France is renowned for its hundreds of cheese varieties as well as the many different wines that are produced. However, France also has more than 600 kinds of confectioneries. They generally are typical of a specific region and may not be available in every store. Here is a list of what you can find…
In Burgundy :
In the Côte d’Or department, Benedictine monks started to make their own sweet in the VIIIth Century, the Anise of Flavigny Abbey. This sweet is an anise seed covered with sugar syrup of various flavours such as violet, rose or mint.
The Nièvre department, also in Burgundy, can offer two very delicate confectioneries that will please caramel amateurs. The Négus is made of soft caramel flavoured with coffee coated with a more crunchy caramel. The Négus was created by a confectioner inspired by the visit of Ethiopian emperor Négus ( King ) Menelik in 1901. The second Nivernaise specialty you can find is the Nougatine, also known as the Empress’ Sweet. The Nougatine is a nougat covered of an orange icing. This cconfectionerywas presented as a gift to French Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoléon III, in 1850 during their visit by the confectioner Edé. She liked it and passed a gigantic command to make it known in Paris.
In Auvergne :
The Auvergne region is renown for making some of the best fruit pastes in France, especially with quince.
In Brittany :
The Morbihan department has a typical lollipop called the Niniche de Quiberon. This lollipop created in 1946 is available in many fruit or caramel flavour.
In the Nord department, the Bêtises de Cambrai are renown nationwide. Around 1850, in the city of Cambrai a confectioner “ made a mistake “ while cooking and created a mint flavoured boiled sweet which was not the expected result. However, it became a success which is now classified as Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Still in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the miner’s pastille is made of natural plant extracts and looks like a piece of coal. It was distributed to miners who were forbidden to smoke in the mines. This sweet is supposed to help smokers.
Rhone-Alps, Montélimar :
Montélimar, the town is the gateway to the south. Montélimar is renowned for its traditional nougat “le nougat”, with mixtures of almonds, hazel, dried fruits and many other combinations.