This small cake is the speciality of Joyeuse city, in Ardèche. What’s the recipe of this round macaron? Almonds, nuts, eggs whites, sugar, flour, without food colouring or preservative!
Joyeuse in a small city in Ardèche. But it was also the name of Anne, duke of Joyeuse. Who was that sir, and what’s the link with our macaroons?
Well, queen Catherine of Medici specially made macaroons for the marriage’s banquet of Anne and Margaret de Lorraine-Vaudémont, on September 18th 1581. It was a royal marriage, really! The most beautiful feast ever seen...
A period chronicler, Pierre de L’Estoile, wrote that the marriage, "tournaments, gifts, music, clothes" cost more than 100 000 crowns to the king! A pretty big sum, at that time. And for that occasion, this one raised Anne’s fief in Ardèche, Joyeuse, to a duchy.
Well, what about Anne? He was the eldest son of Guillaume of Joyeuse and Marthe de Batarnay. France Admiral, governor of Normandy, he was a real warrior, brave, but... made up like a woman! Yes, because he was king Henri III’s minion...
And what about the bride? She was the queen’s sister, beautiful, blonde and delicate... they loved each other! And on that fine September day, the whole court was gathered in Paris, in the church of St-Germain-l’Auxerrois.
Pierre de L’Estoile talked about the event’s magnificence, but also the ridiculous side of it: the king wanted Anne to be dressed like him, "covered with rich embroideries and gems that cost 10 000 crowns each..."
The party organized by Catherine of Medici (where she served our macaroons) took place on October 15th 1581, in Louvre's palace. The scene was immortalized on a painting displays in Louvre museum, called Le Bal des noces du duc de Joyeuse. In short... Anne really loved our macaroons... he brought them back in Joyeuse city!