There’s one Provençal speciality that’s not very well known, but it’s very photogenic – candied fruit! Vaucluse has long been a kitchen garden of France, and this technique preserves the fruit so it can be eaten in winter – especially at Christmas, when glacé fruit forms one of the traditional “13 Desserts”. As the candied fruit capital of Provence, Apt has just opened its Maison du Fruit Confit (House of Candied Fruit), where visitors can discover these magic ingredients and learn how to cook with them.
THE ART OF CANDIED FRUIT
Making glacé fruit is part of the culinary heritage in Luberon, where orchards of cherry and apricot trees alternate with vineyards and olive trees. Back in Medieval times, the search for brightly-coloured, refined delicacies for their banqueting tables led Avignon’s Popes to buy confiture sèche (“dry jam”), as candied fruit was then called, from the confectioners in Apt. A few centuries later, in 1962, several of the town’s family businesses decided to join forces as a cooperative and Aptunion was born – now ranked world leader in candied fruit. This historic and very local production – employing up to half the town’s working population – earned Apt the gastronomic tourism title of Site Remarquable du Goût in the 1990s.
La Maison du Fruit Confit – The HOUSE OF CANDIED FRUIT
There was nowhere that showcased this emblematic product, explaining its history and the process of fruit-preserving. Now La Maison du Fruit Confit has just opened on the Kerry Aptunion production site at the entrance to Apt. First an exhibition space displays vintage machinery, historical documents, a game of aromas, and various videos showing the candying process, how the fruit is used in cooking, and more. Interpretive panels in French and English help visitors understand the history of the know-how, and the techniques, for preserving fruits in sugar that have been passed down from Antiquity to the present day.
The visit concludes in the tearoom, where visitors have a chance to taste the candied fruit in the form of delicious pâtisseries baked in the place where the fruit was confected.
The last stop is a boutique where plain candied fruit and glacé fruit-based Provençal specialities are on sale, all locally produced. You can also buy various other Provence delicacies like Berlingots de Carpentras, Calissons d’Aix, Ventoux nougats, and more.
Open Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am – 6.30 pm, depending on the season
Admission: individuals, free unguided visit
Guided visit and sampling session (approx 1.5 hours):
- €50 for a group of under 30 people
- €100 up to 60 people (please contact us if your group is larger)
Themed Sessions on a range of topics (“Cherries and their uses”, “Flavours and Aromas”, cookery workshops, etc.), for individual participants on specific dates at a cost of €4 per person. Group sessions on request, with the option of a custom-designed session: €50 (approx. 30 minutes) per group.
Car Park for cars and coaches
Learn more about candied fruit:
You can also visit the Musée de l’Aventure Industrielle (Museum of Industrial Enterprise) in Apt, with one floor dedicated to candied fruit and the two other spaces being devoted to the ochre industry and to ceramics.
Maison du Fruit Confit
Quartier Salignan – RD 900
T. +33 (0)4 90 76 31 43
Contact tour operators: Mathilde Jedryka – firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos © Maison du Fruit Confit, Liza Moreau, Valérie Gillet