Cocoa on the Côte d'Azur:
"Chocolate... is above all helpful to people who must do a great deal of mental work, to those who labor in the pulpit or the courtroom, and especially to travelers." - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Chocolate ranks as an essential food group here in France. According to the International Cocoa Organization (tasty name), France consumes 6.7 kg (14 lbs) of chocolate per person per year. In the US, for example, it's 4.5 kg (10 lbs) per person/year.
French chocolate wears many disguises. It's in truffes around New Year's. During the Spring, it melts in the shape of hens, chicks, rabbits, sardine fish wrapped in blue aluminum and lined up in cans and even plain eggs. It wears red, pink, blue bows. On Easter morning, some children here on the Côte d'Azur will be foraging through bushes of rosemary and pots of geraniums looking for the chocolat.
"People who habitually drink chocolate enjoy unvarying health..." - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Given the criticality of chocolate, we feel it's essential for visitors to know where to find it on the Côte d'Azur. So we went through the arduous task of hunting for great chocolates on the French Riviera. We found many expert chocolatiers sprinkled around the region. Here's a small selection for your enjoyment.
"If any Man has drunk a little too deeply from the cup of physical pleasure; if he has spent too much time at his desk that should have been spent asleep; if he fine spirits have temporarily become dulled; if he finds the air too damp, the minutes too slow, and the atmosphere too heavy to withstand... let him be given a good pint of amber-flavored chocolate" - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Maison Auer, has been melting and shaping chocolates as well as candied fruit since 1820. The treats are made the old-fashion way, and the store claims that some of the best old cauldrons are still used. "Princess" almonds and hazelnuts are especially delectable: roasted nut, caramel coating, chocolate
second coating and a sprinkle of cocoa powder that wakes up the palate.
What: Maison Auer, 7 rue St-François-de-Paule, near the opera house (tel. 04-93-85-77-98)
Where: In front of the Opera House, 7 rue Saint-François de Paule, one of the old streets that lead you to Cours Saleya.
In Nice and Pont du Loup:
Confiserie Florian concocts perfumes for the palate: fruit sweets and chocolates from family traditions
dating back almost sixty years. Candied petals of violets, roses, verveine, mimosa, but also jams, chocolates, sirups, candied fruit, and free factory tours.
Where: In Nice: 14 quai Papacino, in the Old Nice. Phone: 04-93-55-43-50,
is near the Old Port.
Patissier Cottard creates an edible "Fort Carré", a chocolate ganache version of the town's fort.
Where: 49 rue République; Antibes; Phone: 04.93.34.09.92.
Schies makes chocolates of all sorts (honey infused, pralined, flowered) in their chocolate lab just above the store. A dream for kids of all ages.
Where: 125 rue d'Antibes, Cannes - 06400, Phone: 04.93.39.01.03.
Tiny cubic store Calderon makes creative macarons, bite-sized cakes that are works of art for the eyes and the palate, and chocolate creations too. There's usually a line-up of gourmets in the little shop.
Where: 89, place Sadi Carnot, Saint-Raphael, Phone: 04 94 83 63 08.
Le Provençal's specialty may be the Cloister of Frejus Paves (hard candies) but their candied fruit and chocolates are just as tasty.
Where: 44 rue Jean-Jaurès, Fréjus
Bite into the emblematic rock that stands behind the village of Roquebrune-sur-Argens (not to be confused with Roquebrune, the perched village east of Nice).
Confiserie Courreau, master Chocolatier Gérard Courreau.
Where: 2, Montee Saint Michel; Roquebrune-sur-Argens; Phone: 04 94 45 31 56
To enjoy these delights without guilt, consider a hike or two on the Côte d'Azur! Click below to see our latest hiking guide: 26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Côte d'Azur.