Calissons: A Love Story
Love stories are usually full of songs, poems, and grand gestures of love between two star crossed lovers who are destined to be together. They usually end with two people living happily ever after, disappearing into the sunset together. This love story is very similar, except instead of star crossed lovers, we have a newlywed queen and cookies. It was in the 15th Century when King Rene of Anjou, the King of Naples and Jerusalem and Count of Provence, married Jeanne de Laval. The wedding was big and beautiful but, despite that, Jeanne de Laval was dissatisfied. It might have been because she was marrying a man 20+ years her senior, or because she was known to be a little moody, but the Queen was unimpressed.
However, once she was given treats made of candied melon, orange peel, and almonds, it is said that she flashed a smile so big the entire court noticed. When people asked what she was eating, a family member of the King referred to them as hugs, or câlins, which over the years became Calissons. These cookies are very special; they have a distinct diamond shape and are bright yellow with white icing and are a cultural symbol of Provence. To make these cookies, finely ground almonds are combined with candied orange peel and melon and then topped with royal icing. They have been made in Provence, France since the wedding of King Rene and Queen Jeanne and have been enjoyed throughout the world. These little cookies have an unmistakable taste, and are so good that even Queen Jeanne de Laval couldn’t help but smile.