Like a lot of expats here, I love it when my mum sends me little parcels full of little goodies we can’t find here, mainly books and of course food! There is always a sense of excitement when expecting a parcel, as well as fear… fear that Quarantine decides the parcel contents are too dangerous for Australia and destroys them! However, even though all the parcels sent to me have been opened and inspected, nothing has been confiscated yet (cross fingers touch wood).
This time, my Mum sent me some Bergamotes de Nancy, as I have been bizarrely obsessed with them since my last trip to France a year ago. We were wandering in Paris along the trendy rue Montorgueil with my bestie Céline who was on a mission to find pressies for her family holiday. She set her choice upon a Confiserie and as she was completing her shopping, my eyes fell on those beautiful golden lollies: I immediately knew that I have had these as a young tacker and used to love them, even though I would have been hard-pressed to name the lollie or what it was flavoured with. I bought a couple and kept them for later… a few minutes after, really. As I ate the bonbon and it started melting in my mouth, I was transported years and years backwards, and vague childhood memories started to emerge. It’s magical how tastes and smells can really take you back in time!
However it was too late, our stay was drawing to a close and I didn’t have the opportunity to buy a whole pack.
Well after my return to Sydney, the holiday being just a distant memory, I still couldn’t, nor didn’t want to chase away the taste of that Bergamote… I decided to track some online and get them shipped from the motherland!
These bonbons are a specialty of Nancy in the Lorraine region, North-East of France, home of my mother’s family (hence the childhood memories I suppose).
A little history: Bergamote essence was first introduced to the French court by the Duke of Lorraine/King of Sicily. The fruit comes from the crossing of a wild orange tree and a lemon tree. It was then only used to mask bad body odours…
The following Duke’s (Stanislas) pastry chef had the idea to make a candy out of it and it quickly became the king’s favorite treat. The use of Bergamote was however very confidential until 1857, when Godefroy Lillig, a confiseur from Nancy, created the square and translucent candy we know nowadays.
To make Bergamote candies, some Bergamote essential oil is poured into boiling sugar syrup, provoking a big cloud of smoke. The cooking temperature goes up to 150 degrees to make the sugar very hard. The resulting paste, similar to molten glass, is then shaped into bars, then broken into squares.
So my parcel has arrived, and I have now plenty of Bergamotes to see me through at least a year!
I recently came across another food blogger who had his mother send him a certain type of Barilla pasta from Germany as he was devastated not to find them here. In the end, Barilla Australia had his favourite Barilla imported just for him!
What about you: are there goodies that you miss so much from home that you have a relative send them to you by post? Share your stories!