Sunday, October 29, 2017

Les Madeleines: toute une histoire!

les madeleines de Proust!

by Charlotte Megret
You might already have had the chance to try a Madeleine, but do you know the story behind these delicious small French cakes int he shape of coquillages?

One of the versions of the story behind Madeleines starts in the region of Lorraine where the roi Stanislas was hosting important guests at his palace in 1755. Unfortunately, his pâtissier was unhappy and left the house with the dessert made for the guests! A young chambermaid rose to the situation and made her mother's famous little cakes at the very last minute. They were so successful the king decided to name them after the chambermaid, Madeleine. They were soon introduced to the court where they became very popular. Madeleines were also sold in great numbers at the station de train of Commercy where they got their full name: "Madeleines de Commercy".

The origin of the seashell shape is a little more obscure but some say they used to be made inside actual Coquille St. Jacques shells for the pilgrims of the Chemin de St. Jacques de Compostelle. The famous French author Proust also made reference to them to describe how a smell and taste can remind you of fond souvenirs d'enfance. We often use the expression "Ma Madeleine de Proust" when referring to those memories!

Coquillages ~ seashells
Roi ~ king
Pâtissier ~ baker
Station de train ~ train station
Coquilles St. Jacques ~ scallops
Chemin de St. Jacques de Compostelle ~ Camino de Santiago
Souvenirs d’enfance ~ childhood memories

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