An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses.” This is the reaction in Proust’s Swann’s Way to the taste of madeleine crumbs in his cup of tea. He embarks on a reverie and remembers the happy times he had as a child when he would eat the cakes at his aunt’s house.
A bite of the small buttery shell-shaped cakes may not always inspire quite such a strong reaction, but the simple sponges that are so easy to carry as a snack on a day trip or pass round in the office of an afternoon, are sure to be similarly sprinkled through many happy memories of French people and Francophiles, as they are such a staple of French confectionery. Because of this famous passage madeleine de Proust has become a phrase in France used to talk about smells, tastes and sounds that remind us of childhood.
Fit for a duke
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