Making Pan Bagnet in Nice

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Making Pan Bagnet with an expert. 

It’s Thursday or my first week and I made Pan Bagnat with Monique, Katherine, and Amber!

It all started here at Place de la Liberation, Gare de Sud, and the local market. The meeting spot was in front of the statue of Charles de Gaulle.

La Gare de Sud

Monique our lovely guide

The market at Place de la Liberation is frequented mostly by locals; it doesn’t draw many tourists. It’s a sunny Thursday, and the market is busy with people rolling their cart or carrying their panier to buy tonight’s dinner. There is often a little dog trotting along by their side.
The market is spread out with over 100 vendors and open every day except Monday. Fruit and veg vendors are throughout, but there is also a fish area, and vendors with cheeses, meats, and various other specialties like oils, spices, and mushrooms are throughout the market. The prices are more reasonable than the Cours Saleya, and the vendors are efficient but friendly. Monique is the same, efficient and friendly and is well known by the vendors.

Choosing just the right ingredients

Monique’s favorite local olive oil 

We stood in line at the bakery with locals buying their daily baguette and perhaps a sweet for a special occasion. 

Monique bought some mimosa to brighten our lunch table.  

With our pan bagnet ingredients purchased, we strolled around various parts of the market with our food guide Monique. 

La Gare de sud

From there we went into the beautiful Gare de Sud, formerly a train station, now a new food court. The outside architecture is beautiful, using local stones of differing types and colors as decoration. The surrounding buildings are Hausseman style reminiscent of Paris. The vestibule is equally as pretty. Opening the doors, we enter a new food court area. The first floor is take-out style food and seating. The upstairs has small food-related shops and a store where you buy clothes by the kilo! The Kilo Shop

Entrance to Gare de Sud

Beautiful Haussmann architecture  

Food Court area, originally designed by Gustav Eiffel

Buying a truffle. 

As we passed the Truffle store, Monique is tempted to buy a truffle as a treat to herself. These little mushrooms are like gold. Truffle lovers savor every bite of a truffle omelet or truffled rice or the many other truffle dishes.
For this reason, a kg (about 2.2 lbs) of truffle is 930 euros (over $1000)! The small truffle Monique chooses cost 13 euro (over $14). This purchase was not an easy one, Monique hesitated, as we would if buying a too expensive pair of shoes. At last, she gives in telling us it is a treat to herself.

The young truffle lady

A small truffle 

Monique’s charming apartment

With purchases in Monique’s handy panier, we walk to her charming apartment a few blocks from the market.  Her apartment looks out at a garden with lemon, orange, and fig trees and a huge blossoming mimosa tree.  The lemon tree has several huge ripe lemons ready to be picked (sigh). 

While Monique washed the vegetables and laid our work table, we drank water from a jug with lemon, orange slices, and mint.  

Amber and I are the only formal guests. Amber is in Nice on her own for two weeks before starting a new job and life in Indiana.  

Monique has invited her friend Katherine to join us.  Monique’s English is passable and she can get her point across but Katherine doesn’t speak English.  Both women are very friendly and we find ways to converse and enjoy each other’s company. 

Making Pan Bagnet 

 

We begin with a round bread then we cut it into a bowl shape with a top. 

We watched Monique efficiently sliced the vegetable using her mandolin.  The vegetables are so fresh!

The bread that’s leftover is crumbled and balsamic vinegar, oil, and chopped basil are added.  The crumbles are put back into the bread bowl, stuffed into the sides of the “bowl”.  After that, we added, slices of green pepper, celery, tomato, and artichoke.  We added tuna, hard-boiled eggs, grape tomatoes, and arugula and rocket lettuce.  Olive oil and balsamic vinegar were sprayed on top and we topped the sandwich with the little bread hat.

This is my finished product. It really is a little Nicoise salad (without the anchovies) sandwich one could bring on a beach picnic. 

After a little “bon appetite” and the pouring of the rose, we ate.  

Dessert and coffee

The meal was finished with a delicious Nicoise dessert made from Swiss Chard (Monique called it sweet chard).  Between the light dough, there is chopped swiss chard, apple, raisins, and pinenuts. Fruit can be added or exchanged as is available, but the main ingredient is swiss chard.  I would never have guessed there was chard in the pastry.  

A little espresso is offered and we say thank you and au revoir to Monique and Katherine.  

Booking activities in order to meet people prior to going on an extended trip is very beneficial. 

While planning my trip to Nice, I booked several activities for the first week. I wanted a way to meet people. I’m so glad I did because I’ve met so many interesting and friendly people that I keep bumping into them on the streets.  I’ve had one or two activities per day for the last 5 days. Some were prebooked, some spontaneous. 
Wednesday night, I went to a fascinating workshop given by an astrologer/counselor from California who lives part-time in Ville Franche. There were seven women and two men, we talked about signs, matching the characteristics to people we know, and it got quite lively.

Meeting an Expat group of women

Thursday night I met with a group of expat (or wannabe expat) women. It was fascinating to learn how they ended up in Nice. They described amazing lives living all over the world, many on their own. Everyone had a story and the talk was very inspirational!

Tonight, Friday I’m going to French/English language exchange at the local Anglican church! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

6 Comments

  • Lynn Duggan February 7, 2020 at 5:12 pm Reply

    Your writing is as beautiful as your culinary creation! What fun you are having! So envious!

  • Liane Partridge February 7, 2020 at 5:31 pm Reply

    This looks so exciting. That bowl sandwich I will attempt, however, my guess is that one cannot match that Bread! Brilliant to have lots of activities to do in the first week, rather than guessing what to do upon arrival.

  • Cheryl February 9, 2020 at 9:06 am Reply

    Wonderful pics and posts Kathy! Great website!

  • Sharen February 10, 2020 at 11:45 am Reply

    Looks delightful, Kathy! So appreciate your photos…

  • Dottie February 12, 2020 at 6:15 pm Reply

    I was so worried about you being alone. Whatever would make me think that? Your pictures are fantastic and I know you are having a wonderful time. So happy for you.

  • Bev February 28, 2020 at 8:10 am Reply

    I’m loving all this following your travels and adventures everyday Kath, especially given it’s cold and blowy here in February in Toronto. And I’m loving the comments, too! I think I’ll get dressed, put on my beret, slip my panier over my arm, and get out for a café au lait! LOL.

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