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The canelé

The most famous culinary speciality of Bordeaux, the origin of the canelé is however relatively mysterious... A soft pastry cake flavoured with rum and vanilla, the canelé is distinguished by its perfectly identified cylindrical shape and the thin caramelised rind which gives it such a flavour.

An emblematic pastry

In spite of its great notoriety, nobody knows the real origins of canelé. Historians suppose that a first recipe was developed in the 18th century by the nuns of the Annonciades convent. They indeed made a small cake cooked on stem and with lard. Created with flour and egg yolks recovered from the quays of the port of Bordeaux, this small pastry distributed to the poor then called "canelat" disappeared at the same time as its creators, driven out of the city by the French Revolution in 1790.

It wasn't until 1930 that a similar recipe appeared in a particularly fashionable bakery in Bordeaux. Preserving the cylindrical shape of the canelat, the cake, improved with rum and vanilla, met with immediate success under its current name, borrowed from the grooves so characteristic of the original mould.

Although out of fashion after the Second World War, the canelat retains its place on the table of Bordeaux bourgeois families and makes a strong comeback in the 1980s when the mayor, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, decides to make the canelat the emblem of his town by serving it at all the dinners organised by the Town Hall. In 1985, a brotherhood dedicated to this speciality even saw the light of day. Still active today, it promotes this little gustatory marvel and defends the tradition.

A tasty recipe

To recognize a good canelé, you have to rely on several factors: the colour must be dark, the shape must be well respected and the smell must highlight that of rum and vanilla, essential ingredients of its recipe. With a soft heart and a crunchy sweet crust, canelés meet many requirements that make their preparation relatively complex for those who are unfamiliar with them, especially as cooking is very demanding.

Traditionally, they are prepared in copper moulds coated with beeswax. To prepare them, take egg yolks, flour, vanilla and rum, all ingredients that were historically found in Bordeaux thanks to its great commercial and maritime tradition. Today, this symbol of the city of Bordeaux is one of the best known and most appreciated regional specialties in France.

To taste the best.

Bérengère for Comme des Français


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