This is the story of how Cacao Art finally put the mendiant, a thin chocolate disc with raisin, dried apricot, pistachio and almond, on its permanent menu.
This very traditional French bonbon has always been a favorite of my mother’s. We would make them for her birthday and they would also creep into the boxes of Latitud 10 Chocolates in Caracas. They are easy to make and look very, very elegant. But it remains a little controversial: you either love dried fruits and chocolate or you don’t. As it happens, we do, so it was easy to add it to our Masterpieces collection.
Here’s the funny part of the story: my mom explained to me once, in passing, that the mendiants were named after the four beggar orders of the Catholic Church and have been served in France for centuries during Christmas. I loved this tidbit of history and liked to tell it when anyone asked about them… but, I never did know the names of the four orders… So it would go like this:
Interested party: Why is this called “mendiant“?
Me: ohhh, great story, each of the fruits and nuts represent the four beggar orders of the Church: the Franciscans, the Dominicans… and I don’t know the other two!
(Awkward little laugh on both sides)
That was my schtick and I was sticking to it! However, sister-in-law Adriana couldn’t take it anymore. We were proudly hacking our wares at the Fairchild Garden’s annual Chocolate Festival and she heard my half-assed version once too many times. A quick search in Google yielded the results: I was missing the Agustinians and the Carmelites! She even told me which fruit goes with what order (Dominicans, almonds; Franciscans, raisins; Carmelites, pistachio; and Agustinians, dried figs or apricots) and they were chosen according to the colors of the orders’ robes in the Middle Ages. So, now I know and the story is so much richer for it. Thanks, Adri!
The mendiants sound traditional and fancy, but, like Susana points out, they are your basic recipe for an awesome power bar. So, this dainty little bonbon has a lot going for it, don’t you think?