While taking in all the dynamic tastes of southern France on Vantage’s Culinary French Waterways: Highlights of Burgundy, Beaujolais, & Provence cruise, make sure to delve into the treasure trove of Provence sweets in this sun-drenched region. Famous for it’s candied fruit, calissons, and chocolates, Provence is one place where your sweet tooth will not go unsatisfied.
Italian Roots, Provence Classics
What was once a means of preserving the excess harvest, candied fruit now appears in the windows of countless pâtisseries throughout Provence. Though candied fruits were originally from Italy, the Avignon popes of the 14th century loved this special treat, and they are now produced in several regions of France and are one of the most famous Provence sweets. The soft and luminescent sweets can be made from a variety of fruits, including pears, peaches, plums, and figs — often sourced locally — and they provide a glimpse into the rich history of Provence’s culinary past.
For a confection as old as the region’s medieval castles and palaces, don’t pass on calissons. Calissons are a sweet and creamy mixture of candied fruit and almond paste topped with royal icing. This sweet treat also had its roots in Italy and was introduced to Provence in the 15th or 16th century, possibly at King René of Anjou’s second wedding ceremony. It isn’t hard to imagine pairing these delectable treats with an afternoon tea or coffee aboard the ms River Discovery II while cruising to your next destination.
Chocolate lovers should consider extending their travels to the French Riviera so as to indulge in a tour of one of France’s most acclaimed chocolate shops in the Old Town of Nice. Overlooking the city’s port, Confiserie Florian has been manufacturing sumptuous artisan sweets that have tantalized locals and visitors alike since they opened the doors of their Nice location in 1974.
On the tour, you will watch as the region’s finest offerings are transformed into confectionery bonne bouches. Witness the artisans at Confiserie Florian preparing citrus jams, glazing candied fruits, and making their famous homemade chocolates and hard candies. Each tour concludes with a free tasting.
It only makes sense that, in a region where Michelin-starred restaurants and renowned vineyards abound, Provence would be rich in dessert options. Whether you’re enjoying an elegant meal, sipping regional wines, or sampling some famous Provence sweets, you will always be able to please your palate while taking in the unparalleled beauty of southern France.