Candied Chestnut (Marron Glace) 250 gr
Candied chestnuts appeared in chestnut-growing areas in northern Italy and southern France shortly after the crusaders returned to Europe with sugar. Cooking with sugar allowed creation of new confectioneries. A candied chestnut confection was probably served around the beginning of the 15th century in Piedmont, among other places. But marrons glacés as such (with the last touch of 'glazing'), may have been created only in the 16th century. Lyon and Cuneo dispute the title for the addition of the glazing, or icing, that makes the real marron glacé. The earliest known records of a recipe for marron glacés were written during the XVI century by an Italian cook that worked for Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy , and by the French at the end of 17th century in Louis XIV's Versailles court. In 1667, François Pierre La Varenne, ten years' chef de cuisine to Nicolas Chalon du Blé, Marquis of Uxelles (near Lyon and a chestnut-producing area), and foremost figure of the nouvelle cuisine movement of the time, published his best-selling book Le parfaict confiturier. In it he describes "la façon de faire marron pour tirer au sec" ("the way to make (a) chestnut (so as) to 'pull it dry'"); this may well be the first record of the recipe for marrons glacés. "Tirer au sec" means, in a confectionery context, "to remove (what's being candied) from the syrup". La Varenne's book was edited thirty times over seventy-five years. Nevertheless, that book was not mentioned (nor indeed any other) when the recipe, applied to cocoa beans, was in 1694 passed on to Jean-Baptiste Labat, a French missionary in the Martinique. That year Father Labat wrote in a letter of a recipe for candied and iced cocoa beans which he had tasted when dining at a M. Pocquet's.Another early citation, still in French, is from 1690. Towards the end of 19th century, Lyon was suffering from the collapse of the textile market, notably silk. In the midst of this crisis, Clément Faugier, a bridge and roadworks engineer, was looking for a way to revitalize the regional economy. In 1882 in Privas, Ardèche, he and a local confectioner set up the first factory with the technology to produce marrons glacés industrially (though many of the nearly twenty steps necessary from harvest to finished product are still performed manually). Three years later he introduced the crème de marrons de l'Ardèche, a sweetened chestnut purée made from marrons glacés broken during the production process, flavoured with vanilla. (later came Marrons au Cognac in 1924, Purée de Marrons Nature in 1934, Marrons au Naturel in 1951, and Marpom's in 1994.) The same process was used by José Posada in Ourense (Spain) in 1980. He was the first businessman in Spain to build a factory to produce Spanish marrons glacés using Galician raw chestnuts, which previously were exported to France to produce the confectionary. Posada used the French and Italian formula to produce the marrons glacés. Today, there are two factories that produce marrons glacés in Spain.