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Aix-en-Provence Food Scene: Bon Appétit!

April 14, 2014
by CEA MOJO
I think it is universally acknowledged that one of the most important (and enjoyable) aspects of living and traveling abroad is the cuisine. As I was wandering around Aix yesterday on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I really realized just how food-oriented it is (perhaps because there's simply not much else to do besides sit at a café on Cours Mirabeau, participate in the all-too-common practice of people-watching, and enjoy an Aixoise dish at the most leisurely pace possible). It is a town in which aesthetics reign supreme--the pastries are works of art, the landscape is a living painting, the people are chic but relaxed. So where does one go to partake in this delightfully delicious cuisine? If you don't feel like consulting TripAdvisor the next time you're looking for a place to eat, here's a few secret finds that I'll gladly pass along.
 Crêpes à GoGo

First, whether you've been granted the gift of a very prominent sweet tooth or not, stopping by Crêpes à GoGo and ordering the L'Africaine chocolate crêpe with whipped cream is an absolute MUST. While Crêpes à GoGo is hardly a secret, hidden gem, it is located underground and can be a bit hard to find. Don't let the tunnel running below the road discourage you, though. I must confess, the first time I stumbled upon this place, I think I stood mesmerized in front of the counter for at least 5 minutes, watching the ever-so-smooth crêpe-making process. Fortunately for my wallet and my waist, my daily route to class doesn't involve passing here, but every time I do walk by, I almost always give in to the sweet smelling aroma of fresh whipped cream and melted dark chocolate. Now, having been inspired by the sheer deliciousness of the savory crêpes, I've started to make my own at home, and am proud to say that they could surely rival Crêpes à Gogo--or at least I like to think so. 
 Sunday afternoon picnic with a bunch of baguettes

For the best baguettes in all of Aix, there's one bakery that I found fairly early on in the semester. It's located on Rue d'Italie and has "Boulangerie" written in black all over the exterior. There's something unearthly about these baguettes... I have absolutely no idea what their secret is, but whatever it is, it's genius. The best time to go is right after they've taken a tray of fresh loaves out of the oven, so that they're warm to the touch. I've learned that the way to judge bread around here is to listen. Break off a piece of the baguette and see if it crackles. The outside should be a bit crispy, while the inside is warm and doughy. Now this place is actually right on my route to class, and for only 75 centimes, I've many-a-morning stopped by and gotten a freshly made baguette (that rarely lasts me through the day). Without a doubt, I will miss this Boulangerie dearly.
 First time trying Pizza Capri

Located right off of Cours Mirabeau, there is a pizza stand called Pizza Capri. Having been to five different cities in Italy for my spring break, I now feel like my judgment of the perfect slice of pizza has gained much more worth. And I must say, after trying some of the best of the best in Italy, I think Pizza Capri is certainly among my favorite (and not too pricey, either!). Personally a lover of mushrooms, I always go for the mushroom topped pizza, but I don't believe you could really go wrong with any choice. The vendors heat the slice up just before they hand it to you, and make sure it's soft and warm. Unfortunately, I don't think I could possibly ever recreate (or even slightly mimic) the pizza at Pizza Capri, but that just makes it that much more delicious!

Emily Blume is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Aix-en-Provence, France. She is currently a Sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh.

 


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