Throughout our corner of
, 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. Provence
For centuries fruit has been brought to be candied in the small town of
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 Apt . 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
exhibition where it proved a sensation. Chicago
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…