French Cake

Understanding the history of French snacks and cakes

Perhaps you’ve heard of France’s incredibly popular scallop-shaped tea cake referred to as a madeleine and sometimes called a madeleine cookie. they’re actually nothing too out of the standard – just a buttery, yellow cake and their uniqueness is usually in their shape.

 But, like tons of foods in France, there’s an enthralling history to travel alongside the eating, adding A level of pleasure and interest to every sweet bite.

History of a French Cake

There are several different versions on who made the primary madeleines and why.

In one version Madeleine was young serving girl who had been requested to make a special treat for Stanislas Leczinski, the deposed king of Poland who had sought refuge in France within the 17th century. Special cakes were made supposedly to appease the spirits of the poor unwanted king.

In another version, a special Madeleine created the special cakes within the shape of a scallop to feed to pilgrims making they’re thanks to Saint Jacques’ cemetery.

The shell was a symbol of protection which has long been related to Saint Jacques in France, and indeed scallops are called coquilles Saint Jacques.

In any case, whoever first made the scalloped shaped madeleines had a really good idea, for his or her popularity has only increased over the centuries. initially they were made on a little scale, but with the economic revolution underway, the road was paved for more large-scale production.

The Town of Commercy

About a century after they were first made, one town especially, Commercy, within the Lorraine region of eastern France, became the middle of economic production.

Within the late 19th and early 20th century, passengers on the train that skilled Commercy where entertained by the various female vendors who frequented the railroad station to sell their employers’ madeleines.

The ladies carried the cakes in large baskets and every screamed louder than subsequent in an attempt to be the one who made the sale.

Apparently, it had been quite sight because it’s remembered even to the present day and Madeleine manufacturers still proudly mark their brands “made in Commercy “.


However, it had been the French author, Proust, who truly immortalized the madeleine. In his autobiographical book, Á la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past), Proust’s main character takes a bite from a madeleine and is shipped back to a vivid memory of his childhood, the topic of the book.

The phrase “Proust’s madeleine” is now synonymous with anything that triggers an extended and colorful memory from the supposedly forgotten past.

Snack Time in France

If it’s four within the afternoon in France, there are mothers everywhere the country who are taking a package of madeleines off of the pantry shelf to serve for the goiter or snack-time. generally, the French adhere to a strict eating schedule, with regular times for every of the meals.

Lunch is eaten between noon and one and dinner after 7:30 pm, which may be a fairly long stretch without a nosh, especially if you’re seven years old. In between meal snacking is discouraged, but the goiter is often counted on and lots of times that goiter may be a madeleine.

If you get an opportunity to enjoy a madeleine, perhaps together with your tea, you would possibly wish to recall the long history behind this easy little cake.

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