Monaco is nestled in the French Riviera along the sumptuous Meditteranean Coast. There are more that 170 restaurants in Monaco’s small but mighty epicurean paradise. A plethora of dining options include charming sidewalk cafes and quaint brasseries in Old Town as well as Michelin-starred establishments in landmark hotels. Monaco has plenty of gourmet menus with signature dishes that offer fresh and flavorful options.
Monaco’s cuisine is a flavorful fusion of southern French ( Provençal and Nicoise ), Italian and other Mediterranean influences. These influences on Monaco’s palate generate a plethora of savory options that meld French Provencal with many locally-produced products. Stuffed zucchini flowers, truffle and fois gras tortes and Provençal-style artichokes braised in wine with olive oil are other Monégasque favorites. In Monaco, try some traditional Monegasque specialties including:
*Barbagiuans, a crisp, baked or fried puff-pastry-filled fritters treat with Swiss chard, ricotta, leeks, garlic and herbs usually served as an appetizer
*Fougasse, a small, sweet bread flavored with oranges and decorated with nuts, raisins and anise
*Swiss chard pie, layers of pastry filled with a mixture of Swiss chard, parmesan cheese, parsley, eggs, onions, and rice
*Socca, a thin pancake made from chick-pea flour and olive oil
*Stocafi, dried cod stewed in tomato sauce and flavored with black olives .
Sleek new hotels like the Fairmont Monte-Carlo and the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel have recently opened new restaurants in the Principality of Monaco. The Fairmont Monte-Carlo’s restaurants allow guests to savor the flavors of Monaco: (1) L’Argentin is a meat-lovers favorite in the Fairmont with wood and charcoal spits for roasting and grilling; (2) breathtaking Mediterranean views are available at Le Pistou located on the hotel’s panoramic terrace with Italian and regional cuisine (www.fairmont.com/montecarlo). You may also want to try Bar & Boeuf, Alain Ducasse’s second restaurant in Monaco.
Five of Monaco’s restaurants have collectively garnished eight gourmet Michelin stars.
Yoshi in the Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo earned their first Michelin star this year. Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo has a Michelin star and is also located in the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo (http://www.metropole.com/). Le Grill is located in the Hôtel de Paris and Chef Sylvain Etievant”s rooftop restaurant has incredible “Vino con Vista” panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and was recently awarded one Michelin star. Le Vistamar at the Hôtel Hermitage has earned chef Joël Garault a well-deserved Michelin star with the bonus of having spectacular “Vino-con-Vista” views of Monaco’s harbor. Try the romantic Michelin star-rated La Coupole in the Hôtel Mirabeau with classic French cuisine.
The incredible menu at the Royal Wedding was prepared by three-star Michelin Chef Alain Ducasse who presides over Ducasse’s acclaimed Le Louis XV. His Michelin-starred restaurant is located in Monte-Carlo’s Hôtel de Paris and features a legendary wine cellar. His opulent restaurant is in the luxurious Hotel de Paris has more than 600,000 bottles of valuable vintages. Ducasse was born in France but officially became a citizen of Monaco three years ago.
Ducasse has a collective total of 19 prestigious Michelin stars with restaurants in Italy, Japan, Hong Kong and France. His elegant “Vino con Vista” Jules Verne restaurant in Paris France is perched on the legendary Eiffel Tower. He also runs restaurants in the United States in Las Vegas, New York, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Alain Ducasse was assisted by Franck Cerutti Executive chef of the Hôtel de Paris. A total of 285 staff members including ten chefs and 54 cooks; seven pastry chefs and 14 pastry cooks prepared the Royal Feast. Nearly all of the ingredients used to prpare the royal feast will be sourced locally. Some of the vegetables will be sourced from Prince Albert’s farm.
The following menu and wine list was released by the Government Office of Tourism:
Created by Alain Ducasse and Monte-Carlo SBM for the Princely Wedding
“As a starter, the Barbagiuan
It’s a natural guest, a full member of every family in Monaco. Traditional prelude, eaten with the fingers, the summertime Barbagiuan is served warm in a fabric presentation box. Under a silky crust of delicate rissoles stuffed with swisschard, spinach, leeks, onions, parsley, basil, marjoram and chives,blended together with sheep’s milk ricotta, egg and Parmigiano Reggiano, beats a meltingly soft green heart.
Tender Vegetables, Tomat olive and marinated golden mullet, Poutargue (Bottargo)
The dish is large, oval and generous. The food is arranged to portray a landscape typical of the coast ofthe Riviera. First, Roma tomatoes cooked until soft and smooth, slices of beetroot, zucchinis “Trompettes” and rawturnips, just marinated in olive oil, salt and ground pepper, on which stand cooked fennels, flakes of celery heart, radishes and mushrooms, a stick of cucumber, tomato confit and yellow and white semidried peaches, all sprinkled with fresh almonds, courgette flowers and borage, sprigs of celery, wild purslane and chervil. Guérande Fleur de sel, extra virgin olive oil and organic black Sospel olives complete this masterpiece of nature, conceived as a real example of plant architecture.
Then, a thinly sliced filet of golden mullet simply served raw, marinated in olive oil, Guérande sea salt and black Sarawak pepper, capers, lemon thyme from Nice and lemon zest from Menton, all seasoned with flakes of bottarga from Martigues, in translucent, fragrant petals. A subtle play of layering and the association of softness and crunchiness. Part sea, part hills, a synthesis of local produce and a relaxed lifestyle. The golden mullet, known as the “daurin,” fished by Gérard Rinaldi, a member of the last fishing family in Monaco, is highly migratory and travels along the Nisso-Ligurian coast from east to west from May to July. It is rarely fished. Every year it offers itself for our delectation, like the little seasonal vegetables, which are deliciously tender and naturally sweet.
Small spelt, seasonal vegetables with herb pistou
Small spelt, an ancestor of wheat grown in Haute Provence, is cooked as a riso with diced carrots,onions, celery and mushrooms sweated in olive oil, mixed with raisins, girolle mushrooms and haricotbeans from Lantosque. Carrots and turnips, artichoke quarters, spring onions and leeks, peas and fava beans, green beans and flat green beans are sautéed and moistened with vegetable stock, then arranged on the spelt. The acidic cooking juices with rocket and basil are pounded in a mortar to make a herb pesto topped with some toasted pine nuts. Real bounty from the earth, this is a tribute to cooking that is healthy, modest and tasty, from the local terroir. An essential approach, a return to the source of nutritional values. Playing on textures and subtle cooking, this small pale spelt is as tender as could be.
Local fish in a delicate bouillon with marine flavours
On a base of new potatoes cooked in saffron broth, a rich catch of fish is a concentration of the flavoursof the Mediterranean. The famous shelled gamberoni “rossi” from San Remo, fillets of rock mullet,calamaretti stuffed with gamberoni meat, cuttlefish and lemons from Menton, filets of capon, seabream, Saint Pierre, denti and rock octopus tentacle. Everything is moistened with a fish stock madefrom rock fish, cooked like a fish broth with saffron. Wrapped in sunshine-coloured spice from the terroirs of Haute Provence, mixed with white onions, garlic, dried fennel, fresh tomatoes, moray and conger, demoiselle, green wrasse, ballan wrasse, goldsinny wrasse, rainbow wrasse, weeverfish, small black and brown rockfish and eriphia crab – localfishing is invited to the feast.
Three mini crostini, one of which sings the praises of the juices from red mullet liver, capon andanchovies; the second of rouille, the third of spider crab meat and coral, complete the bouquet of marine flavours that explodes in the mouth. The whole sea has shaped this amazing dish. Abundance and feasting recall mythical scenes on the ancient shoreline, sparkling with light and saturated with blue. This is an expression of memory, the universal message of a Mediterranean that represents the concepts of mutual exchange and sharing.
Red fruits bursting with sunshine, Rocagel milk ice cream
In an elegant crystal coupe, on a delicate, lightly sweetened strawberry jelly are placed wildstrawberries and raspberries picked early in the morning and a velvety scoop of ice cream made with milk from the Rocagel and a spoonful ofwarm strawberry juice. A flaky palmier biscuit accompanies the exquisite sweetness of this seasonal fantasy.
Refreshing and soft, in symbiosis with the season, this dessert with red berries radiates the colours of the Principality. While banners and flags flutter in the wind in the gaily bedecked streets, the subtle milk ice cream and the flavour of sun-drenched berries are a gentle introduction to the long-awaited moment – the wedding cake.
Red currant and vanilla wedding cake
Silky and flowery. On a soft biscuit base with almonds, a delicate red currant compote and a light mousse of vanilla, covered in a layer of white chocolate and some gooseberries. Forming a cornucopia of pearly sugar, the wedding cake presentation piece unites the flowers of the Riviera and the majestic Protea, the emblem of South Africa, in tribute to Princess Charlene.
An ephemeral pleasure, the crowning glory of a dinner that is intended to be both simple and precious;jellied fruits with lemon and limoncello to surprise and delight the guests for one last time while the sky over the Principality is lit up with bursts of colour.
The Table Setting
A place of honour for the art of the table
The china, selected and created especially for the tables, which are dressed in white tablecloths, is present but discreet, forming part of the spontaneous “ballet” of this great dinner.
The guests are served by 200 Maitre d’Hs, chefs de rang and commis – a precise choreography of agile gestures, porcelain and crystal treasures that cast sparkling reflections on the festivities.
In a combination of modern design and culinary tradition, five little sourdough rolls are arranged on a narrow porcelain dish in front of each guest. Miniature loaves set out in a row, gently shaped by Jean-Paul Veziano, a baker in Antibes, and baked at the Hôtel de Paris a few hours before the dinner: round rolls with olives, floury hand-shaped focaccia from Nice, michettes (Provencal bread rolls) with oil and bread with borage form a harmonious palette of flavours, symbols of life and the perpetuation of the craftsman’s skills.
Splashed with blue, in a very simple style, the china bowl, created by Pieter Stockmans for the delicate fish bouillon, is naturally clear. It is deep, and delicately evokes generous fishing and the clear waters that surround the Principality. For an evening of magic, Alain Ducasse and the Pieter Stockmans studio have redesigned the world in blue, white, and light. From cobalt blue, which is so characteristic, to the pure white porcelain, the dish represents an aesthetic language where motif and material are one and the same.
Alain Ducasse’s recipe gave rise to the search for a specific shape of bowl. Design and creativity come together – a duo in honour of the arts of the table. A delicate coupe in Saint Louis crystal holds the dessert of red berries topped with milk ice cream. The “Bubbles,” a slender, stemmed coupe, reflects a lifestyle that has its sources in the great tradition. This alchemy in glass from the Royal Factory dedicates its exquisite finesse to the celebration of the royal wedding. A resplendent recipient for a dessert in the Principality’s colours, it marries perfectly with the little white napkins edged with red berry fruits.
Wines in Unison (The Wine List)
Aware of how the soul of wines reflects their terroir, Gérard Margeon, head sommelier at Alain Ducasse’s restaurants and Noël Bajor, head sommelier at the Louis XV, have spent many months meeting exceptional small-scale growers and exploring vineyards to find wines to accompany the meal.
The selection is the fruit of their intuition and insight, but is also symbolic and reflects their meetings.
Western Cape Chardonnay, Anaïs vintage 2009
A wine from Orrance, 100% chardonnay, charming and gourmet
A white wine from South Africa will open the dinner as a tribute to Princess Charlene. A classic Cape wine, it is a perfect accompaniment to the starter of tender vegetables and golden mullet.
Bellet Le Clos, Le Clos Saint Vincent 2009
Bellet wine, 100% Rolle, lively, elegant and youthful
The small spelt and seasonal vegetables blended with a herb pesto complement the subtle nuances of a fresh white wine with a mineral taste. It has been developed by Gio Sergi, who uses biodynamic farming methods that are helping the Bellet appellation to evolve.
Bellet, Cuvee Baron G, Château de Bellet 2008
Bellet wine, 40% black folle, 40% braquet, 20% grenache, harmonious and smooth to accompany the locally caught fish bouillon. This astonishing red Bellet is a young vintage, elegant but very light, generous and fruity. At the Château of Bellet, Ghislain and Catherine de Charnacé form a link between Nice and its hills and their personal stories of persistence and hard work.
Château d’Yquem 1996
Appellation Sauternes, harmony in complexity
A Château d’Yquem with a remarkable aromatic potential takes the stage with the coupe of red berry fruits and Rocagel milk ice cream. Thanks to ideal weather conditions, this great, classic vintage fully respects the balance of a Château d’Yquem. A mystery of nature – time has no mastery over this sweet wine. With its very long finish, it holds the promise of a moment of happiness.
Perrier-Jouët Champagne, Cuvée Belle Epoque 2002
Legendary bubbles. A flute of Perrier Jouet’s iconic prestige cuvéee Belle Epoque 2002 champagne rounded off the dinner with the wedding cake and its delicate covering of white chocolate. The foundation of the House of Champagne Perrier-Jouët in 1811 was itself born of a marriage between its founders Pierre Nicolas Perrier and Adèle Jouët 200 years ago. An elegant and romantic flower champagne bottle for a fairytale Royal wedding.
Facts & Figures
1,600 barbagiuan, 150 kg of fish of ten different varieties, 100 kg of mullet for a delicate carpaccio,
300 kg of tomatoes, 50 kg of strawberries, 20 kg of wild strawberries, 30 kg of raspberries in every
variation of passionate red, 100 litres of milk for a creamy dessert, 750 delightfully soft limoncello
sweets, 2,000 majestic sugar flowers, the crowning glory of 250 hours of work for the seven- tier
wedding cake, 1.50 m in diameter and 2.50 metres high.
The staff Alain Ducasse and Monte-Carlo SBM
In the kitchen, Alain Ducasse will be assisted by Franck Cerutti Executive chef of the Hôtel de Paris and Bruno Caironi, consulting chef. Both where part of the opening team of Le Louis XV in 1987.” (Office of Tourism, Monaco)
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com