We spoke with Cindy Hoddeson director meeting & incentive sales for Visit Monaco to learn about fun F&B meetings/events.
Q: How can planners use food to create more local group experiences?
A: The Principality and the neighboring French and Italian Rivieras have a mild climate conducive to growing grapes, olives and lemons. Our destination management companies have created an array of activities enabling groups to discover the culture through regional products. Interactive workshops can be organized in Monaco or in the neighboring perched medieval village of Eze. Stands are set up at which one can learn about honey, tapenade (a savory olive spread) and local wines. Themed evenings can be organized featuring a trilogy of cuisines representing Monaco, France and Italy.
Q: What are some of your most popular restaurants?
A: Popularity is gained for many reasons which may include a famed Michelin chef, a spectacular view, a historic venue or perhaps the setting of a well known film. The Principality, though less than a square mile, is home to numerous fine restaurants and talented chefs who nourish the imagination. Monegasque three Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse celebrated the 25th anniversary of Louis XV, located in the Hotel de Paris, a year ago. Joel Robuchon, the most decorated Michelin Chef, has two establishments in Monaco: Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo and Yoshi. Restaurants with incomparable views include the one Michelin star Vistamar at the Hotel Hermitage, the rooftop Horizon at the Fairmont Monte Carlo and Le Saint Benoit. Top brasseries include the Café de Paris with decor dating from 1900 and the Quai des Artistes, in the port area. Friendly, casual and welcoming establishments with Italian cuisine fill the rue du Portier. Top picks include Pulcinella, La Piazza and Mozza.
Q: Are there any special culinary-themed tours, venues and/or events in Monaco?
A: Where else to hold a culinary event but in the local food market? Monaco’s Marche Condamine, an indoor and outdoor farmer’s market, can be privatized for special events. Food stations feature specialties from Monaco (socca, pissaladiere, barbagiuans), Italy (charcuterie, pasta, cheese), Corsica (charcuterie and cheeses), along with seafood, organic products and wonderful French and Italian desserts.
The indoor space can accommodate 350 guests cocktail style and 220 for sit-down dinners. The outdoor space can hold up to 150 guests for sit-down dinners and up to 1,500 guests should one wish to use the public area (summer season only). Entertainment and décor can be customized. The Palladienes, a Monegasque folk dance group, is ideal for group programs.