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A Guide to the 13 Desserts of Provence

Our writer rolls out the 13 desserts of Provence whose tradition dates back to the early 1900s.

Calissons

Calissons, Provence’s popular almond- and fruit-based treats, are king at La Confiserie du Roy René.

1. Black nougat
Made with caramelized honey. Delightful.

2. White nougat
Soft and chewy, studded with almonds and pistachios.

3. Raisins
Gross.

4. Other dried fruit, such as apples and figs
Okay, fine.

5. Dates
Delish.

 

 

6. Candied fruit
Like a beautiful nightmare.

7. Walnuts
A nice break from all the raisins.

8. Hazelnuts
Would be better if covered in chocolate.

9. Fresh fruit, including oranges, clementines and pears
Always welcome.

10. Calissons d’Aix
A dainty local treat: where marzipan meets macaron.

11. Quince paste
Where’s the cheese?

12. Pompe à l’huile
It’s essential. An olive oil-and citrus-infused bread that can range from cakelike to cardboard.

13. Newbies
These may include such modern takes as homemade marshmallows, biscotti and a bûche de Noël.


Calissons 101

Calissons (pictured) are a delicate mixture of finely ground sweet almonds, sugar and candied Provençal melon and orange peel set upon paper-thin wafers and topped with a delicate sheen of royal icing. One tale has it that they were invented in 1454 in Aix-en-Provence when the Good King René d’Anjou, Count of Provence, wanted to turn his new wife’s frown upside down. As Jeanne de Laval nibbled at the smile-shaped treats, she beamed, “What do you call these delights?” “Di calins souns (these are little hugs),” came the answer. They’re also your perfect food souvenir.

La Confiserie du Roy René, 5380, rte d’Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, calisson.com

Tags

CHRISTMAS     DESSERT     FRANCE     PROVENCE    

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