It’s Carnival Time. Carnaval de Nice starts today which means, to put it bluntly, it’s time to pig out on “ganses“! Traditionally made for Mardi Gras, the last day when you can eat fat before Lent, ganses are delicious light deep-fried sweet pastries from Nice. The boulangeries are all groaning with them at this time of year.
You can find similar treats in many parts of France – called bugnes in Lyon, oreillettes in Provence, merveilles in Bordeaux and bougnettes in the Languedoc – but one of the distinguishing differences between other regions’ offerings and those from around here is that they are flavoured with orange flower water. In reality the regional differences are slight, it’s really only the name that changes.
Ganses (“li gansa” in the local Niçois language) are commonly know as “beignets de carnaval” (carnival doughnuts) as they are to carnival what crêpes are to Chandeleur – vital! They have a delicate taste and melt-in-the-mouth texture and are best served warm, lightly powdered with icing sugar.
Miam miam, bon ap’!