Starting from the Mediterranean coast in Nice, all you have to do is follow the olive trees. They lead you through rugged landscapes, gorges as red as Mars, and perched villages reminiscent of Tibet. On the horizon, the mountain peaks of Corsica rise from the sea. A place where civilizations meet, torn between the call of the sea and the call of the mountains, the Salt Road follows a timeless valley – La Roya.
Since the Bronze Age people have accessed the coast carrying salt from the Camargue to the Upper Roya through drailles, hidden paths used by local traders and their mules. In 1458, the Duke of Savoy introduced La Gabelle, a specific tax on the salt trade. And when the County of Nice came under the control of the House of Savoy in 1581, the entire area between Nice and Piedmont became a single territory. Shortly after the Nice-Piedmont road – the Salt Road – was born following the ancient paths.
The Salt Road, also known as the Royal Road, is the route we invite you to discover on our new culinary tour in the company of your very own French chef. Starting from the sea, find Mediterranean products such as citrus, olive, chickpeas, and a very colorful cuisine. Continuing to the ‘white cuisine’ of the Roya Valley discover dairy products, wild plants, honey, root vegetables, and edible flowers. In Piedmont taste hazelnut, game, white truffles, chocolate and explore the world capital of slow food movement in the medieval city of Bra.
The diversity of the food is reflected in an even more varied landscape encompassing the French Riviera, magnificent Alps, the Piedmont lakes and the remote Barolo vineyards, not to mention the different cultures one encounters along the way from Occitan-Provençal, Ligurian and Piedmontese to Celtic and Roman.
Without giving away all the surprises, some of the authentic experiences to look forward to are truffle hunting in the woods with a “trifolau” and his dog, the fascinating world of Barolo & Barbaresco wines, cheese making and tasting in magical Mercantour at a local producer, cooking classes with a professional chef, and dining in picturesque settings.
The Salt Road is an original way to discover both France and Italy, their connections with each other, and the off the beaten path places where eating and drinking are a living art!