You might not have thought that Monaco, a tiny little country on the Mediterranean that has close ties to both France and Italy would have its own traditional food but it does.
The traditional food in Monaco is delicious and it should be considering it mixes both Italian and French cuisine, some of my favorite tastes, into some seriously tasty dishes.
Monaco is actually the second smallest country in the world and the locals tend to eat very light breakfasts followed by filling lunch and dinners. Being on the coast, the food in Monaco features quite a lot of delicious seafood too.
Think deep-tasting French stews, light flavorful Italian pasta, great cheese, and flavors from both the land and sea. Here is some of the best traditional food in Monaco.
Barbajuan is probably the most famous traditional food in Monaco. It’s so traditional in the fact that it’s actually Monaco’s national dish and is eaten most on the 19th of November each year on the country’s national day.
So, what is a Barbajuan? A barbajuan is like Monaco’s version of an empanada or the UK’s pasty. It’s basically a light and delicious fritter pastry traditionally stuffed full of top-quality Swiss chard and ricotta cheese.
The filling of a Barbajuan can vary greatly so don’t always expect it to be filled with Swiss chard and ricotta cheese. They can vary quite a lot and be filled with parmesan, spinach, onions, rice, leeks, and more.
They are very famous and popular in both France and Italy, as well as Monaco. You’re likely to find them at bakeries, cafes, and street vendors in Monaco.
When you bite into a barbajuan you’re going to taste a crispy, light, cheesy delight that is full of flavor and they are great as a snack when you’re walking around town.
If you enjoy French food then you will probably have stumbled upon bouillabaisse at some point in your culinary experiences. While it’s not technically a traditional food of Monaco, as it’s actually a traditional dish from Marseille, it’s so popular in Monaco that we couldn’t leave it off the list.
Bouillabaisse is a very deep-tasting and aromatic fish stew that is made from three different types of fish including red rascasse, sea robin, and European conger.
To make a bouillabaisse you have to cook three separate dishes which are then combined together at the end. The fish is cooked along with its seasoning and vegetables to perfection.
A rouille sauce is made by combining olive oil, cayenne pepper, breadcrumbs, cayenne pepper, garlic, and saffron. And then there is a separate vegetable broth made from celery, leeks, tomatoes, potato, and onions.
The rouille sauce and fish are combined onto one plate and the soup served on another alongside some fresh bread. When you go to serve yourself some bouillabaisse you should mix all the dishes into one bowl which will bring the full effect of the flavors out.
So, what does bouillabaisse taste like? The fish is mouthwateringly tender, flakes off perfectly, and is full of flavor from the aromatic herbs and spices add to the rouille sauce. The broth is rich, light, and deep in flavor. When combined with the fish and rouille and put onto a spoon or dipped on some fresh bread it is to die for.
You’ll find bouillabaisse at most restaurants in Monaco and it’s a particularly lovely dish to eat on a cool winter’s evening or a rainy lunchtime as it’s very warming.
You have most like heard of Gnocchi and you have probably thought like I always did, that gnocchi was a traditional food in Italy. Well, it is! But it’s also a traditional food in Monaco too.
I don’t know if you have ever tried to make gnocchi at home but it’s not a quick or tidy process. It takes time and usually you end up with flour everywhere. To make gnocchi you first have to make mashed potatoes.
Once ready you then add flour or semolina along with extras like bread crumbs, whisked eggs, and cheese until the mixture becomes quite a thick consistency.
You’ll then need to break the mixture into dumpling sizes portions and store them on a floured tray in the fridge until it’s time to cook them. Cooking them takes just 3 minutes in boiling water. If you don’t fancy making fresh gnocchi, you can just buy them ready to go at the supermarket.
Once ready, gnocchi is usually served with a sauce of some kind. Think sauces similar to basil pesto, creamy carbonara, and bolognaise.
In Monaco, gnocchi is traditionally eaten as an appetizer in small portions as they are very filling. It tastes like a soft and delicious potatoey pasta creation and is absolutely declivous when served with the right sauce.
Another traditional food in Monaco that was also borrowed from their neighbors, the Italians this time, is Porchetta, which is basically Monaco’s and Italy’s version of a delicious pig roast.
This pig roast is boneless and the pork is either rolled around a huge amount of butter, herbs, and spices, or it’s stuff with it. Once the herbs and spices are in there, the pork is wrapped in twine and roasted to perfection.
When it comes out of the oven, the outside is a delicious crispy tanned color while the inside is incredibly tender. It is absolutely yummy and explodes your taste buds, especially if you like pork.
Porchetta is usually served with a side of vegetables and potatoes or pasta even but less likely. It’s best eaten warm and then if you have cooked it at home, the put into delicious sandwiches the next day.
What could be more of a traditional food in Monaco than something that fuses both French and Italian food into one dish? Not much right and Pissaladière is just that. Again, this dish did not actually originate in Monaco and it;’s actually from southern France’s Nice region.
Pissaladière is a kind of pizza with a french twist, combining Italian and French cuisines right down the middle. In Nice, it’s actually eaten as a breakfast as it was traditionally cooked every morning.
Pissaladière is pretty much rolled-out pizza dough with scattered anchovies, black olive, and caramelized onions on the top. You can find it with quite a different range of topping on it and in Monaco, it’s served at bakeries and by street vendors.
It tastes quite lovely. The base is thin and crispy with a savory but spicy flavor and it tastes great both hot and cold.
Pan Bagnat directly translated in the local dialect from where it’s from (which is Nice) means bathed bread. It has become a traditional food in Monaco over time and you will find it at cafes, supermarkets, bakeries, it’s a great thing to pick up for a picnic or if you’re in need of a snack around town.
Pan Bagnat is made from a roll of whole wheat bread that is cook fresh on the day to perfection. You couldn’t expect anything less from the French now could you?! It’s then dressed with fresh salad, raw vegetables, anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, and then finished off with a dash of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
It tastes super fresh and healthy and has an excellent depth of flavor thanks to the variety of ingredients inside it. It’s also very filling so if you’re looking for an affordable meal in Monaco, Pan Bagnat is a great shout.
If you’re looking to head out for some breakfast while in Monaco then Socca should be the dish you’re trying to find. It’s incredibly popular breakfast food in Monaco and it’s not hard to see why.
Socca is pretty much a pancake or crepe but instead of being made of wheat flour, it’s made from chickpea flour instead. The chickpea flour is then mixed with eggs, milk, onions, olive oil, and delicious herbs such as rosemary and cooked to perfection. When served it’s usually cut into slices with some salt and pepper sprinkled on top.
You’ll find Socca from street vendors as it’s one of Monaco’s most popular street foods. It’s served hot and it tastes full of savory deliciousness. The outside is crispy and charred and the inside has a creamy soft texture and taste to it.
Fougasse is one of the most traditional foods in Monaco. It’s a flatbread that is made from wheat flour along with sage, rosemary, and thyme that is drizzled with olive oil before being baked. Think of it as Monaco’s version of Italy’s focaccia. It can even come served with topping like cheese depending on where you buy it from.
It’s a lot like focaccia when you try it but a little thicker and a bit more filling. You can really taste the herbs and it’s a lovely light accompaniment to a meal.
You’ll find Fougasse at most restaurants, bakeries, and even supermarkets in Monaco, plus some street vendors so you’ll have a lot of chances to try it.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!