Mendiants are very thin chocolate discs with dry fruit or nuts (raisins, almonds, walnuts or pistachios). These chocolates have been served for a very long time in France. They are even part of the 13 desserts traditionally served for Christmas in the southern region of Provence. They are actually linked to the Christian religion in some respects.
The name given to mendiant chocolates refers to its use of dried fruit. According to my sources there are several links between beggars, religion and dried fruit.
To begin with, among the 13 dishes shared by Jesus and his 12 apostles for the last supper (the “Ceme”), there were dried fruits (figs, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, white and brown sultanas). Then, in the 16th century, some men of the cloth took a vow of poverty and lived on the charity of others. The color worn by different catholic orders was a reference to the color of a particular dried fruit they received as beggars (mendiants): gray like dried figs for the Franciscans, white like skinned almonds for the Dominicans, purple like grapes for the Augustins and brown like hazelnuts for the Carns. The fruits used for the mendicant chocolates were chosen to represent the color of the clothes of the four mendicant orders.
Mendiant chocolates are sold all year long and are now must-haves for any chocolatier, but they are traditional and typical Christmas delicacies.
Quite funny to think that these delicious chocolates you are eating are supposed to represent poverty, isn’t it?
Mendiant Chocolate Disc with Fruits and Nuts
Portions: 35 according to the size