Bergamote de Nancy, an iconic French delicacy17-05-2017
On the trail of Bergamot candies from Nancy – an iconic French delicacy
Flavoured with essential bergamot oil, these deliciously tangy, amber-coloured, translucent candies, with their distinctive flat, square shape, are made according to ancestral methods. Quality ingredients, together with the master confectioner’s expert skill, make these sweets totally unique.
Bergamot belongs to the Rutaceae plant family and is today mainly cultivated in the Italian region of Calabria. Its origins are still up for debate; while some botanists believe the fruit to be a cross between bitter orange and lime, others think it is a hybrid accidentally stemming from a lemon tree. Natural aromas are extracted from the peel of bergamot oranges.
Its essential oils are used in perfumes, cosmetics, tea and of course to create the delicious, distinctive flavour of Bergamot candies.
Why Bergamot candies from Nancy ?
Using essence of Bergamot in cooking in the French region of Lorraine first appeared in “Le Cannameliste Francais”, a work written by famed confectionary chef Gilliers, who was appointed to the court of King Stanislas. However, the French Revolution, not to mention Britain blockading France’s sugar trade in Napoleonic times, put its’s use in cooking on hold, and with it the confectionary industry in general. It was not in fact until the arrival of sugar beet that the candies underwent a revival.
And in 1857, confectioner Jean Frederic Godefroy Lillich laid down the official recipe for Bergamote de Nancy in its definitive form: a boiled sweet flavoured with essence of bergamot.
How Bergamote de Nancy are made
It takes traditional techniques and an original recipe: sugar is dissolved in boiling water and boiled until it reaches “hard-crack stage”, which gives the candies their distinctive natural amber hue. Natural essence of bergamot is added at this stage.
Once the mixture has been spread on a cold surface and allowed to cool, it is cut either manually using a special tool, or by a special machine, to make the famous Bergamot candies from Nancy.
Originally sold in cardboard or metal boxes, the first engraved metal boxes clearly displaying the Bergamote de Nancy name, together with an illustration depicting Place Stanislas in Nancy, were first shown at the Universal Exhibition in 1909.
France’s first PGI labelled candies
Having received the official regional “Lorraine label” in 1993, Bergamote de Nancy candies were awarded Protected Geographical Origin (PGI) status in 1996.
This official quality status symbol guarantees the consumer that the candies are:
- Made according to traditional, artisan production methods
- Made in Lorraine
- 100% natural
- Individually wrapped
The popularity of these iconic candies, with their distinctive flavour, continues through the ages among the French and visitors alike. Bergamot candies from Nancy are without doubt an essential part of Lorraine’s French gastronomic heritage.
Bergamotes de Nancy PGI are made exclusively by the following specialist manufacturers:
- Lalonde : 59, rue St Dizier 54000 NANCY
- Maison des Sœurs Macarons : 21, rue Gambetta 54000 NANCY
- Stanislas : 40, rue St Georges 54000 NANCY
- CDHV 44 Habeaurupt 88230 PLAINFAING
They can be purchased outside France in delicatessens specialising in French produce or candies. Try a quick search on the internet!