calisson d'aix

The specialty of the city of Aix-en Provence.

The calisson is a confectionery made of a thin paste of candied melon (or other candied fruits), almonds ground together, topped with royal ice cream and placed on a matzo background.

This delicacy often scented with orange blossom and shuttle-shaped is a specialty of Aix-en-Provence since the fifteenth century. The first hint to the calisson seems to date back to the 12th century. A text in medieval Italian Latin uses the term calisone to designate a cake of almonds and flour close to a modern marzipan.

Its most likely etymology is that the Provencal calissoun is formed on ‘chalice’ and the diminutive ‘oun’, or ‘small chalice’.

Small in size and small in sacred value. The word chalice, indeed, in Provencal as in French, first designated the sacred cup of the Eucharist, and by extension the communion itself. Now communion is wine and the host, distributed in a cup. And the calisson is, ritually, a kind of host.

Made from candied melons, blanched almonds and orange peel: this paste is placed on a sheet of unleavened bread covered with icing, also known as royal icing. Using a cookie cutter, give it the tapered shape of an almond before cooking over low heat. This specialty is prepared with rather expensive ingredients and its preparation is long, which explains its relatively high selling price.

Since 2002, the calisson of Aix-en-Provence benefits from a PGI. To benefit from it the calisson must be produced in Aix-en-Provence on the one hand, and respect the recipe (specifications) on the other hand.