At Wild Peaks Chocolates, we specialize in chocolate bonbons and bars made of unique nutty praliné chocolate. Praliné derives from “pralines”, but where do "pralines" come from and how did it originate? Let's dive into this European chocolate tradition.
What is pralines?Pralines are a confection made with nuts (usually almonds or hazelnuts) that are coated in caramelized sugar. Although the exact origins of pralines are uncertain, they are believed to have originated in France in the early 17th century.
Who invented pralines?
The story goes that the Duke of Plessis-Praslin, a French diplomat and sugar enthusiast, asked his chef to create a new dessert that incorporated almonds and sugar. The chef experimented with different techniques and eventually came up with a method of caramelizing sugar and coating almonds with it. The resulting confection was named after the Duke, and became known as "pralines".
Pralines quickly became popular in France, and by the mid-18th century, they were being made in large quantities in the city of Montargis. The pralines made in Montargis were small, round candies made with almonds, sugar, and vanilla, and were known as "pralines de Montargis".
Over time, pralines spread throughout France and beyond, and different regions developed their own variations. In the south of France, for example, pralines were often made with hazelnuts instead of almonds, and were called "pralines du Sud". In the city of Lyon, pralines were made with rose water, giving them a distinctive floral flavor.
What are French praline chocolates then?
French praline chocolates have their roots in the early 20th century, when chocolatiers began experimenting with different fillings for their chocolates. The French version of praline chocolates is slightly different from the original praline confection described above, which is made with nuts and caramelized sugar.
The French version of praline chocolate is made with a combination of ground almonds and sugar that is cooked until it forms a smooth, creamy paste. This paste is then used as a filling for chocolates, which are often coated in milk or dark chocolate.
One of the most famous French praline chocolates is the Praliné, which was created by the French chocolatier, Auguste Poulain, in 1875. Poulain's Praliné was made with a mixture of ground almonds and sugar, and was used as a filling for his chocolates.
New chocolate praline flavors emerged
The Praliné quickly became popular in France, and other chocolatiers began creating their own versions of the filling. Over time, the recipe for Praliné evolved, with some chocolatiers adding hazelnuts or pistachios to the mixture.
In the early 20th century, French chocolatiers began combining Praliné with other ingredients to create new flavors. One popular variation is the Praliné feuilleté, which combines Praliné with layers of crispy, flaky pastry.
Today, French praline chocolates remain a beloved treat, and are a staple of many chocolate assortments. They are enjoyed around the world for their rich, nutty flavor and creamy texture.
At Wild Peaks Chocolates, we thrive to bring you the best of this tradition here in the Pacific Northwest! Do not wait to enjoy our praline handcrafted chocolates here in the PNW!