Published the 02/12/2020 in City Break
An emblematic pastry of the city of Bordeaux, the canelé can now be found on every street corner. This patisserie, steeped in the history of Bordeaux, does not leaves a mark on everybody. And no, there is no chocolate in the recipe, but it is the crunchy shell that has made its reputation. And although it can be found everywhere, we still offer you a selection of the best places to taste this pastry, with traditional addresses and newcomers.
The legend of these little cakes is linked to the history of Bordeaux, and in particular its port. It is said to have been invented by the nuns of the Annunciation order, located near the church of Saint-Eulalie and the Saint-André hospital. The story goes that they used to recover wheat that had fallen out of the holds of ships or bags that had been ripped open and were unsuitable for maritime transport. The egg yolks came from the wine cellars of the Quai des Chartrons, as the whites were used for fining the wine (wine is never far away). And to give them their characteristic taste, vanilla and rum from the Caribbean were used.
However, the nuns were expelled at the end of the 18th century, but the recipe was taken up by some people from Bordeaux who cooked them in their copper moulds on the Quays of Bordeaux. In spite of an origin dating from the 16th century, the canelé only resurfaced in Gironde at the beginning of the 20th century, to become the sweet emblem of the city of Bordeaux.
And even if this pastry is nowadays everywhere, there is still a debate about the exact spelling, canelé or cannelé, it's up to you to choose because both are correct!
The canelé is a relatively simple recipe: eggs, butter, milk, flour and sugar. However, getting the right balance between the crunch of the caramelised shell and the melting of the canelé's core is harder than it looks. Many of us have tried it without much success. One of the key determinants of its success is the famous copper mould, which ensures a perfect convection of the heat, thus guaranteeing the caramelisation of the sugar, and the crispy surface which has made the reputation of the canelé.
Flavoured with vanilla or orange blossom, with a touch of rum, canelé is now available in many forms. Sweet, but also salty.
It also crosses borders, notably to Japan, where it is revisited with local flavours, notably the famous matcha, a green tea powder. Or with cherry blossom.
If two great addresses are generally mentioned as the great classics for tasting canelé, we have also selected a newcomer.
You can't miss the Baillardran sign if you wander around Bordeaux. With its 20 points of sale in the city, or even in Arcachon and Saint-Émilion, it is the right address to take a well-deserved coffee break or bring back a nice copper mould. The brand has been producing more than 20,000 canelés a day for nearly 30 years.
36 Place Gambetta. 33000 Bordeaux (a nice place for a coffee break).
Numerous locations in the city centre, Arcachon and Saint-Émilion (All the locations)
Baillardran's great rival, who has been able to be successful in the region with well-made products at low prices. The quality is also there, and we find the crunchy outside the key of this canelé. Nowadays, you can find shops in the city centre, often close to their main competitor!
(Editor's note: the two addresses have been compared, the canelés are slightly different, and the price of Baillardran's canelé is justified in particular by the use of more noble products, such as vanilla bean and not aromas, and a method of artisanal production).
82-84 rue Sainte-Catherine. Bordeaux. Several locations in the city centre and around
If you want original canelés, or gluten-free, this is the ideal address. You will find a selection of seasonal and original flavours: edamame and mint, aubergine caviar, or chocolate hazelnut. This place is a gem and was a very positive surprise for us!
8 rue Fernand PHILIPPART. 33000 Bordeaux (website)
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 19:00
Located close to the Grosse Cloche, Rue Saint James, it is the perfect location for a quick stop while discovering the old quarter of Bordeaux. Their cannelés are very tasty and crunchy. Rhum, vanilla or vegan cannelés, there is one for everyone!
53 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux (facebook). Open Tuesday to Sunday
Have you made up your mind yet? Be sure to not miss eating a canelé when you visit Bordeaux, its native hometown. Or discover it with us during a food tour around Bordeaux!