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Indre-et-Loire: unique in France, a confectionery conservatory

is planned in Amboise

France Bleu, 20.06.2022

A living confectionery conservatory will certainly soon see the light of day in Amboise. It is a unique project in France which is the work of a 34-year-old confectioner from Tours, Nicolas Viollet.

© Radio France – Denis Guey

In a 900 square meter room, he brought together 40 confectionery-making machines and 2,000 archival items and objects, all relating to the confectioner’s profession. Its objective is first to preserve this tangible and intangible heritage, and then to open its conservatory to visitors at the beginning of next year. He doesn’t want it to be a museum since all the machines will work and make real sweets, in short it will be like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Real machines for making sweets, calissons, nougat and lollipops

Nicolas Viollet, who was born in Chambray-lès-Tours, comes from a family of confectioners; his grandfather and father already made confectionery. So he fell into it when he was little. He took and passed his CAP as a confectioner-chocolatier, but the idea of ​​collecting confectionery machines to preserve this heritage came to him at the age of 14 when his father brought home three dream machines. Two years later, Nicolas bought his first machine for 3,000 euros, a calisson press.

When you push open the door of this living conservatory of confectionery, the smell of sugar immediately transports you into the magical world of nougat, pralines and sweets. On the left, the calisson press coming directly from the town of Cruis in the Alpes de Haute Provence. : “CIt is a cast iron frame, we place plates on it whose cells have the shape of calissons, we will stuff these cells with calisson paste, and then we will apply a plate of icing on top. Nicolas Viollet has been collecting these dream-making machines for 20 years now.

© Radio France – Denis Guey

A living conservatory to safeguard the tangible and intangible heritage of confectionery

The oldest dates from the mid-19th century, the most recent from the 1980s. There is the cutter-wrapper for the caramels, the copper turbines for the pralines, the cylinder frame for the Vosges pastilles: “through these machines, I want to safeguard the tangible and intangible heritage of confectionery and I want to explain how these machines were used in their time “. These machines being all in working order, the living confectionery conservatory will manufacture all the existing candies for its visitors. Nicolas hopes to be able to open it next year. Admission should be free for children so they can bring their parents to enjoy making the candy canes and lollipops of their childhood.

Nicolas Viollet’s project is of interest to the Center Val-de-Loire region, MP Daniel Labaronne, and the town of Amboise who have promised him their support. He also launched a call for crowdfunding on the Dartagnans platform because the Covid crisis seriously slowed down his project.

Denis Guey