I am not sure if this is just me, but I did not immediately link this delicious gourmet confection – the Rannou-Metivier Macaroon – with the French area of Poitou-Charentes. Indeed, it was only when my colleague, Gillian, brought this to my attention by wafting a box of these culinary almond delights under my very susceptible nose that it registered in my consciousness. The gift from our lovely client, Sandrine Pailloncy, showed macaroons that were more biscuity in texture and imbued with a healthy golden glow, in fact the stellar opposites to the pastel coloured La Durée biscuits that I know so well.
It was Catherine de Medici who brought over the basic premise of the modern macaroon – more of an almond paste actually – from Italy when she married Henry II in the sixteenth century. The word itself actually evolved from the Italian macaroni – did you spot that similarity? I didn’t and now it seems so obvious! Anyway, in 1690, officialdom (in the form of a gentleman called Furètiere) specified the exact amount of sweetness that a biscuit must have in order to be designated “macaroon”! It’s a serious business, macaroon making, obviously.
Macaroons have been made in the area in the Montmorillon area of Poitou-Charentes since the 17th century however my particular macaroon has been made by the renowned and award-winning Maison Rannou-Metivier (www.rannou-metivier.com) since 1924. To ensure that the secret recipe is handed down generation to generation, the house was given the Ministerial marque in 2009 of the “Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant”. Today, after 150 years, it is the fifth generation of the family that still produce these gorgeous confections. They have six shops in the region and also operate a macaroon museum (www.museedumacaron.com).
Produced in all different shapes and sizes, different varieties are available in different seasons – Springtime will bring Passion Fruit, Rose and Orange Water, Madagascan Vanilla with Dark Chocolate Sprinkles and Anatolean Pistachio with Dark Chocolate Sprinkles varieties. For the summer, there’s also Lime Jam and Strawberry Jam whilst for the Autumn, try the Pear or the Caramel and Spanish nuts varieties. Chocoholics will love the Winter Christmas special – chocolate with Maron Glacés of Turin.
Visit if you dare if you have a sweet-tooth – it can be a very dangerous place to go. In fact, to our mind, here at Magellan PR, it’s positively sinful to leave the area without purchasing at least one box.
Contributor: Sue Lowry
CRT Poitou-Charentes is a client of Magellan PR. For more information, visit: www.Holidays-France-Atlantic.com