Calisson is a unique confectionery that has traveled through history. In Aix-en-Provence it is considered as the heritage of the city and more widely as one of the gastronomic emblems of Provence, the Confiserie du Roy René doesn’t take it lightly.
The Calisson d’Aix recipe has remained unchanged since its creation. This complex mixture of finely ground sweet almonds, candied Provençal melon and orange peel, set on a thin layer of wafer and topped with royal icing, has always been made in the same way by confectioners.
THE LEGEND OF THE ROY RENÉ
Legend has it that the wedding between Jeanne de Laval and the Roy René took place in 1454, in Aix-en-Provence. On this occasion, the Confectioner of the King invented a new sweet for the beautiful but stern Queen. As she tasted this confectionery at the end of the wedding feast, her face lit up with a smile and she asked: “What do you call these delights? Di calin soun (these are little hugs)”, came the reply, in Provencal. And so, the Calisson d’Aix entered into history, whose form evokes the Queen’s smile.
A BLESSED DELICACY
Since 1630, calissons have been blessed every first Sunday in September at the church of Saint Jean de Malte in Aix-en-Provence.
In 1630, the plague, which had ravaged the city and the region, finally ended. As a sign of gratitude, Martelly the assessor, promised to celebrate a thanksgiving service every year, dedicated to the Virgin of the Seds – the Holy Patroness of Aix. It was during one of these services that calissons were handed out.
This tradition continued through the centuries and still brings the people of Aix together today, every first Sunday of September in 13 Desserts the Church of St. Jean de Malte and on the Cours Mirabeau.
A CENTURIES-OLD RECIPE
The Calisson d’Aix recipe has remained unchanged since its creation. This complex
mixture of finely ground sweet almonds, candied Provençal melon and orange peel, laid on a thin layer of wafer and topped with royal icing, has always been made in the same way by confectioners.