Culinary specialities

Les Mendiants

A friend just gave us a little packet of homemade mendiants. Despite having lived in France for over 40 years, it’s the first time I’ve seen them, although I had heard the name. As you can see, they are chocolate disks with dried fruit and nuts on them. Of Provençal origin, the colour of the fruit and nuts symbolises the four mendicant orders of friars in the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages: Franciscans (Grey Friars), founded in 1209 (raisins), Carmelites (Brown Friars), founded in 1206-1214 (hazelnuts and walnuts), Dominicans (White Friars), founded  in 1215 (almonds cut in half) and Augustines (Saint Augustine Friars), founded in 1244-1256, dark purple (figs and cranberries). I think they’re a great idea – I don’t like anything but chocolate inside chocolates!
Une amie vient de nous offrir un petit paquet de mendiants fait maison. Malgré le fait que j’habite en France depuis plus de 40 ans, c’est la première fois que j’en vois même si je connaissais le nom. D’origine provençale, la couleur des fruits secs sur ces disques de chocolat symbolise les quatre ordres de mendiants de l’Eglise au moyen âge : franciscains (les frères gris) fondé en 1209 (raisins secs), carmélites (les frères marron) fondé en 1206-1214 (noisettes, noix), dominicains (les frères blancs), fondés en 1215 (amandes coupées en deux), augustins (les frères de Saint Augustin) fondés en 1244-1256, violet sombre (figues, baies de canneberge). Je les trouve une excellente idée car je n’aime pas trouver autre chose à l’intérieur d’un chocolat que … du chocolat 

5 replies on “Les Mendiants”

You’ve really been missing out all these years! I usually make a batch every year. I love them (chocolate and nut combo — what’s not to love!) Our local patisserie has teensy weensy ones this year, made in-house. Thanks for the background on the symbolism of the nuts and fruit. I’ve never heard that before, although I knew the connection of the name of the chocolates to the monastic orders.

How interesting as usual, I will try and remember the nutty connections. I have eaten these chocs on high days and holidays ( further church allusion) but eat Jesuites -almond triangles, Religieuse -choux two tiers buns with choc and I’m sure there are other very sweet and tasty things called after the clergy. Seasonally I will leave you with the Parson’s Nose – UK turkey bottom!

@William – They are!
@Susan – I might even make some next year too!
@Lesley – I don’t know Jesuites but I do know Religieuse. I’ve always found it’s an astonishing name!

Looks yummy. Would be great taste.
Maybe a bit like the Italian (I think) biscuit – Florentine – a chocolate layer on the bottom and a mix of nuts & dried fruit on the top.

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