Sweet pleasure: candied fruits for a maximum of delicacies! This month, treat yourself to candied fruits from the Saint-Denis confectionery in Beaumettes!
Denis Rastouil and his wife Sylvie tell us about their job, the art of candying fruits, so famous in Provence.
Used in pastry making to decorate cakes or to bring a sweet note to recipes, to be eaten alone, as a dessert or as a snack, the Saint-Denis confectionery elaborates candied fruits in an entirely traditional way. Resulting from a traditional know-how, these sweets can be found in many specialties of the region.
"The candied fruits appear in Provence in the XIVth century at the time of the arrival of the Popes in Avignon. This was the trigger for the popularization of candied fruits. The Aptésiens had a lot of fruit in the area and the popes wanted fruit in winter so to preserve the fresh fruit, they made candied fruit. Thus, candied fruits were offered to several Popes by the confectioners of Apt. The popes became ambassadors of this appetizing specialty and from the 18th century, the manufacture of candied fruit took off in Apt!"
"Our family has been making candied fruit since 1873. We took over the business from my parents-in-law in Gargas who retired in 2002. That's when we moved the Saint-Denis confectionery to the village of Beaumettes in 2003. It is their son, my husband, Denis, who makes the candied fruit following his dad. "
"We are attached to the traditions: the manufacture of our candied fruits is carried out in an artisanal way. Everything is done by hand from start to finish, without machines. We work with farmers: once our fresh fruits are brought in, we peel them, we pit them: I repeat, everything is done by hand.
Then, to prepare the fruit for blanching, we will blanch it and boil it in water, just like we would blanch vegetables. It is necessary to really break the cells of the fruit so that it can absorb the sugar afterwards. When they are blanched, we put 4 to 5 kg of fruits in a small basin, we make a very light syrup and we cover these fruits with this syrup. Then, we cook them in a cauldron: 15 cookings spread over 4 weeks (1 day of cooking on 2). At each cooking, we add syrup which allows the fruit to evacuate its water and to take the sugar. Finally, the fruit will stay 5 to 6 months in its syrup: we can drain them and take them out of the syrup to sell them. In fact, we sell them either as drained candied fruit or as glazed candied fruit after making a glaze."
It is a large panel of flavors that we find at the Confiserie Saint-Denis: classic flavors and more original flavors, but all sweet for the taste buds! "We offer for sale candied fruits with melon, peach, pear, plum, fig, clementine, apricot, lemon, orange, pineapple, strawberry, cherry... or even ginger, citron and black olives! The one that pleases the most is the clementine one: when you bite into a clementine, you have all the juice inside and the syrup that remains, so it explodes in your mouth! We also sell calisson, chocolate, sugared almonds for events such as baptisms, weddings or communions, marrons glacés and nougat."
"Our job is very varied, we are in contact with the farmers, with our customers, and this is very important. We are from the beginning to the end with our product: from the fresh product to the finished product. The candied fruits, it is a big part sold for the 13 Provencal desserts of Christmas. We are proud to participate in the whole Christmas stage with our candied fruits. In addition to our gourmet store, we also have a large decoration store because people often buy containers that we decorate according to their wishes. This allows us to make original gifts with a small container that remains: we compose delicious filled baskets on demand".
"What we particularly like in the Luberon is our LIGHT! In our small village of Beaumettes, it is undoubtedly the conviviality and the calm that reigns. I was born there, I have always lived in the Luberon, it is the well-being in our small village. Moreover, do not hesitate to come to meet us and to cross the door of our confectionery so that we explain you, that we make you taste our products. Because often, people are left with ideas of candied fruits without taste, too dry, too hard. But we, everything is handmade!"
Bienvenue à la Confiserie Saint-Denis des Beaumettes
Discover our editions of the Luberon Heart of Provence to prepare your weekend and holidays: guide, accommodation, hiking...Order