The menton lemon a gastronomic touchtone for great chefs

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The caviar of Menton!

The world of gastronomy and gourmet produce has nothing but praise for the Menton lemon. As with any great chef, nothing is left to chance. Each product is chosen for its flavour, originality, authenticity and effect on the taste buds. The Menton lemon is one of the products you must know. Many great chefs use it: Ducasse, Robuchon, Bocuse and Garrault, to name but a few. But of all of them, only Mauro Colagreco can boast of picking his lemons himself, in his garden, before highlighting their flavours in his dishes.
Two-Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco welcomes us into the kitchens of Mirazur, todescribe the subtlety of the Menton lemon.

– How long have you lived in Menton?

Six years. We had the chance to take over the restaurant Mirazur and we found the place very appealing, so much so that we decided to move here..

– How do you choose your ingredients?

We only choose seasonal ingredients and we try to follow an environmentally-friendly approach. We work with local artisans and producers as much as possible, for example, we buy our fish from the last fishing boat in Menton. As for lemons, we have 15 lemon trees in the restaurant’s gardens, alongside other citrus trees and all sorts of
vegetables growing in our kitchen garden.

– How would you describe the Menton lemon?

It has an extraordinary smell, thanks to Menton’s very specific climate. The variation in temperature between night and day during winter makes it different to other lemons. It has an exceptional aroma and a sweet taste. We try to pick them at the last possible minute, sometimes leaving them on the branch for a year. We then preserve the skin, for example. This year, we took inspiration from North Africa to create a recipe for preserved lemon, half sweet, half savoury… delicious! During the Lemon Festival, we also offer a special citrus menu.

– You mentioned North Africa, do you like to travel?

My cooking is inspired by travel. I am from Argentina, and I later moved to France. I have
travelled a lot, both during my childhood as well as for my current career. I like to draw inspiration from trends from all around the world, and I work with chefs with all kinds of backgrounds. Last year, working in groups of two or three, we created menus with chefs from Sweden, California and Brazil. I really like this attitude of learning about others, of meeting and exchanging with other cultures, and preserving this open-mindedness in
my restaurant is important to me. Our customers are also cosmopolitan. We have guests from Japan, Italy, South America and North America.

– Which spice do you recommend the most to accompany the Menton lemon ?

We serve olive oil flavoured with Menton lemons and Sichuan pepper. This pepper, which comes from China, is slightly electric. Combined with the subtlety of the lemon, it is a real voyage for your taste buds…
Spend a moment with Mauro Colagreco and you escape from reality; sample one of his dishes and your taste buds will be transported somewhere else entirely! Let yourself be whisked away…

photographie © Ville de Menton