Aix en Provence in known throughout France for its delicious almond shaped confections. Think of them as the Hershey’s Kisses of Provence. First created by a local confectioner in honour of the King René second marriage in 1473, calisson factories sprouted during the 19th C. Calisson’s are not well known abroad but a very busy sales and marketing staff at La Confiserie Roy René is working on diversifying the flavours in order to have a wider appeal. In fact they have just developed a date filled calisson for the Dubai market place. www.calisson.com
The traditional Calisson d’Aix en Provence is made by grinding and combining almonds, candied local melon and sugar. This paste is then shaped and spread on a paper thin wafer, covered in whipped egg whites and sugar and baked at 130°C for 15 minutes. All 7 confectioners still operating in Aix must use identical ingredients for 99% of the recipe. The 1% personalised ingredient is what will make each “confiserie” slightly different to its competitor. Roy Rene adds 1% orange rind. Another adds vanilla.
La Confiserie Roy Rene introduced the following flavours about a year ago in hopes of reaching a wider audience: lavender, violet, chocolate, orange, fig, prune and lemon. But these variations can not bear the name Calisson d’Aix because this flavour change digresses from the traditional recipe. They are nevertheless just as scrumptious.