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Our culinary gems

The Menton, Riviera & Merveilles culinary heritage reflects a vibrant history where different cultures come together and share experiences. Take fertile land, add a good helping of sunshine, lots of love and you get premium produce! Olive oil, Menton lemon, barbajuans (cheese and chard fritters), pichade (pizza), poutine (sardine and anchovy fry), sugelli (pasta)… prepare for a deep and delicious dive into our culinary gems. Your tastebuds are in for a treat…


traditional ingredients

We serve unspoilt and unusual Mediterranean dishes here. Delicious and healthy food inspired by local produce such as Menton lemon, olive oil, chestnuts, lavender, vegetables and grains. Traditional cuisine that captures our land: dishes for shepherds, sailors, inventive rustic dishes, simple, tasty and honest fare. Every dish has its own back story. Here’s a foodie tip: the best way to experience local flavours is at one of the area’s traditional festivals.

Menton Lemon,

fruit worth its weight in gold

The Menton Lemon is a golden sweet and sour fruit that has become an icon of our region, and is highly-prized by some of the greatest chefs and gourmets. It has held the Protected Geographical Indication since 2015. We use it to flavour fish or meat dishes, pasta and ravioli, jam, lemonade, sweets, limoncello, lemon wine and to make delicious lemon tarts. What makes it so special? No chemicals or wax are applied after the lemons are picked. You can eat it just like an apple. When life gives you Menton lemons, you can eat the zest, pith, flesh and juice!


Not every lemon that’s picked becomes a Menton Lemon. The best fruit has to go to the packing station before it becomes a Menton Lemon.

Recommended trips

Traditional festivals

If you have a sweet tooth, tuck into the seasonal fruit tarts, sweet fougasse, ganses (sweet fritters), crichenta (spiced brioche), sweet brioche, picore (aniseed brioche) and raisin brioche at any self-respecting traditional village festival.

If you love Italian food then head to the Colours and Flavours of Italy market in Beausoleil in September before the International Truffle Festival in Alba.

Menton devotes a weekend in May to its markets and celebrates its lemon tart and barbajuans (cheese and chard fritters). And let’s not forget the iconic Fête du Citron® in Menton: two weeks of festivities in February celebrating the golden fruit. That should keep your tastebuds happy all year!


iconic pastry fritters

A signature in our culinary heritage in Menton, Riviera & Merveilles. Every town and village from Menton to Tende has its own recipe for barbajuans: with Swiss chard, squash or both!
Legend has it that on the night before Saint Sebastian’s Day in Castellar, Barba Jouan or Uncle John started filling fresh pasta with “peasant food”: Swiss chard, rice and grated cheese. He didn’t have any sauce so he had the bright idea of frying them in olive oil. It was an instant hit! It’s the king of finger food to sample at the markets, bakeries, food shops and restaurants everywhere from Menton to Tende. The Roya-Bévéra has its own delicious takes on it too: Boussotous in Moulinet plus Boursouzes and Boursotous in Breil-sur-Roya!


a signature dish

Homemade sugelli pasta is listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage and is another signature dish in our region. It used to be a staple for shepherds and locals but now it’s a celebratory dish served at family meals and events. It’s famous throughout the Roya Valley and also made beyond the French border, in Piemonte and Liguria. Tende even made it its national dish. I highly recommend trying them at the Breil-sur-Roya Agricultural Festival for an unspoilt foodie experience.


for vegetables

Sun-drenched vegetables grown on our drystone terraces form the heart of countless recipes in the Menton, Riviera & Merveilles area. You simply have to try the famous vegetable tian cooked in a tian dish, stuffed vegetables and courgette flowers that make excellent fritters. The kids love them! Tomato and basil are a must in the region in a salad, with olives, boiled eggs, anchovies and served with crusty bagnat bread. It’s a great snack in summer whether you’re on the beach or on a hike!


pesto’s French cousin

Provençal pistou is like Genoese pesto but without the pine nuts and cheese.

Freshly picked basil, garlic and good olive oil make it what it is. If you’re feeling bold then add some Menton Lemon zest to give it some extra zing. It works wonders with pasta! It’s usually served in the classic “soupe au pistou”: a summery soup with sun-kissed vegetables and pasta topped with pistou. A must-try during traditional festivals!

Valley cheese,

upholding traditions

The milk produced by cows, sheep and goats in the valleys and mountain pastures is used to make cheese including tomme, brousse, brous and many more.

From the hilltop villages on the coast to the Roya and Bévéra Valleys, there are goat’s and sheep’s cheese producers who you’ll find on the markets too. Pay them a visit during your trips on the mountain! The kids will love the foodie breaks.

Vegetable tarts

and Pichade de Menton

Vegetable tarts are a local speciality that you can make your own way. Every village, actually, every family, has its own recipe. It comes in three colours: green with herbs and Swiss chard, white with squash and red with tomato.
you have to try tantifoulouse in La Brigue, a courgette and potato tart. It’s delicious! Ideal for vegetarians and vegetable lovers! Tuck into the Tourte Festival in Saorge: join the villagers as they feast on pies hot from the oven. Nice as pie…
Pichade de Menton is a classic speciality to eat on the go, in the street or as a nibble with drinks. Just take a fougasse dough, knead it with lots of olive oil, coat it in tomato sauce, top with a generous layer of fried onions, salty anchovies, a few garlic cloves and olives. My mouth’s already watering!

Michelin-starred chefs

inspired by Menton’s treasures

A feast for all the senses in sumptuous settings! The Menton area has inspired Michelin-starred chefs who put all their passion into designing and showcasing the best of the land as the seasons come and go. Just take Mauro Colagreco, Chef at the 3 Michelin-starred Le Mirazur, voted best restaurant in the world in 2019. The chef grows his own fruit and vegetables and uses the lunar calender to design his menus. His dishes soak up the local culture, land and sea, France and Italy. It’s world-renowned so it’s best to book in advance!
Another outstanding address is the 2 Michelin-starred Hostellerie Jérôme in La Turbie. Chef Bruno runs a tight ship inspired by his travels and roots. The sustainable dishes celebrate the ingredients and provide a once in a lifetime experience! Trust me, I’m a foodie.