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Exceptional craftsmen

During your business trip to Marseille, discover the richness and diversity of our region’s emblematic products, from the famous Marseille soap to calissons d’Aix and delicious chocolates. Meet the passionate artisans who perpetuate age-old traditions and put all their know-how into creating exceptional products.

Published on 17 November 2023

L'Espérantine

Located in the heart of Marseille, the L’Espérantine chocolate factory is a veritable gustatory nugget. Created in 1999 to celebrate the city’s 2600th anniversary, it quickly made a name for itself in the exclusive world of high-end chocolates. Its founder, Francesco Martorana, a former top-level athlete turned restaurateur with a passion for Mediterranean gastronomy, has combined the worlds of cocoa and olive oil with unparalleled mastery. L’Espérantine de Marseille-Provence, his signature creation, skilfully combines refined dark chocolate, sweet almonds, candied orange peel and exceptional Extra Virgin olive oil. Tasting this exceptional confection reveals a perfect balance between crunchiness and mellowness, with olive oil playing a subtle role as a flavor enhancer. Presented in boxes with a design inspired by Mediterranean mosaics, Espérantine de Marseille-Provence embodies the elegance and uniqueness of French chocolate-making. An invitation to gourmandise and conviviality, where each bite is a tasty journey into Mediterranean traditions.

The Navettes

Navettes de Marseille, those delicious, emblematic cookies, have a mysterious origin surrounded by legends. According to the most popular, the shape of the navette was inspired by the boat that carried the Saintes-Maries to the shores of Provence. Another legend has it that the discovery of a statue of the Virgin Mary influenced its creation, symbolizing protection for local craftsmen. Every year at Candlemas, Abbaye St. Victor celebrates this tradition with processions and blessings. The Four des Navettes, a former bakery of the abbey, has carried on this tradition, producing these cookies for over 232 years. Over time, Navettes have evolved and are now flavored with a variety of spices, in addition to orange blossom, which remains a staple. In the Panier district, the Navettes des Accoules are also famous for their craftsmanship. A tasting of these delicious Navettes de Marseille is a true journey to the heart of Provencal tradition and gourmet delights.

The calissons of Aix-En-Provence

Calissons d’Aix are a delicious Provencal culinary specialty in the shape of a navette. This traditional confection is made from a fruit paste of candied melon and almonds, covered with a royal glaze and delicately placed on a base of unleavened bread. The precise origin of these sweets remains unknown, but legend has it that at René d’Anjou’s wedding to Jeanne de Laval in 1454, the future queen tasted these smile-shaped cakes and called them “câlins” in Provençal. Since then, they’ve been known as calissons. Calissons d’Aix are classified as part of the intangible gourmet heritage of the city of Aix-en-Provence, and are one of the thirteen desserts traditionally served on Christmas Eve in Provence. The original recipe for calissons d’Aix has remained unchanged since their creation, and their appellation is protected by a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). La Fabrique de la Confiserie Roy René via its Calisson museum lets you discover the different stages in the production of these little “Provencal cuddlies”, while offering total immersion in this century-old confectionery.

The herbalist Père Blaize

Pharmacie Herboristerie du Père Blaize is a renowned establishment in Marseille, carrying on the tradition of herbalists since 1851. With a rich history going back several generations, this pharmacy offers a wide selection of medicinal plants, natural products and traditional remedies. It is renowned for its in-depth knowledge of phytotherapy, and offers sound advice on using plants to treat various ailments and promote well-being. La Pharmacie Herboristerie du Père Blaize embodies the alliance between modern pharmaceutical science and the traditional practices of herbalism, offering customers a holistic approach to health and well-being. As a trusted institution, it continues to attract visitors in search of natural remedies and phytotherapy expertise.

The Emperor's House

Maison Empereur is a veritable treasure trove in Marseille, founded in 1827. One of the oldest hardware stores in France, it offers a vast selection of household items, tools, kitchen accessories, home decor and much more. Upon entering this iconic boutique, customers are transported to a world where handcrafted quality and old-world charm blend harmoniously. Maison Empereur is renowned for its wide range of high-quality products, carefully selected for their durability and functionality. Whether for DIY enthusiasts, kitchen lovers or interior decorators, this boutique offers a unique shopping experience where each object tells a story and embodies timeless elegance.

La Savonnerie de la Licorne

La savonnerie de la Licorne, located in Marseille’s lively Cours Julien district, has been perpetuating the art of artisanal Marseille soap-making since 1894. In this former warehouse steeped in history, Serge and Laurence Bruna carry on the family heritage using century-old machines. La savonnerie de la Licorne offers a range of renowned Marseille soaps of exceptional quality, which are appreciated and delivered to the four corners of the world. You now have the opportunity to discover the Master Soapmaker’s workshop during a free guided tour, and benefit from factory prices on their entire collection of genuine Marseille soaps. Immerse yourself in the authenticity and essence of the soap-making tradition at La Licorne soap factory in Marseille.

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