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Artisan Tours in Provence‑Alpes‑Côte d’Azur: Sweet Treats

Candied fruit, jams, honey, biscuits, nougat and chocolates… Not forgetting the region’s famous calisson” and “berlingot” candies. This delve into Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur’s traditional sweet specialities and know-how promises to enchant foodies avid for new gourmet sensations. Welcome to our exciting artisan tours in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur!

 

 

Fruit au naturel

Figs, seaberries and almonds

Fruit flourishes in the generous sunshine of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Les Figuières du Mas de Luquet are proof of the pudding… This vast fig grove produces over 150 varieties of fig and you can enjoy a delightful stroll before tasting the domain’s succulent produce. Another speciality – but Alpine this time – is seaberry juice. Thirty times richer in Vitamin C than orange juice, it has been used for centuries as a tonic for fatigue. Head over to Gayral to see the various production stages in action: harvesting, pressing, bottling and packing. And let’s not forget dried fruit! If you want to discover its secrets, don’t miss Perl’Amandes, a former almond crusher that has diversified its offering over the years, where you’ll learn everything there is to know about almond paste making.

 

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Candied Fruit

A passionate legacy

A symbol of southern gastronomy, candied fruit first made its appearance in the early 16th century. Fruit was grown in abundance at the time, but as preservation techniques had yet to be invented, part of the harvest was wasted. During the same era, the astrologer Nostradamus from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence published his “Treatise on Cosmetics and Preserves”, in which he delivered the ideal recipe for candied fruit. This ancient know-how is still used by the passionate local confectioners, who continue to uphold artisan production techniques. Push open the door to their workshops – a genuine feast for the eyes and tastebuds!

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Jams

(Another) must-do!

Let’s continue our journey with another – equally tasty – variation on the fruit theme. The region’s jam makers have remained loyal to traditional manufacturing methods: generous quantities of fruit are cooked up in a cauldron, then the resulting jam is potted and labelled. The local attachment to time-honoured techniques hasn’t hindered creativity either, and you can now purchase a treasure trove of inventive recipes to indulge in without moderation after visiting the local manufacturers…

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Honey

From the hive to your daily bread (and sweets!)

Nestling in the heart of the Alpes de Haute-Provence area, Miellerie Chailan harbours 800 hives and is the perfect place if you want to learn all about honey. In August, you can see the precious elixir being extracted and filtered using traditional methods. Some honeys tend to crystallize, so they are pasteurized to maintain their original liquid form. If you want to delve further, head to nearby Apior, where honey is transformed into a variety of sweet and delicious delicacies including nougat, crunches, shortbread, gingerbread and, especially, irresistible Provencal candies… A genuine gourmet’s paradise. If you’re visiting the Southern Alps, stop off at the Apiland ecomuseum for an in-depth dive into the ins and outs of beekeeping.

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Biscuits

Crispy and crunchy

Biscuit making is often a family affair in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Don’t miss the Rieder workshop in Gardanne, founded in 1857, where the Chef unveils the secrets of his tasty and beautifully-crafted wares. The much-heralded maker of an iconic, flower-shaped butter shortbread, Péchés Gourmands has been pampering tastebuds for generations too. And let’s not forget La Boite à Biscuits, specializing in gourmet biscuits redolent with Provencal perfumes. You can also opt for an instructive and tasty tour of this genuine local institution, including, of course, must-do tasting of their incredible lavender, lemon, honey and almond creations…

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Nougat

A very ancient tale…

Nougat was already produced in the Mediterranean way back in Roman times. The Romans referred to it as nux gatum (“nut cake”). The original nougat was quite unlike today’s recipe, as it was mainly made with walnuts and honey. Later on, almonds were used instead of walnuts. Nougat now comes in many shapes and forms. At Nougat Jonquier, you’ll find black, white, tender, crunchy and fruit variations, while Nougaterie André Boyer delights in introducing visitors to the outstanding and particularly soft “Nougat de Sault”, together with “calisson” candies and old-fashioned marshmallows. At Nougats Silvain, you’ll find nougat made with honey produced on site… Yet another good reason to visit our legendary nougat makers!

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Chocolate

Enough to make you melt!

The Chocolaterie Bernard Castelain chocolate maker in Châteauneuf-du-Pape specializes in mouth-watering “Palets des Papes” (Popes Palets) and “Galets du Vignoble” (Vineyard Pebbles) – a nod to the area’s many heritage treasures. Enjoy a tour of the tempting workshop, where you’ll be able to observe the various production phases: mixing, moulding and coating… You can also see chocolate making in action at the Chocolaterie de Puyricard, which works exclusively with fresh, natural ingredients (Charentes butter, Provence almonds, etc.). What’s more, chocolate addicts can opt for a delectable chocolate making workshop in addition to the tour.

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“Calissons” and “Berlingots”

Colours and tastes

If you want to learn all there is to know about THE must-have Provencal candy, head over to the Fabrique du Roy René, also home to a fun, interactive and informative museum offering a deep dive into the history of the iconic “calisson” and how it is made. All the family will enjoy the various reconstructions and archive photos. Just along from the museum, you can catch a glimpse of the production area, where machines and calisson makers rub shoulders as they go about their daily business. Fancy something a bit novel? A wind of change is blowing on the calisson candies produced by Fruidorex, now adorned with bright colours and revamped with daring sweet & savoury combinations. Last on your discovery list for the day is the “berlingot“: a geometric sweet with white stripes, coloured according to its flavour. The birthplace of the berlingot is Carpentras, where you’ll find the last remaining artisan producer – the Confiserie du Mont Ventoux. What’s more, the delightful workshop tour winds up with a colourful tasting session.

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