the government-mandated time period to have sales in France.

After shopping we went to dinner at a restaurant that serves “specialités niçoises” called Lou Balico.  I had the most amazing meal I’ve ever eaten.  First, while we were looking at the menu, the waiter brought us croutons sprinkled with herbs.  They were so good, and I don’t even like croutons.  For my actual meal, I decided on the “menu Balico.”

To start I had pissaladière, a thin rectangle of bread with onions, anchovies and olives on top (essentially it’s Provence’s take on pizza).  Next came the beignets d’aubergine, or eggplant fritters.  Biting into the beignets was like biting into a cloud: they were both fluffy and moist.


Les beignets d’aubergine

Then came the main dish: lamb and pesto (the French kind is called pistou) pasta with a couple of fancy french fries.  It was absolutely delicious, but there was so much of it I didn’t think I’d finish it.


Le gigot d’agneau avec la pâte fraîche au pistou

Clearly I underestimated myself, though, because I cleaned that plate along with the two that followed.  One was a small salad with goat cheese, ham and croutons.  The other was dessert.  We each ordered one so we could try them all.  We had cassis (a kind of berry), coconut and caramel ice cream; crème brûlée; and tourte de blette.  Tourte de blette has vegetables in it…when the waiter described it to us it didn’t sound anything like a dessert, but it sure tasted like one.


La tourte de blette

Today I went to La Marché Provençal, an outdoor market in Antibes.  I bought an olive tapenade (because the olives are supposed to be especially good here), some butternut squash, and ingredients to make an apple and brie panini like Volunteer Park Café’s.  A  baguette, apple, brie and lavender honey is quite possibly the best combination of foods I have ever tasted.


La Marché Provençal

Some random observations:

The French love their leather jackets.

The French desire to control space is no joke.  I’ve had to jump over a gate to get back to my apartment on two different occasions.

The French are much quieter than Americans.  Or maybe I should say Americans are much louder than the French.  Either way, I’m starting to think that (up until now) people have been yelling at me all my life.

The French pick the most interesting mixes of music (all of which is in English).  Today, in one TV show, I heard I’m Real, Your Body is a Wonderland, Rolling in the Deep, Pumped Up Kicks, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Say Aha.

The French do not know how to make bad, or even mediocre, food.


  1. christine Avatar

    OMG – the food you are eating sounds delicious! I’m making an apple and brie panini tomorrow!

  2. Barb Avatar

    French food is amazing. Their taste in American music still something they need to work on. 🙂

  3. Jane:) Avatar

    The French are so smart, cookies and and a chocolate covered waffle for breakfast! YUM!-Jane:)

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