InFocus Q&A: Tasting Local Culture

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Cindy Hoddeson, director of meeting/incentives sales, VisitMonaco
Cindy Hoddeson, director of meeting/incentives sales, Monaco Government Tourist Office


We spoke with Cindy Hoddeson, director of meeting and incentive sales for the Monaco Government Tourist Office, about tasting local culture by integrating it into food and beverage programs.

Q: Are there any hands-on food & beverage experiences that planners can integrate into programs?

A: Vineyards, olive groves and lemon orchards are part of our landscape. Our Michelin-starred chefs and grandmothers would be lost without olive oil, lemon juice and, of course, grapes. Cooking classes, wine tastings and degustations of the region’s best olive oils with homemade breads can be organized. Participants can also create their own Nicoise salad with ingredients of their choice. Bon Appetit.

Q: Are there any local venues that you can recommend for an authentic local fare/cultural experience?

A: Monaco’s Marche Condamine, an indoor/outdoor farmers market can be privatized for special events. Food stations feature seafood and organic products, as well as specialties from Monaco, Italy, Corsica and France. Indoor space can accommodate up to 350 guests cocktail-style with room for 1,500 in the outdoor public area during the summer season. Décor and entertainment can be easily customized—we recommend The Palladiennes, a Monegasque folk dance group.

The Brasserie of Monaco was originally founded by Prince Albert I in 1905 and later modernized by the world’s oldest brewery equipment manufacturer, Kaspar Schulz, in 2008. The 264-gallon stainless steel brewhouse, with its five fermenting tanks, four service tanks and an innovative, entirely automated brewing system, overlooks Monaco Harbor and the Prince’s Palace. The brewery can be privatized any day of the week, with combined indoor/outdoor space for 1,000 guests cocktail-style.

Q: Can you recommend any “must try” dishes specific to your destination?

A: Many visitors and guests of the Principality are familiar with Monaco’s cuisine—a fusion of southern French, Northern Italian and Mediterranean. What many don’t know is the story of a world renowned dessert. Monte Carlo was born in 1863 and the crepe suzette was born in 1896 at the Café de Paris, where the future King of England, Edward VII, dined one evening in the company of a young woman.

For dessert, Chef Henry Carpenter had the idea of serving crepes with Grand Marnier and orange juice. But inadvertently, the pancakes caught fire. He served them to the Prince just the same, who found them delicious and decided to give them the name of his young guest: Suzette. Celebrate your event in grand style with crepes suzettes—a dessert fit for a king.


Monaco Farmers Market
Farmers Market, Monaco


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