“Fingers were made before forks and knives.” (Old adage)
Food inspires us to tell so many stories—from the history of cutlery to the sweet history of the macaron.
This elegant little finger food first comes to us fame with the venerable Catherine de Medici, who was the mother of kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III.
Catherine likely brought the macaron (which was then spelled “maccherone”, meaning “fine dough”) to France in 1533 from Italy. This sweet almond treat had been produced in Venetian monasteries since the 8th century. Back then, one source said they were (rather strangely) called ‘priest’s bellybuttons,’ due to the pastry’s shape.
This iconic treat actually gained popularity again in 1792 when two Carmelite nuns baked simple versions of these treats to pay for their housing in Nancy, France. They became known as the ‘macaron sisters’. Then about 40 years later, Parisian bakers put their spin on this sweet by adding jam and buttercream fillings.
It’s not exactly a delicate and simple story. But yet such a delicate treat! What surprised you most about this story?