Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crimson Cherries and Fat Pigs

Right now, the stalls at the daily market in the old section of Nice are loaded up with sweet treats for Christmas.  Glacé fruits glow as though they have lights inside them--clementines, lemons and long green stalks of angelica. Elsewhere are confections of nuts and nougat. The petals of violets and roses are candied. 

Best of all are the little sweets made of marzipan. Treated like a sublime modelling clay, the fruits and objets made of almond paste are so exquisite you can't imagine actually biting into one of them.

The amazingly realistic cherries pictured here are the same size as real ones, and no two are the same. The pigs are about the length of your thumb. 

I watched a woman assemble a small box of marzipan fruits, then add a little bag of crystallized violets. Maybe she'll give them as gifts or take them to her family's as a treat to hand round after the Christmas feast.

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