A summer in South of France, without cicadas and crickets is not a real summer for some of us. They are right eventually: Hoo “peuchère” it’s nice to enjoy the warmth of Provence, the beautiful countryside of Aix-en-Provence, the song of the cicadas… and a delicious calisson!
The Calisson of Provence: A Timeless Delicatessen
So yummy this calisson made of marzipan! This little candy with its funny shape is a real delight for those who are fond of almonds! In the city of Aix-en-Provence, it is stated that the real calisson, the original one was created there and nowhere else of course. It remains primarily a real French treat.
The french calisson is not a simple matter of sweet delicatessen, it is sacred, blessed even, and is honoured during the Great Calisson festival in September, in Aix en Provence.
But Where Does the Calisson Come From?
A legend says that this little cake was invented in 1437 for the wedding reception of Roy René, Count of Provence and Jeanne de Laval. A pastry chief of the court created the calisson in honor of his new queen. While tasting it and discovering such a sweet treat, she would have smiled of happiness.
Historians lean toward a wiser invention: the calisson would be part of the traditional desserts of the Greeks and Romans. The history of the french calisson is often linked to the devastating plague that the country experienced in 1630. It was said that the calisson could protect people against this scourge.
The Recipe of the Original Calisson of Aix
Anyway, this little sweet triangle remains a delight. The calissonniers are, you understood it, calissons manufacturers and calissons manufacturing process involves several steps:
- making of a paste made of almonds, local melons, candied oranges and syrup,
- this preparation is gently spread on a sheet of wafer paper,
- this sheet is covered with a topping made with sugar, egg whites and vanilla, often called royal icing.
The preparation is cut into pointed, oval shapes, as the traditional calisson we know. Before being tasted, calissons are cooked at very low heat.
In the South of France, when we talk about calisson, we also think of the 13 Christmas desserts of Provence. The little candy is a luxurious product that has found its place among the nuts, mendiants and nougats. There are many less traditional flavored calissons such as chocolate, lemon or violet.
At ROY chocolatier, tradition is very important and our french calissons are authentic and made by craftsmen who respect the original recipe.