If you ever end up in Monaco, Monte Carlo or La Condamine, know that this dwarf country isn’t just about casinos and Formula One.
Despite the small number of inhabitants and less than one square mile of land, it has a distinct culture. It takes many forms too, from architecture and historical identity to everyday modes of living.
One of the best ways to find out what it’s like to be Monegasque is to eat their food. True, a lot of it was adopted from the Italian or the French. However, there are a few dishes that are distinctly Monacan.
For one thing, they have originated somewhere in the region. Besides that, they also taste the best in Monaco rather than anywhere else in the world.
4 Local Monegasque Dishes
The dishes that you must taste while you’re in Monaco are:
- Pan Bagnat
- Ligurian Pesto
Let’s start off with what’s considered the National Dish of Monaco. Barbagiuan comes from the Ligurian heritage and should please travellers who would sell the family silver for a pastry.
It’s essentially a crisp-fried cake with Swiss chard and ricotta filling. This popular snack even has a national day in the country when everyone eats it. Visit Monaco on the 19th of November and you’ll see for yourself.
2. Pan Bagnat
Also well-known in Nice, France, Pan Bagnat is a popular street food choice for locals and tourists alike. Simply put, it’s a sandwich that looks like a hamburger but is stuffed with veggies instead.
Monacans wouldn’t be Monacans if they didn’t prefer healthy food options. So, Pan Bagnat is a perfect example of that, despite being served as fast food.
The ingredients often used in it are:
- Olive oil
- Tomato juice
- Sweet Pepper
- Other vegetables and seafood (depending on the season)
It’s the kind of food you’ll have to choose if you’re eating outside. Otherwise, you aren’t getting the real Monaco experience.
Monacans love fish. It might be because they have easy access to the goods offered by the Mediterranean. So, it’s no wonder that dishes like Brandamincium are loved there.
In other words, it’s a salted cod stew. The fish is cooked in a cream that’s massively seasoned with local spices and ingredients. Like many other foods there, it’s served with a variety of vegetables.
The exact serving might differ from one kitchen to another. What stays the same, though, is the salted cod. It’s also served at Christmas time but you may enjoy it at any time of the year.
4. Ligurian Pesto
It’s not technically a dish but rather an ingredient for making some amazing dishes. Still, we have to mention Ligurian Pesto since it’s so much better than other sauces of this type.
The secret? Pesto originated in this region, so they have been perfecting their recipes for the longest time. The ingredients used in making it are garlic, basil, pine nuts, several types of cheese and extra virgin olive oil.
All of that is ground by hand instead of a blender too. That’s a crucial step in enriching the taste. Traditionally, pesto is used in pasta dishes but there are many other ways the local chefs may use it.