Mille-feuille, Madeleine, Tarte-tatin, Strawberry Tartelette, crème brûlée,… are you drooling?
There’s something to say about our desserts in France. First, they are incredibly delicious! Second, they all hide a story. The story of how they came to life; some where mistakes gone delicious, or marvels made to impress royalty and others… came from a beautiful love story.
I guess France is not called the country of love for no reasons!
Those sweets are now part of our legacy and our traditions. And since we adore love stories even more than we love our traditions, we wanted to share some of our favorites with you!
Have you heard about our French Calissons? And our Papillotes? We grew up eating those delicacies and they both hide a beautiful love story.
Les Calissons - A Royal Affair
A distinct shape and a complex flavour, the Calisson hasn’t change for centuries and is still the go-to sweet to offer as a high-end welcome gift or to put on the Christmas table.
I know some French people favour it as an after diner treat in front of the TV, but you’ll find me eating it with my afternoon coffee or tea feeling like royalty…
Do you know Provence? This French region that smells of lavender, glows with sun and sings the cicadas chant. Well, according to the local legend, in 1454, the King Le Roy René offered a brand new sweet to his beloved wife, the young Queen Jeanne de Laval. And when she asked the name of this delicacy, he answered it was “little hugs”: "Di calin soun” in Provencal language. Hence came the name Des Calisson.
Aw… So sweet! And now the tradition continues: offering a box of Calissons is offering a bit of sweetness from Provence.
I can tell you as a kid you despise the delicate orange taste but as an adult you can’t get enough of it and it’s always a welcomed gift!
A complex mixture of finely ground almonds, candied Provençal melon and orange peel, set on a thin layer of wafer and toped with royal icing.
Les Papillotes - From a Creative Lover
One of our most beloved tradition as a kid (and big kid!), this little treat is once more a famous guest at the French Christmas table.
Bonbon, chocolate or Pate de fruit (my favorite!) - the sweets are lovingly wrapped in a shiny paper and… a little note! Usually a smart joke or a puzzle but sometimes just pieces of wisdom. You can say it’s our Chinese biscuit I guess - but waaaay tastier (I mean we come for the sweet, here!)
The papillotes were birthed in Lyon, during the French Revolution (1789) from a tragic love story.
In the Terreaux neighbourhood, the confectioner Monsieur Papillot noticed that he was missing chocolates. Someone was stealing from him! He soon discovered that his apprentice fell in love with a young woman living upstairs, above the atelier. Shy, he was sending chocolates to her wrapped with love notes. The story doesn’t say if she ever responded but it turned to tragedy when the apprentice was fired even if Monsieur Papillot found the idea excellent! Later, he decided to sell the sweets wrapped in a shiny paper and replace the love notes with jokes, sayings, little drawings and puzzles. And gave his name to the treat!
Like the Calisson, the papillotes symbolise our shared love for delicacies and fine food between friends, family and lovers.
Bonbon, chocolate or Pate de fruit… you never know what will be waiting for you in a papillote, only that it will be a treat for your taste buds!
Try them yourself!