two years ago we caught up with the Marseille episode of "Bizarre Food: Delicious Destinations" to see which French food made the list on Andrew Zimmern's "unusual regional delicacies". To our surprise, the Calissons was featured!
Calissons from Provence - Bizarre Food Explained!
Though we think there are much more exotic and "bizarre" food out there in the world, we do agree that when it comes to quintessential Provencal cuisine, this specialty candy is one you don't want to miss!
History of Calissons
Forget macarons, there's another iconic French sweet that will have you brimming with joy: the Calisson. These petite candies traditionally hail from a town called Aix-en-Provence in the south of France and have remained a favorite among locals for centuries.
Calissons are specialty candies from Provence made with a soft mixture of finely crushed almonds and candied fruits (melons, orange peels), honey and orange blossom.
It was believed that the Calissons first appeared in the middle of the 15th century. At the age of 22, Princess Jeanne de Laval was unhappy to be engaged to the 45 year-old King Rene d'Anjou. To cheer her up, King Rene had his head confectioner prepare sweets that resemble smiles for their royal wedding feast. The Queen-to-be turned her frown around upon seeing the Calissons and the two actually had an endearing and long-lasting marriage.
What is in a Calisson?
With an elegant petal shape, the Calisson comes in three distinct layers with a seamless tasting experience. A soft mixture of finely crushed almonds and candied fruits form the pale yellow paste found in the middle of the candy. Melons, orange peels and orange blossom are combined with honey to naturally sweeten the Calisson. The paste is then seated on thin wafer paper and coated with smooth royal icing for a delightful crunch.
The Difference between Calisson and Marzipan
Many people who try Calissons for the first time often compare its texture to a dense cake or marzipan. Marzipan is an almond paste with origins from Italy, commonly found in colorful candies, chocolates or cake decorations. Though they share a similar chewy consistency, the ratio of sugar to almonds used is much higher in marzipan than in Calissons. Moreover, almond oil extract is usually added to marzipan to exaggerate the flavor.
Though they share a similar chewy consistency, the ratio of sugar to almonds used is much higher in marzipan than in Calissons.On the other hand, Calissons are made with an abundance of blanched almonds and have a delicate melon-like aroma that linger at every bite.
Where to Buy Calissons?
At myPanier, we have a nice selection of Calissons, before you leave checkout our online collection or if you live close by stop by our warehouse store and we will be happy to help you.