Calisson is a famous sweet made from a subtle mix of finely ground sweet almonds, candied melon and orange peel, all placed on a bed of wafer and topped with royal icing. A recipe that has remained unchanged since its creation.
A bit of history:
There are a few stories that explain the origin of this sweet and this word. The first and most poetic one tells us that the sweet was born in the 15th century during the marriage of King René and Jeanne de Laval. The latter was considered very austere and rarely smiled. However, when she tasted one of these sweets, she smiled. When she was asked why she was smiling, she replied: “It’s these sweets, they’re a kindness” (“di calin soun” in Occitane, a language formerly spoken in Provence).
The second legend, however, tells us that the creation of the calisson dates back to the XVIIth century: these sweets were offered at mass as Eucharist in chalices, the word “calice” being then called calissoun in Occitan Provençal. The priest, saying venite ad calicem (“come to the chalice”), was answered venes toui i calissoun.
Calisson is one of the most famous culinary symbols of Provence, it is traditional of the town of Aix en Provence and its recipe and shape is protected by a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication).
Its importance in Provencal culture is such that even today, at the beginning of September, the blessing of the calissons takes place in the church of Saint-Jean-de-Malte, in Aix-en-Provence.
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