My favourite confiserie is made with the finest ingredients using traditional, time- honoured methods. Here are three specialities that I highly recommend you try at least once in your lifetime!
French Almond Dragees
There are many classes of dragée, but avola almond dragées are considered the best in the world by confiserie connoisseurs, and rightly so in my view. No other almond has the same recognisable flat shape and unique, delicate taste. High quality dragées should have a flawless and smooth surface, similar to porcelain.
As long ago as the 13th century, a Verdun confectioner first had the idea to coat almonds in sugar to preserve their flavour. The Verdun region of Lorraine is still renowned for the finest dragees today. Be warned though – eat one or two and you won’t be able to stop!
Tourists have travelled to Montelimar since the 18th century to experience this region’s gourmet delicacy, nougat. Montelimar nougat is made by artisans, using almonds, locally sourced honey and egg whites to create a light confection that melts in the mouth.
Montelimar nougat recipes are passed from father to son through family generations. Recipes vary to include pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts or walnuts and even finely sliced fruits glacés. It’s a world apart from anything you may have experienced at a British seaside, and I highly recommend it.
The combination of sea-salt and caramel is definitely ‘on trend’ just now! There’s no doubt it provides a wonderful contrast on the palate, with sea salt complementing caramel’s sweetness perfectly, creating a near savoury taste.
Look for caramels and caramel-filled chocolates made with Guérande sea salt and Brittany butter using traditional artisan methods. They may cost a little more, but they’re definitely worth it.