Some of the main inspiration for Riviera Kitchen came from our visits to the city of Menton, and their ubiquitos lemons. As usual, Segolene and I found a way to get lost, in this small, simply laid out city!! As we rambled around searching for the market, with my mother in tow, we found our way to the tourism office, only to find that we were really in the city of Roquebrune!!
So yes, it is a miracle that we stumbled upon the charming and slightly run down market of Menton. The market itself is situated directly on the seaside and housed in a gloriously dilapidated Belle Epoque structure built in 1898 by famed local architect Adrien Rey.
The market is just the right size to feel at home, with only 30 vendors, and after just a few visits you feel like you know everyone. One of our favorites stops is at the cheese vendor at “La Ferme.” He has an amazing assortment of local goat cheeses produced in small quantities from the “arriere pays” or hinterland behind the coast of Nice.
He explained that the cheesemaker himself comes to the market a few times a week to drop off his goods. The goat cheese sold here is also supplied to Alain Ducasse’s famous Louis XV restaurant, at a more reasonable price surely 😉
The real deal is found around the backside of the market where a handful of small local producers come to sell their citrus, preserves and fresh produce. Most of them were too shy for our camera but we got pictures of their goods!! If you have the chance to visit, look around for a lovely grey haired vendor who sells preserves she makes in her own kitchen. The sour orange was a special treat, very tart and very authentic.
If you happen to stick around Menton, follow the avenue of palm trees from the market to the seaside (about one block) and saunter down the promenade to the Jean Cocteau Museum, decorated and adorned by the artist himself before his death. There is a new one under construction that promises to be quite an impressive architectural monument.
Covered Market of Menton
Place aux Herbes, Menton, France
Open everyday from 5am (5:30 in winter months) until 1pm