Courtesy Maison Mazet
Maison de la Prasline Mazet
June 14, 2012
The year 1636 saw one of those fortunate accidents that change the course of history: Clément Jaluzot, Officier de Bouche (officer of the mouth) to the Maréchal Duc César de Choiseul, Comte de Pressis-Praslin, caramelized some roasted almonds in sugar and created the first praline. (The New Orleans brown-sugar-and-pecan praline is a colonial derivative.) A few years later, the enterprising gentleman began selling the sweets—under the name Au Duc de Praslin—in Montargis, a pretty little village south of Paris. In 1903, a young confectioner named Léon Mazet bought the coveted recipe and started up his own praline shop in Montargis—Maison de la Prasline Mazet. He later opened a shop on the rue Vivienne in Paris that moved to Avenue Victor Hugo before eventually closing in 2010. Now Mazet is back in Paris with a charming new boutique, using the pink, gold and citron tins that date to the shop’s beginnings. Along with pralines and chocolates, made fresh daily, the confiserie’s specialties include Amandas and Mirabos (chocolate covered nougatine); Givrettes and Grêlons, (caramelized roasted almonds and hazelnuts); Kaloudjas (grilled almonds coated with gianduja, or hazelnut paste); and 18 different chocolate bars, including orange-clove, bitter sesame, salted caramel and, of course, praline. Will Mazet go the way of Ladurée, Angelina and Maison du Chocolat to become an international brand? Stay tuned, but for now the adorable little store with its lemon-yellow facade is beautifully, authentically and singularly French.
37 rue des Archives, 4th, 01.44.05.18.08. website
Originally published in the May 2012 issue of France Today
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