What’s it like to attend the Cannes Film Festival and to walk the red carpet? Thanks to S. Pellegrino, the well-known drinks company and official festival partner with Nestlé, I was fortunate to experience the festival at close hand. As part of their new global initiative, Itineraries of Taste, they created the first ever S. Pellegrino Taste Experience in Cannes. S. Pellegrino and their sister brand Acqua Panna have long been associated with good taste and they’ve designed an exciting international content hub to inspire people to explore new flavors and tastes. Bringing together people from around the world who share a love of food and travel, it will include taste guides for more than 30 cities worldwide. There’ll also be a spotlight on ingredients and famous recipes as well as a S. Pellegrino Club where users will share their expertise and gain access to exclusive content.
S. Pellegrino have always been innovative since its founding in 1889 and for this Taste Experience they selected a group of European digital influencers with the tough mission of immersing ourselves in the festivities in Cannes. The event kicked off with an aperitif in the magnificent rooftop bar of the luxurious Five Seas Hotel, with its quirky decor throughout.
The cocktails incorporated S. Pellegrino drinks and were very refreshing. It was the perfect introduction to our hosts and also tour fellow influencers. We soon discovered that we had a lot in common – mainly an obsession with food, style and travel!
We then headed to the S. Pellegrino beach for dinner prepared by Italian chefs based in France, Giovanni Passerini and Simone Tondo. S. Pellegrino are keen champions of the finest cuisine. I recently attended the UK launch of their international talent search to find the best Young Chef in the world and subsequently, the UK & Ireland Final. The setting was magical and we sipped Champagne Piper-Heidsieck whilst hearing the waves lapping on the beach.
Dinner was an impressive affair with an unusual starter of red prawns, pine nuts and wild herbs.
Our fish course was a steam cooked turbot accompanied by white asparagus and capers. I felt that the fish could have done with a little more seasoning but I certainly enjoyed its delicate flavour.
The meat course was a triumph, a coda alla vaccinara ravioli from Pastificio Passerini with celery, mint and peas. Pastificio Passerini is Giovanni’s Parisian pasta shop and this was perfectly al dente.
I’m always a sucker for cheese and our radish burrata with fig oil, Chaource mustard, grapefruit and marjoram didn’t disappoint.
As for the last course, cherries, basil and yogurt ice cream, it blended hot and cold elements in a very successful way.
Our final treat was a Baci Perugina chocolate – it means kiss and it certainly kissed our tastebuds with layers of dark chocolate, chopped nuts and crunchy hazelunt.
The next morning we set out to explore the culinary delights of Cannes, armed with the Cannes Taste Guide. I know the area and its glamorous neighbouring towns fairly well as I used to live in France, so was delighted to see the Food Market featuring prominently in the guide. It’s one of those places where locals love to shop…just take a look at the fruit and vegetables on display…
And those gorgeous flowers!
The Taste Guide also includes quite a few hidden gems, a subject close to my heart as regular readers will know, such as Délices Lamarque which sells some fantastic honey. I also discovered La Belle-Iloise which sells canned sardines, mackerel tuna and other fish delicacies.
The old town of Cannes has some attractive restaurants to discover…
Whilst Paul headed off to Monaco, I ventured up towards the castle where there was a fantastic view of the Film Festival.
On my way back down I passed one of the Cannes Fait le Mur giant posters exhibited at Cannes during the festival.
The town also has some all-year round murals such as this one…
And I also took a look around the port, where the have-yachts had moored up for the festival.
After all that walking, I’d worked up an appetite and lunch at the Villa Ratapoil was beckoning. With a red carpet of its own and champagne on ice, it really was an idyllic experience.
Fellow Brit Marie and I couldn’t resist posing for a photo by the poolside.
There was even a Woody Allen lookalike playing the piano 😉
Returning to our hotel, there was a pleasant surprise awaiting the ladies… A team of hair and makeup stylists to make us red-carpet ready. I went for a ‘banana’ updo as they’re known in France. The atmosphere in Cannes during the festival really is electric and part of that is due to the elegant outfits of the festival-goers. Inside the Hotel Majestic, guests were milling around in their finery. We were whisked past them to the rooftop, where a champagne reception awaited us.
The views towards the Festival Hall were incredible, in fact it’s the highest rooftop in the centre of town.
If I hadn’t have been dressed in an evening gown, I’d have happily taken a swim in that pool!
Now the red carpet was beckoning and we headed outside to make that iconic walk. We even got papped by one of the photographers on our way up the steps. It was such a fun experience, and it seemed for a moment as if time had slowed down. Yet soon enough, we were being encouraged to go inside before the film started. We were lucky to see the final film in the competition, Forushande or The Salesman. Directed by Asghar Farhadi who is well known for A Separation, it was a bit of a slow burner although it was awarded Best Screenplay. The actors were fantastic, in particular Shahab Hosseini who won best actor for his role as a husband venging his on-screen wife. She is played by Taraneh Alidoosti and reminds me of a young Isabella Rossellini. The last time I saw such a dark film was the Argentinian El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in their eyes) in 2009, which I preferred for its taut plotline. At any rate this was a great overall experience and a truly fitting finale to our Cannes experience.
Have you ever visited Cannes? Are there any cities that you would like to see included in the Itineraries of Taste guides?