Sunday, 30 January 2011

Candied Fruit


Throughout our corner of Provence, fruit and nut trees stand in regimented orchards. In spring they blossom in checkerboards: billows of white from the almonds, pink from the cherries, and waves of raspberry-ripple flowers from the legions of apples and pears.

For centuries fruit has been brought to be candied in the small town of Apt which stands at the wilder end of the Luberon valley. There are records that show the appointment in 1348 of one Auzias Maseta of Apt to be “excouyero in confisserias”, the purveyor of fruits preserved in sugar, to Pope Clément VI of Avignon.

Even if, like me, you find it all too sweet for your taste, you can still marvel at the shop window displays of Fruits Confits, for they are tableaux of beauty. Not only will you find all the local fruits: apricots, peaches, melons, plums, mandarins, lemons and figs as well as exotic imports these days, but also candied orange peel, violets and rose petals.

There’s a tradition of proud artistry among the confiseurs that may well have culminated in 1902, when the Reboulin factory succeeded in candying an entire fig tree – branches, leaves and fruit – and shipping it to a Chicago exhibition where it proved a sensation.

The photo above is just a tiny taster, from the arcade shop in Fontaine de Vaucluse, but a wander around the shady Roman-medieval streets of Apt, taking care not to miss the Confiserie le Coulon and the Confiserie Marcel Richaud, both on the Quai de la Liberté, will reveal sugared harvests of positively mythological wonder…   

14 comments:

Spangle said...

The candied fruits look delicious!

Book Bird Dog said...

Worth a trip to Provence!

la fourchette said...

They really are beautiful - eye candy if you will. I find them to be a little too sweet for my tending-toward-salty tastes. But for the orange peel. There seems to be just enough 'zing' in that to make it an occasional treat. Thanks for the tip! Note taken.

itsuko K said...

This photo made me feel to fly to this shop right away from Japan! Fruits and sweets are my best studio friends.

Elizabeth said...

Wow...this is a fabulous blog. I love the photo I came upon before I got to your blog, and all these photos are great.

I am a new follower.

You may want to go to this design blog since you will most likely enjoy it:

http://allaboutvignettes.blogspot.com

litlove said...

Oh this just transports me back to France! I agree that they are a bit too tooth-crackingly sweet to eat, but the display they make is almost otherworldly. Like an old oil painting brought to life. The historical details are fascinating too, thank you for them!

BookGeek said...

I love candied fruit but in small quantities. I like using them for baking and snacking. Hard to come by such variety where I live, so even that plate looks marvelous.

bookspersonally said...

love the photos of your beautiful location! following & looking forward to reading more

Gemmag said...

Hi Deborah, thanks for the comment on my blog, I think you could be right on the CD thing, I love France too, I went to Biarritz last year and fell in love with it, I shall be devouring more of your blog later! xx

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments, new friends and old. (Litlove and Harvee, so great to be your host for once!)

Next time I'm in Apt near the candied fruit shops with a camera I shall bring you all back something really special...

Orhedea said...

Magnifique! Oh, how i miss France....

Merula said...

Quel bonheur !

josina.kamerling said...

love this, for candied fruit in perfume, go to Marc Jacobs biscotti a must to splash on, it does come in a 400 ml size and fairly reasonably priced, so you feel you can splash!

Leovi said...

I love the candied fruit, but very sweet. My favorite is the orange slices with peel.

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