Aix-en-Provence has its own cookie. You need to try it. It’s an almond-shaped lozenge of joy called the calisson, invented in 1454 for King René, who needed something sweet to win over his significantly younger second wife. Who knows if it worked on her. It worked on us.
There are many, many calisson makers in Provence. Pâtisserie Weibel, founded in 1954, is the best.
The calisson is a gooey mixture of marzipan, candied melons, wafer and icing. Both melons and almonds are major in Provence agriculture. The cookie is served in Provence and many other regions of France at Christmas. It’s also eaten year as a year-round treat in Aix.
We love to buy our calissons and then linger over lunch, or coffee and a sweet treat, at Weibel. It’s perched on the edge of the marche at Place Richelme, jus toutside of the melee, and has excellent people watching. Aixois of all generations come here for an afternoon goûter – the equivalent of a teatime sweets craving. Their lunch options such as quiche, salads and sandwiches, are also well done. In summer they put out an ice cream cart, with house-made ice creams including calisson flavor.
Insider tip: You order calissons by weight and they come in gift packaging. They’re not for consuming “sur place.” Get a mini cake, macaron, or ice cream instead.
2 rue Charbrier, Maisonweibel.com