candy

In the heart of the Burgundy region, the Anis de Flavigny factory has been located within the same ivy-covered Benedictine abbey for the last 400 years. As such, this family-run artisanal business, devoted to its little candy, is the oldest brand in France.

The Anis de Flavigny is a delicious anise candy produced in the small village of Flavigny since 1591. Comprised of only three ingredients (a gram of sugar, an anise seed, and natural flavor), this confection has been a favourite in France for generations.

The candy originated during the Roman era, when a traveler brought the aniseed to France. During the 8th century, monks in the Flavigny abbey conceived the idea of covering the seed with sugar. Thanks to the savoir faire inherited from the Abbey’s monks, the factory team of 30 confectioners continues the tradition by using the same ingredients and recipes as in the 8th century. Within a beautiful copper basin, the confectioners pour warm sugar syrup on the anise seed for 15 days until the sugar-coated seed is a small hard candy no larger than a pea.

In France, the Anis de Flavigny is as famous for its taste as for its adorable packaging. On every Anis de Flavigny metal tin you’ll find a shepherd and shepherdess illustration, largely inspired from the Abbey’s archives. The legend tells that “sharing a candy with an aniseed held in its heart is a demonstration of love.” As the company created new natural flavours, they continued to illustrate the legendary love story on their metal tins. It is always fun to look at their new designs. When I was a kid, I loved to collect them as they looked like old-fashioned little jewelry boxes. And I’m not the only one! Every French person has a story with the Anis de Flavigny.

I was six years old when I first crossed paths with this little candy. My grandmother held a lovely oval metal tin in her hands and I wanted to try this sweet that she seemed to love so much. I asked for one, and she agreed, but only if I swore to not bite into it. “Bien sûr,” I answered. Of course I bit it and almost chipped a tooth. Time after time, that was our ritual. When she had an aniseed, she gave me one with the warning not to bite it. From that experience, I see the Anis de Flavigny as a family heritage and a true gourmet delight.

Located 60 kilometers north-west of Dijon, the Anis de Flavigny artisanal factory is open to the public. If you plan to visit Burgundy, don’t focus only on wine and mustard production. Take a tour of the charming and picturesque village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain perched on its hilltop, and discover a favorite French candy. Just don’t try to bite it.

Zoé Capdevila co-founded Bon Appétit Box with her high school sweetheart, Bertrand Corp. They both decided to come to the US to share their passion for food and French specialties. Each Bon Appétit Box consists of only the finest French gourmet items, along with detailed cards telling the story behind each product, delivered to your doorstep in a thoughtfully curated box. Available for single purchase or as a subscription, Bon Appétit Box is a perfect gift for foodies and Francophiles across America. Open the box and start your journey to France… Voilà!

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Ina Amirault

Think for this article. I have bought back Anis de Lavigny candy from France to Canada a few times as gifts to family, friends and myself. I love the sweet licorice flavour and the surprise seed in the middle.