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Barley Sugar

In the 17th century, Benedictine nuns in the Seine-et-Marne region of France invented this confectionery with medicinal properties. Its success soon spread beyond the borders of the small town of Moret-sur-Loing, to be enjoyed at court or, in the 19th century, used before every entrance on stage by the great Sarah Bernhardt. A rich history to discover at the Musée du sucre d'orge.

Sugar and "perlimpinpin” powder

For over 3 centuries, the exact recipe for the barley sugar made by the nuns of Moret-sur-Loing has remained a mystery. Only passed on orally since its creation, the formula defined in the 17th century remains unchanged, with the berlingots and sticks still produced on site free of colorants and flavoring agents.

Before being appreciated for its delicate taste, this combination of sugar and a barley decoction was first seduced by its effects on colds and sore throats. The delicacy was long favored by great orators and, in the 18th century, its popularity exploded when Louis XVI began to consume it at court. After the Revolution, the convent closed, bringing barley sugar production to a halt, but fortunately it was able to resume when a new religious congregation settled in Moret. It thus respected the wish of a former Benedictine nun who, on her deathbed, discreetly entrusted the recipe to future residents.

A dedicated museum

Today, Des Lis Chocolat manages the production of the candy that Napoleon 1st was so fond of, and although the sisters have not been on site since the 70s, they still follow their recipe to make these amber-colored berlingots or translucent sticks.

You can buy them at the Musée du Sucre d'orge, for example, in metal tins reproducing the historic packaging. You can find these and much more at the nearby Barley Sugar Museum. Set on an island in the middle of the Loing, it traces the history of the confectionery since its birth in 1638.

A great idea for a day out in the Ile de France region, and an opportunity, if you like sweet/savory combinations, to try out some local gastronomic recipes incorporating this timeless product (for example with Morétain, a cheese made directly from barley sugar).

Enjoy your visit!
Valérie from Comme des Français

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Crédit photos : Aude Boutillon © Moret Seine & Loing