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Barbagiuan, pissaladière, stockfish, fougasse…  Monegasque gastronomy offers many typical dishes with Mediterranean flavours.

The great chefs have often referred to it as the “sun-kissed cuisine.”  Inspired by the flavours of Provence and Italy, Monegasque gastronomy offers a wide variety of dishes based on olive oil and condiments, as well as vegetables, fish and seafood.  These specialities are sold at the market in Monaco and are also prepared by Michelin-starred chefs such as Alain Ducasse.

Monaco’s must-try culinary speciality is the Barbagiuan.  This is a small turnover or large raviolo filled with stuffing and fried in oil.  The stuffing is made of chard or spinach leaves (or squash in winter), rice, leeks and onions.  The recipes vary according to family traditions, but the legend behind this dish is well established.

Its creator is said to be a certain Mr. Jean, who decided to fry the chard ravioli he was going to serve.  Hence the name “Barba Juan,” or “Uncle Jean” in Monegasque …

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Another great culinary speciality is Stockfisch à la Monégasque (Monegasque-style Stockfish) (estocaficada).  From the 12th century onwards, the consumption of dried cod, which was originally a Scandinavian tradition, has spread throughout Europe.  In the region, the Vikings traded it for citrus fruits…

Stockfish is a stew of dried cod, rehydrated with olive oil, onion, garlic, black olives, herbs (rosemary and savory), and white wine.

Seafood is an important ingredient in many typical Monegasque recipes.

In keeping with its location between Italy, the South of France, and the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco’s culinary tradition features local versions of various dishes, including shrimp with pastis, stuffed sardines, and roasted cod with tomato sauce. That list now includes a new addition… Monaco-raised oysters. These “Pearls of Monte-Carlo” come from the hatchery in the Fontvieille district, at the foot of the Rock of Monaco.

At the Place d’Armes market in Monaco, you can try another renowned dish from the region – socca.  This is prepared from chickpea flour and olive oil and is ideally cooked in a wood-fired oven, on a large, round, tinned copper plate.

It can be eaten on the go, while strolling, or at a table, like the pissaladière, a speciality made from bread dough, onions, pissalat or anchovies, tomatoes, olive oil and small black olives from Nice.  This recipe was inspired by the piscialandrea of 14th century Ligurian cuisine, from the province of Imperia in Liguria.

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As for desserts, the fougasse is a classic of Monegasque gastronomy.  This pastry is decorated in the colours of the Monegasque flag, using red and white sugared aniseed.  This festive dish is iconic in Monaco and was served at two important events.

On the occasion of the 50th birthday of Prince Rainier III and the tenth anniversary of the accession of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, a “pièce montée” (showpiece) made of fougasses and a giant fougasse were handed out to Monegasques in the Place du Palais.

To accompany these dishes, Monegasques enjoy traditional drinks such as bitter orange liqueur.

The Distillerie de Monaco produces one in the traditional way, with oranges that grow in Monaco.  It also makes a digestif from the fruit of Monaco’s national tree, the carob.

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