For several years, I went to Cannes for the film and television festival. It was called MIP-TV, (Le Marche International des programmes de Television). There we would spend five or six days in a decent hotel, with a wide variety of restaurants at our disposal.
Our boss used to stay at The Carlton Hotel, probably the most expensive on the front. On one occasion, he invited the rest of us to dinner at the hotel. There were five of us at the dinner and we got our first introduction to Nouvelle Cuisine. It looked nice, it tasted nice, but it was served on a dessert plate and it was barely a couple of mouthfuls. We thanked the boss for his generosity and then went to find another restaurant where we could eat a proper meal.
Visiting Cannes over a number of years, allowed me to sample a variety of restaurants. We would not pay the prices asked for on La Croissette by the restaurants and the principal hotels. We went up the side streets where the locals ate. Little restaurants like Olivier’s were a haven of peace and a provider of excellent meals and wines.
A favourite of mine was the Burgoine restaurant which was opposite the Rail Station in Cannes. There one could partake of wonderful Spaghetti Bolognese accompanied by their house wine (not forgetting starting with a soupe de poisson with rouille – Ian).
Although the prices were quite high in Le Cannet, the novelty of eating in the old town was worth the extra. I never found an unsatisfactory restaurant in Cannes during a period of fourteen years.
Sometimes, we would venture into the country where, in a small village, one could find an excellent restaurant the equal of any in Cannes itself.
Several restaurants were visited in the Rue D’Antibes, which, although close to La Croissette, did not charge exorbitant prices.
We used to visit a restaurant at the extreme western end of La Croissette. It specialised in sea foods (as did many others). Tables outside were often occupied by parties sharing a huge plate of mixed seafoods such as oysters, lobster, crab, whelks, mussels, prawns and calamari. We would normally sit inside eating fish such as Sea Bream (Daurade). This would be cooked in a comparatively simple fashion, for example Meuniere or Daurade au Four, which is baked in the oven.
On my last visit to Cannes, we ate at a restaurant on the Boulevard Midi. There, I sampled for the first time a Bourride.
Ingredients: A kilo and a half of white fish. Aoili, Herbs, seasoning, eight eggs.
For the Bourride, you need three types of white fish. These could be Whiting, Rock Eel, Sea Bream or Bass. The total weight should be a kilo and a half. Cut the fish cross wise into sizeable chunks.
In a large frying pan, place a finely sliced Spanish Onion, a sprig of fennel and thyme and a bay leaf. Place the fish on top and add a litre and a half of hot water, season with salt and pepper. Boil for twenty minutes.
Place eight pieces of sliced bread in a dish, pour over sufficient fish stock to soak them.
Then mix six tablespoons of Aioli to eight egg yolks in a saucepan. Slowly add the rest of the fish stock. On a medium heat, stir the mixture until it become a thickish cream. Pour the mixture over the slices of bread.
Serve the fish separately with Aoili in a sauce boat.
Next chapter: Chapter 102: New Year’s at The Rose and Crown