The Parisians love all sorts of bonbons!

Long candy, square candy, round candy… the Parisians love all sorts of bonbons. For some of us candy is a treat, for others, an indulgence. The French have had a sweet tooth for over 2,000 years! French confectionary comes in all shapes and sizes, depending on our tastes and mood. Les bonbons, c’est si bon! Even if we know very well that sugar is not so “bon” for health! That’s what candy means to us! And you?

 

bonbons sucettes

A little history
You might say it’s obvious, but candy could not be invented until sugar was discovered. That takes us back to 600 B.C., when somebody stumbled upon a reed which gave forth a sort of honey without bees! Thanks to Alexander the Great, this plant made its way to France, but candy-making did not actually start until crusaders brought sugar cane to Europe. For a long time, sugar was used only for medical purposes, but eventually, it began to appear in luxury confections, with candied fruits and marmalades. The 17th century saw the arrival of sweet lozenges and candied chestnuts, and the first candy shops opened in Paris. However, candy-making as we know it today, did not really take off until a century later with the discovery of beet sugar.

A sweet tour of France
For the French, fine candy is festive. It is a symbol of giving or sharing. Often, it represents the heritage and traditions of one of our regions. How can a visitor to France possibly return home without sampling mouthwatering homemade regional candies? Calissons d’Aix (candied melons and oranges with ground almonds, topped with icing), bêtises de Cambrai (mint-flavored bonbons) Montélimar nougats, Montargis pralines, and Quiberon salted butter caramels! With over 600 regional specialties, France offers  an amazing choice of gourmet sweets.

bonbon-unica

Really fine candy appeals to all of our senses: the crackling of the wrapper when you open it, the aroma of real caramel, the texture of marshmallow, the fun colors of  jelly beans, the unique taste of each type of candy. Everyone has their own favorite. Some people we know will actually drive for miles to get genuine Montargis pralines. Others are addicted to gummy bears. A chacun son gout, as we say!  The candies of each region are part of our French heritage and have enchanted old and young alike for generations.

Colorful candy
The French like yellow, multicolor, green, orange and pink candies, but their number one favorite (42%) seems to be red, which explains the success of the berry-colored Tagada, one of the most popular candies in France. Created 40 years ago by Haribo, the Tagada is a round, bright red, sugar-coated marshmallow.

bonbons etouffement

Fact: the French eat 3.9kg (7lb) of candy per person per year!

The oldest known candy
The oldest known candy was Invented by a 17th century high society cook, it was served  to guests after the meal to enjoy in their rooms. This early candy, called “chamber spice” was made of pine nuts, almonds, cinnamon and ginger. The confection was rolled in sugar, and lightly pan-browned.

The candy industry is in good health
Even with constant reminders in the media to be careful about our sugar intake, the world confectionary market is at an all-time high. In 2009, candy sales were up 4%. We might even suspect that confectioners actually benefit from economic crises, since so many of us munch candy to relieve stress!

More than eight out of ten Frenchmen eat candy regularly. Those under 50 prefer modern goodies, whereas older people tend to prefer traditional confectionary. 58% of the population prefer soft candies. 57% prefer regional specialties. 56% chew gum. Caramels, fruit patties, lollypops and liquorice are all also very popular in France.

Bonbons as a culinary art
Bonbons and confectionary are part of France’s culinary heritage and it is now trendy for famous French chefs to make their own designer candy creations. Several award-winning French chefs have developed recipes using emblematic confectionary and devoted popular cookbooks to the subject. .

Candies have long been a part of our history. They are one of life’s little pleasures that we, our parents, and grandparents have all grown up with, like Carambar® caramels, and Chupa-Chups® lollypops (the brand turned 50 last year). Caramels and calissons have even been around for centuries!

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Béatrice - Cooking

Bonjour, my name is Béatrice. Thanks to my grandmother, I developed a love of cooking in early childhood. At her, everything smelled of apple brioche, rhubarb jam and fresh country produces. It’s not always easy to cook in Paris as the number of invitations exceeds the days of the week! So, it’s really necessary to think out the menu in order to have a successful diner at home. The wining recipe: gourmet, seasonal and dietetic dishes. And surprising presentations. No longer possible to serve the traditional Blanquette of veal to make your guests happy…

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Edita da RIZZOLI, Sophie la Parigina è una guida di stile moderna su PARIGI. Illustrata dai disegni di Alessandra Ceriani, completata da un elenco degli indirizzi preferiti dalla parigina e arricchita di ricette gastronomiche.

 

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Published by RIZZOLI New York, Sophie the Parisian'sis a modern life style guide about PARIS. Illustrated with color drawings, complemented by a list of Parisians' favorite locations and enriched with gastronomic recipes.

 
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