Thursday, January 10, 2008

Voisin Papillotes

Voisin TreatsWhen I was in San Francisco I picked up this assortment from Voisin called Papillotes at The Candy Store.

I wasn’t quite sure what it was (and it was $12) but was led to believe that some in the assortment were nougats (hey, they’re French, I love French nougats!) and jellies. Though they’re kind of a traditional Christmas sweet, they’re actually available year round.

The pretty little wax-paper-wrapped treats had little curly fringes and inside the wrappers are little riddles, quotes or cartoons. In France you can just buy them by the handful, and I must admit they’re so cute I wouldn’t mind finding a Christmas stocking stuffed with them. They’re popular in the Lyon region, the legend says that they originated in a confectionery shop owned by a man named Papillot and were invented by one of his workers who was trying to create something pretty to woo a co-worker. Papillot saw the marketing possiblities of the frilly wrapped treats immediately as did the customers. Of course I’m not sure if this is just legend or not. Papillotes means curly papers if I’m to believe some web translators. Are curly papers in general named for this candy or did the man who own the candy shop bear the name Mr. Curly Papers? (Could someone who speaks French educate me?)

Voisin Treats

Whatever the origin, they’re cute and come in four varieties:

Red = Pistachio Creme - okay, maybe it’s not pistachio, maybe it’s marzipan. Anyway, it’s a little too floral/medicinal for me. The good news is that there were only two of these in my assortment.

Green = Hazelnut Praline - this one has a dark chocolate shell with a light nutty truffle filling with a strong hazelnut note to it. Creamy, smooth and satisfying.

Blue =  Orange Truffle - this one was easy to tell apart, it smelled strongly of orange zest. The milk chocolate was a little sweet, but the pieces of orange peel in there and the creamy texture of the whole thing was quite nice.

Pink = p?tes de fruits - I’m guessing this was a pear jelly, it was sweet and flavorful with that little bit of pearish grit to it. Not really the best flavor for me, but nice enough. I would have preferred a citrus or perhaps a raspberry.

The mix I got favored the green & pink wrappers with the exception of two red and two pink, so I lucked out with getting my favorites in quantity.

The little riddles were, well, like those little riddles you get in candy:

Je suis en metal et en plusieurs morceaux. J’habille les chevaliers et les robots. Que suis-je?

The answer is une armure. Oh, man, that’s funny! (Thanks to Wikipedia I now know that the French also suffer from Knock Knock jokes, which they call Toc Toc.)

They’re a fun traditional treat the would make a nice little cultural exchange or just a bright little display on a table at a party. The chocolates are good, not phenomenal, but the story and interactivity with the little curls and wrappers is what sets these apart. (Here’s another French-filled review from Moko Wants Candy.)

Related Candies

  1. Niederegger Marzipan Orange
  2. Soubeyran Array
  3. Caffarel Chocolate Truffle Mushrooms
  4. Boule Chocolates and Fruit Pate
Name: Papillotes
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Voisin
Place Purchased: The Candy Store (San Francisco)
Price: $12.00
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Jelly, Nuts, France

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:44 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. I know that ‘papillon’ means ‘butterfly’ in French.  ‘Papillote’ is a culinary term that means baked in foil or grease-proof paper, according to my mini Larousse dictionary.

    They all look delicious, but the pistachio creme is the prettiest.

    Comment by Miriam on 1/11/08 at 8:11 am #
  2. I think “Papillote” refers to paper that has been twisted up to form a pouch, as for baking fish, or in this case, for candies.

    Your little riddle in English is-
    “I am metal and have lots of peices. I’m used by knights and robots. What am I?” and the answer is “Armor”

    One year I bought some French Christmas crackers (those pull apart things with trinkets and paper hats inside) and they had really corny French jokes that I tried translating for my family, but they involved a lot of puns, which are rarely funny when translated.

    Comment by Pumpkin on 1/11/08 at 9:31 am #
  3. Your guess that the pistachio is actually marzipan is almost certainly right, judging from the photo.

    Comment by calamari on 1/11/08 at 4:28 pm #
  4. Your pretty pictures make me all starry-eyed.

    Comment by Alicia on 1/11/08 at 6:18 pm #
  5. Aha! I bought the green one at Miette Patisserie in the Ferry Building, where they were selling them for fifty cents apiece and where the salesgirl didn’t know what it was. And now I know! I’m glad I picked out a green one to buy.

    Comment by Rosa on 1/12/08 at 5:16 am #
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