What's the history behind the Jacqueline from Dijon?

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Philip the Bold Speciality

What’s this?

One of Dijon’s most famous speciality, the Jacqueline! This sweet has a meringue shell and a heart melting in the mouth, flavoured with almond, nougatine, coffee or blackcurrant. Aah, the blackcurrant! A typical fruit from Dijon city: here, this species is also known as Noir de Bourgogne ("Burgundys' Black").

The little history

At the top of Notre-Dame church in Dijon, you’ll see the jacquemart ("bell striker") and his wife, Jacqueline, who ring hours! Yes, our candy celebrates this little woman, a real symbol here.

Dijon’s jacquemart was mentioned for the first time in 1458. This kind of bell striker was automaton with a hammer on his hand, ringing hours at the top of their belfry. Where does the name jacquemart come from? Maybe from a Flemish clock-maker, Jacques Mart... or maybe it comes from jacque de maille, which was a kind of coat of mail our jacquemart used to wear?

Anyway, Dijon’s jacquemart was originally in Courtrai city, in Flanders... here’s the story: Flemish rebelled against count of Flanders Louis of Male, in 1382. King of France Charles VI the Mad and duke of Burgundy Philip the Bold immediately came to help them.

They quickly defeated the Flemish army in Rosebecque and king of France ordered to give golden spurs back, stole on French knights who died here in 1312! The defeated refused, so the king burnt and plundered the city. But before everything went up in smoke, the duke took the jacquemart from the belfry. Now... let’s go back to Dijon!

Once they get here, they had to fix the bell’s mechanism: oh, such an expensive thing, so that duke of Burgundy, bishops, believers and even Jews had to pay for it! They often restored the bell in the 14th and 15th century. In 1500, they displayed the new jacquemart (made of walnut wood, about 1 metre high, wearing soldier clothes).

And after that, at the end of the 16th century, they designed a little girlfriend for our jacquemart: Jacqueline! In 1715, poet Aimé Piron gave a letter to Dijon’s mayor... signed by the wooden couple! They wanted children! Oh, OK... they needed help to strike hours! So they gave them a son, few years later: Jacquelinet. In 1884, Jacquelinette joined them to strike the quarter of an hour...

And also!