Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Soul of the Forest

I was talking with a friend recently about my trip to Paris, and all the little luxuries that one might encounter along the way. Small indulgences that one must partake of in order to say, Yes, I
experienced Paris (or wherever) at its finest!

I found myself in a wonderful shop, Laduree, that has such things, including delicate macarons, wonderful chocolates, festively-colored Jordan almonds, and incense that gives off an aroma reminiscent of the palaces. Ahh! That was a must have, and I was all too happy to part with my last Euros! They also have Marron Glace!

Now that is something that you may like or not like, but rest assured, Marie Antoinette enjoyed! They are sweet chestnuts, and though their origin remains somewhere in the 17th Century, by 1798 they were noted in the 5th edition of the dictionary Dictionnaire de l'Académie françoise. Revu, corrigé et augmenté defined as a confit, or preserved, chestnut that is covered in caramel. In the book L'agronome, ou dictionnaire portatif du cultivateur from 1767 it reports that the best marrons came from the Dauphine region of southeastern France, and also contained instructions for preparing them.

They are an odd delicacy, and an acquired taste, but in the realms of royals, they are definitely the thing! And, they must be served in a serving piece of great dignity, and so Sevres Porcelain Factory, established in 1756, created special pieces just for the marron glaces. See below a piece with stand and cover, called the marroniere! 

This one is dated to 1757-58. The bowl even has little piercings that allow circulation of air, helping them to keep crisp and allow extra syrup served on them to drip away. Sevre served the demands of the French Court, and when it encountered financial difficulties, by Madame de Pompadour's suggestion, King Louis XV took control of the firm to keep it going! Good thing, too, cuz you'd not like to have your marrons served up on some average crockery. 

They are also known in other parts of Europe, and in Spain, for instance, they are known as the Soul of the Forest! 

No comments:

Post a Comment