I have the best French class ever. And I’m behind on posting about what we do in it, but here’s one about our tour of a candy factory here in Aix:
I. Love. Sugar. This was a great day. I want to go home and buy candy molds.
Aix is famous for the “calisson” – a melon/almond candy in an almond shape (or a smile, according to the legend). Once upon a time, at King Rene’s wedding, his bride-to-be was not much of a looker and very unhappy. The royal baker gave her a new type of candy he’d developed and she actually smiled after tasting it! The word “calisson” comes from the Provencal word for “smile.”
Step One: Fruit soaks in vats of sugary water for months, until pretty much all the water content has been replaced with sugar.
Step Two: Almonds are ground up.
Step Three: The fruit and the almonds are combined into a paste.
Step Four: The paste is made into an almond, or “smile,” shape and coated with a layer of white icing.
This is the antique hand press.
Step Five: They dry.
Step Six: They are transferred into bins on their way to be boxed up!