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D - DESSERTS

D - DESSERTS

Besides the boulangerie, another wonderful pleasure of French life is the pâtisserie... 

copyright-macarons-lolmede3Who wouldn’t be tempted by those ‘naughty but nice’ cakes and sweet treats? Dustings of icing sugar, jewel-coloured crystallised fruits, glossy strawberries and gooey cream - French pastries are world-renowned. The pâtisserie is a temple to all kinds of péchés mignons (naughty pleasures). Whilst most of these sweet treats can be found across France, Poitou-Charentes boasts some rather unusual cakes and biscuits..

The first of these is perhaps unappealing in appearance, but exceptionally delicious: the tourteau fromagé. At local markets, you will often see a stall selling these blackened objects next to huge meringues. This Deux-Sèvres speciality looks a little like a crab in shape. It is not named for its crabby shape, however, but because touterie is an old regional word for a cake. It has a blackened upper surface and you’d be forgiven for thinking they’d been burned. It is this burned crust that allows something marvellous to happen. Below that blackened exterior, the cake beneath is moist, pale and fragrant. Made with fromage frais, opinion is still divided, even among locals, as to whether you should eat the burnt crust or just the cake beneath. The choice is yours!

The Broyé du Poitou is a galette originating in farm kitchens made from butter, wheat flour, sugar and eggs - all ingredients available on the farm. There’s no need for a knife either, it’s traditionally broken by hitting it in the centre making it easy to eat on the move. Today, family firm Goulibeur continue to manufacture Broyés to the same recipe selling them across France. There is even an order to protect the Broyé, snappily named the Confrérie de l’Ordre des Chevaliers de la Grand Goule.

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The Galette Charentaise, which is a flat, round cake almost like a shortbread but softer in texture. Once confined to weddings and special occasions, it is now eaten whenever something sweet is desired.

Macarons in the region are also very popular, although they look little like their smooth and brightly coloured Parisian namesakes. Instead, Poitou-Charentes macarons are small chunky cookies often made with entire or chopped almonds rather than powdered. There are two areas of the Poitou-Charentes that are renowned for macaron production; Montmorillon in the Vienne even has a museum dedicated to them! The recipe for the Montmorillon macaron is said to have stayed unchanged for more than 150 years. The other centre for macarons is Angoulême in the Charente where the Lolmède macaron has been made since 1889. Their recipe is also a very traditional one - and a closely-guarded secret passed down through the generations.

For those with a sweeter tooth, then Noix Charentaise hits the spot - a choux bun (like a profiterole) with cream inside, frozen and then coated with dark chocolate and a whole nut as a garnish.

Dame blanche du Poitou is another traditional dessert where meringues cooked in a mould, almost like a soufflé, float like islands on a custard.

 

 

 

Interview with a producer

Myriam and her husband Arnaud own La Biscuiterie Lolmède in Angoulême, where they make and sell macarons, chocolates and biscuits.

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What’s the history behind La Biscuiterie Lolmède?

La Biscuiterie Lolmède was created in 1889 by Edward Lolmède and Arnaud and I took over in 2006. We originally come from near Paris where we’d done different jobs, but we fell in love with the Biscuiterie because it’s an important business in the heart of the Angoulême region; it’s really a part of the region’s heritage. When we took over the Biscuiterie we moved it to its current location at Rue des Arceaux in Angoulême because the spot is a lovely blend of old stone and wood; we really wanted the shop to be a warm and friendly place where everyone would feel good.

We follow tradition, making macarons and madeleines according to the same recipe and the same methods that have always been used. But we have also created new varieties of macarons and developed a range of complementary products including our chocolates. Our clients tell many stories about the Biscuiterie Lolmède, things they’d heard from their parents and grandparents who had eaten madeleines, worked at the Biscuiterie at some point in their life, or had even exchanged eggs for cakes during the war... We wanted to follow on from this history and bring our own personality and values to it at the same time.

 

Can you describe your methods?

Our macaron recipe truly is a secret, but we use the same recipes and methods used by Edouard Lolmède and passed down from father to son. We’ve added to the original range with thirty different types of macarons of all different flavours including dried and fresh fruit and liqueurs.

 

What are the best aspects of your work?

The diversity. During the day, we go from creation to sales to marketing and communication. No day is ever the same. Our products are entirely made in a traditional way and people appreciate that. We like working with local ingredients and don’t use colouring or preservatives - it’s therefore a real pleasure to make them.

 

You can visit La Biscuiterie Lolmède every day from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 7pm
Address: 3 rue des Arceaux, 16000 Angoulême
Tel: 05 45 95 05 09
www.macarons-lolmede.com (mail order available)