French Candy: Treats that Have That Special “Je Ne Sais Quoi”

French Candy: Treats that Have That Special “Je Ne Sais Quoi”

France is renowned for its culinary culture. (Who could pass up a good croissant?) But their candies are just as dreamy! The Hexagon — or l’Hexagone, as the locals affectionately say thanks to the country’s roughly hexagonal shape — is home to centuries of confectionary tradition. 

Some candies still on the shelves today originate all the way back to the 16th century. Anis de Flavigny, for example, dates to 1591 with a recipe developed by the Benedictine monks of Flavigny.

And that’s not to mention the gourmet chocolates, pastries and other sweets les Français have produced over the course of their country’s storied history. Napoleon Bonaparte himself is believed to have said, “An army marches on its stomach,” and was known to power his own marching with a selection of delicious chocolates!

But what about the French candy culture of today? The French still rank among the world’s top candy consumers, munching on an average of 8.87 kilograms every year. (That’s about 19.5 lbs.)

While we’d all rather be enjoying a delicious selection of French candy in Paris, we have the next best thing. In this list, our sweet-tooth experts break down a list of modern and traditional French treats you’d be remiss to miss!

 

 

Bon Bons of the Same Name

With an image of the Eiffel Tower stamped proudly on the package, there are few modern candies as noticeably French as Eiffel’s Bon Bons. The French word for candy is “bonbon,” after all! These fun sweets come individually wrapped in a variety of bright, but not overpowering fruity flavors such as watermelon, strawberry, apple and blue raspberry. If you’re a lover of tart, gummy treats, this chewy French “Bon Bon” candy is a must-try.

French Eiffel Bon Bons Candy Flavors

French Hard Candies (Pastilles)

Pastilles are a favorite in France. Pastilles candy are small, disc-shaped confections often coated in sugar or powdered. You’ll often find them in floral, mint, liquorice, orange, and anise flavors.

 

 

Pastilles De Vichy

While pastilles are most often enjoyed as a sweet treat today, they are a centuries-old tradition known for their medicinal properties. Pastilles De Vichy, for example, date back to the 1825 spa town of the same name, where they were popularized to help with digestion.

 

 

Rendez Vous

Today, not all French hard candies are so historic! Rendez Vous are a sour selection and a great replacement for breath mints if you’re in the mood for something with more kick. These tiny, fruit-shaped candies are packaged in cute round tins and come in flavors like orchard fruit, sour lemon and even roasted coffee!

French Rendez Vous Pastilles Hard Candy

Calissons

Calissons are the iconic almond-shaped French candy often sold in a similarly shaped box. These traditional French sweets are made from a blend of ground almonds and candied fruits, typically topped with a smooth royal icing.

French Calissons Candy

These nougat “bonbons” are produced today by major confectioners like Chabery & Guillot. But local legend says they were developed at the request of the beloved king, Roi René, who ruled Naples, Jerusalem, Sicily and Aragon. He commissioned a sweet treat “in the shape of a laugh” for his wife, Jeanne de Laval, and the calisson was born. Today, this French jewel candy is still a cream-coated favorite. 

 

Nutty French Candies

One nutty sweet treat is French nougat candy, also known as “nougat de Montélimar”. It’s a traditional confectionery from the town of Montélimar, France. It features a chewy texture made from sugar, honey, and nuts, often almonds and pistachios.

French nougat is often cut into rectangular or square-shaped pieces and may be individually wrapped. This treat is especially popular during holidays and special occasions. In fact, it’s such a beloved tradition that there is even a nougat museum — le Musée du Nougat!

French Nougat Candy

French Burnt Peanut Candy

Here’s an unusual selection: French burnt peanuts candy! These shelled peanuts coated in a crunchy, bubbly sugar shell were once an international favorite at corner stores, but France gets the credit for creating this unique, nutty treat. Today, American manufacturers make some of the best around, but it’s also fun to make them at home, with plenty of recipes to choose from online.

For avid international snackers, to miss out on these French candy creations would be the ultimate faux pas.

Sign up for MunchPak to take your tastebuds to heights that surpass the Eiffel Tower itself. You’ll be living “la belle vie” when your first box arrives at your door.

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