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Food, Dining, & Drinks
Chicken in Monaco
Depending on the person and the circumstances, when to arrive for a meal in
Monaco varies. Generally business meetings begin close to the scheduled
time, but for most social occasions, be prepared for a few minute delay. Dining
out is common, but if you're lucky enough to be invited to a local's home,
be sure to bring a small gift.
Due to the country's laid back atmosphere and aura of exclusion, dining takes
on a fairly relaxed environment, but you will be judged on your dress and behavior,
so paying particular attention to these things is very important. You'll probably
be served wine and dinner will commence on the host's lead; be sure to keep
your napkin on your lap and eat in the continental style (knife in the right hand,
fork in the left).
You may be served multiple courses and you are expected to eat each dish you're
served. If you don't like something you're served you will soon run into
trouble, since you're expected to finish everything on your plate. Also, as
you eat in this social setting, avoid conversations about religion, politics, money,
and business (even with business partners), since eating is a time to socialize,
not a time to offend people.
Generally, when eating out, your bill will include a service change in
Monaco and no additional tip is expected. If service is exceptional, it
is not entirely uncommon to add an additional tip of up to 10%, but it is not necessary.
History & Influences
Monaco's diet begins with its location on the sea
as seafood dominates the menu. Among these fish, cod and anchovy are perhaps the
most common for food, although dozens exist. In addition to this, the country has
a great growing climate as numerous fresh fruits and vegetables, such as onions,
garlic, and olives (or olive oil) are readily available and incorporated into many
Although Monaco's cuisine is still fairly loyal to
its Mediterranean roots, the
French and Italians have also made a substantial
impact on the food. Multiple French dishes are common in Monaco as are Italian pastas.
There is no true staple food in Monaco. Many dishes are
cooked with olive oil or served with it as a dip or side. Additionally, as a
Mediterranean diet, fresh vegetables are common and found in nearly every
Regional Variations & Specialties
Barbagiuan: sweet pastry filled with rice, cheese, leeks, and either
pumpkin or spinach
Fougasse: another sweet pastry made from orange-infused pastry
and topped with nuts and anise seeds
Socca: pancakes made with chickpea flour
Stocafi: dried cod cooked in tomato sauce
Monaco is one of the world's smallest countries, yet
has access to just about everything. Tea, coffee, juices, soft drinks, and milk
are all widely available.
On the alcohol side, again, everything is available as both French
and Italian wines dominate the market. Other popular international
beers, wines, and hard liquors are also easily accessible. However, the national
drink is champagne and it has become somewhat of an institution to grab a glass
of the "bubbly" when dining out, even if just for lunch.
Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in Monaco,
but check with locals for any particular regional differences. Also, many people
may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly be
different from what your system is used to.
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