Since then, I love to see products, especially food products, that have long histories. Better still if the same brand has been in existence for centuries.
Here are a few that I found during a recent trip to France.
Each of these products has a lot of history -- culinary and regional -- and a stylish box to match. But for me, the best find of the lot are Les Macarons de Joyeuse. The card inserted in the box recites the following legend (my translation so bear with any awkwardness):
Joyeuse, a medieval town, owes its name to the emperor Charlemagne, who in 802 named it after his beloved sword, lost during a hunting party and later found at the site where our towns walls stand today.And it works. Every time I have one, I feel the presence of Anne of Joyeuse, Henry III and Catherine de Médicis. And I feel joyeux. No Oreos these.
On September 24, 1581, Duke Anne of Joyeuse, a favorite of King Henry III, married Marguerite of Lorraine, the king's sister-in-law. There followed fifteen days of grandiose celebrations organized by Catherine de Médicis, the costliest in the history of France, at which a number of hitherto unknown refinements were introduced: the first court ballet, "Circe, or the Comic Ballet of the Queen," was presented, and during the banquets a new pastry made with almonds from Italy, macarone, was served. Seduced, the duke introduced his duchy to these "macarons," of which the taste and tradition have been transmitted to the present day.
In 1867, the Joyeuse pâtissier André Maurice Pellier adapted the recipe to a new baking method It is this secret recipe that the Maison Charaix is still using today in an artisanal manner, selecting only natural ingredients in order to retain the taste of the original macaron.