xtraWine in France: The Nice Carnival

xtraWine is in France for the Nice Carnival. The 2023 edition of the Nice Carnival is extraordinary: it is the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Carnival and the celebration of the inscription of Nice on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the ‘Winter Resort Town of the Riviera’. But what are the origins of this grand event? Let’s look at some curiosities together.

Where does the Nice Carnival originate?

The origins of the Nice Carnival date back to the Middle Ages and relate to the Easter period. At that time, during the forty days of Lent, the people of Nice were absolutely forbidden to eat. Thus, to try to cope with this enforced fast, citizens began eating very fatty foods in the days preceding the beginning of Lent. Moreover, to further distract themselves from the privations that awaited them shortly after, they also began to disguise themselves and walk around the city streets, making fun of their fellow citizens, never showing their faces.

However, the first allegorical floats were created in 1873, when they began to parade through the city. Even today, some of these historical floats still grace the parades in the main streets of Nice.

This year, we can expect even more colourful floats to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of this incredible French event. Moreover, this colourful celebration will be enhanced by a unique visiting carnival: the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, which will be present at the opening ceremony.

The Battle of the Flowers today and in the past

One of the most anticipated events of the Nice Carnival is the Battle of the Flowers. It was held for the first time in 1876 as a simple exchange of flowers with tourists. Over time, however, it became a real opportunity to valorise the work of local producers. Since 2005, almost all the flowers used have been produced locally.

The flowers of Nice
The flowers of Nice

Three days before the parades, local producers, with the help of botanical experts, attach, or rather ‘pluck’, their fresh flowers one by one to adorn the floats! As a result, there are fifteen or so floats decorated precisely with fresh flowers, surrounded and preceded by street performers.

In addition, there are models on each float, masked, who throw flowers at the public. These are flowers of all kinds: gladioli, gerberas, daisies and, of course, mimosas, the flower that is the symbol of the city of Nice. In addition, the flowers that remain at the end of each parade are given to the public. The aim is precisely to highlight the extraordinary local flower production.

Beyond the Battle of the Flowers

The Battle of the Flowers is just one of the events. The Nice Carnival lasts for a fortnight, during which there are several themed parades, both day and night. Alongside these parades are numerous other shows, such as musical groups, some of international fame, jugglers, musicians, and dancers.

Nice Carnival - The King
The King of the Nice Carnival

The public focuses on the floats, which are themed to the chosen subject from the previous spring. For this reason, the Carnival’s subject changes every year and is inspired by traditional themes such as allegories, satire, and caricatures, including political and social events.

For 2023, the theme of the Nice Carnival is ‘King of the World’s Treasures’: in June 2021, UNESCO recognised Nice as the ‘Winter Resort Town of the Riviera‘. This is why the Carnival is dedicated to highlighting the world’s wonders. In the floats, one can admire not only the wonders of France but also those of China, the Orient, and Italy; in short, the wonders of the world!

Another novelty is planned for this 2023 Carnival: some floats will be moved by electricity, and all materials will be biodegradable. In this way, like so many other cities around the world, Nice is becoming a spokesperson for the importance of environmental protection.

Ganses: The Nice Carnival treat

Like any self-respecting festival, Carnival has its characteristic desserts. In Nice, Ganses are the Carnival’s flagship. Ganses are fried sweets made of flour, eggs, sugar, butter, and yeast. Then, they are flavoured with orange blossom water or grappa. Once fried, they are sprinkled with icing sugar.

Ganses: The Nice Carnival’s Treat

What to drink with this delicacy? xtraWine recommends an excellent Italian sparkling wine

Cocchi Asti Spumante

Cocchi Asti Spumante

In the mouth, it reveals a delightful balance between freshness and sweetness, with long persistence and is therefore ideal to accompany these fried sweets! On the nose, it presents a vinous bouquet on first taste, which then develops into fruity scents and floral notes of acacia and honey.

By the way, look at the numerous xtraWine’s wine proposals! You will find the ideal wine to toast in joy this Carnival 2023!


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