France Day 4 – Dinner @ Oliviera [Best Tiramisu!] (Nice)

After a long, exhausting day traveling to St. Paul de Vence, we returned to Nice for a low-key dinner at a local mom-and-pop restaurant, Oliviera. Run by an elderly couple, this eatery consists of a small shop that purveys olive oil from all over France (including those made by the proprietor), and 8-10 accompanying tables scattered throughout the tight space for serving rustic French fare. Although the decor is basic, the shop exudes warmth and authenticity (as far as we can tell as tourists, haha).

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The menu is extremely limited, consisting of only 1 page listing exactly 12 items. The old lady cooks in the open kitchen, and the old man takes orders and answers phones. We begin with the eggplant (aubergine) appetizer, seasoned and drizzled with olive oil. Simple, but fabulous!

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For the main courses, I ordered the tagliatelle with pesto sauce and red peppers, and AK ordered the homemade sausages with lentils. Both were prepared simply (and with *lots* of olive oil) but really showcase the produce of this region (and are delicious!). I especially can’t over how sweet the red peppers are!

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The only dessert being offered that day was tiramisu. Now, I am not a fan of tiramisu, usually finding the consistency too mushy or the rum too overpowering. That night, however, we decided to give it a try at the suggestion of old man (it is hard to say no to a jolly old grandpa wearing farmer pants…). We were certainly not disappointed! The tiramisu itself had a perfect balance of flavor, without too much alcohol, the cream tasted extremely fresh, and most importantly of all, there was a secret ingredient – olive oil! When our tiramisu arrived, the old man appeared with a bottle of olive oil and started POURING it onto the plate. Seeing the panicked expression on our faces, the old man exclaimed, “Just try! You will see!” Well, he was right. The olive oil he paired with the tiramisu had undergone a special fermentation process, which allows it to bring out the sweetness of the dessert. Altogether, the unique flavor combination was just so delightful, with each element complementing the others. While I’ve had desserts before that incorporated olive oil as an ingredient (e.g., Sam’s Sundae at Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco, which is chocolate ice cream with bergamot olive oil, sea salt and whipped cream), none of them have been able to achieve the same level of harmony. I really think this was the BEST tiramisu I’ve ever tasted! (Second picture below shows how creamy the inside is…though photos really don’t do it justice.)

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We find out that in a prior life, this old man worked for years and years in the finance industry (though he denied this, “Don’t believe everything you read!”). Presumably, this is now a hobby for him. We admire the fact that he lives simply, has no desire to maximize profits and only serves what his wife cooks that day. It is worlds apart from the general commercialization of restaurants on both continents!

Oliviera
8 Bis, rue du Collet
06300 Vieux Nice, France
33 04 93 13 06 45
www.oliviera.com

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