France|October 2020
The humble madeleine is a vessel for a myriad of flavours, meanings and memories, writes Brigitte Nicolas
Brigitte Nicolas

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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October 2020