What do you get when a young couple decides to market a local biscuit made from a recipe that has run in the family for generations? Les Escalettes de Montpellier! Adrien Briu’s grandmother, Mamie Alix, still makes them traditionally every year around Christmas. When Perrine Guillem tasted the waffle type cookies that her grandmother-in-law made, it was love at first bite.
Both lovers of authentic French cooking, it didn’t take long for Perrine and Adrien to come up with the idea to bring new life to these so-called Escalettes. Well, that’s how they are called in Saint-Saturnin-de-Lucian, Adrien’s native village. If you go 20 km South, people might know these biscuits under a different name. Or won’t know them at all, that’s how local they are. In fact, the Escalette recipe has been transferred from grandparent to parent to child for over 700 years in the Languedoc region. And thanks to the hard work of Perrine and Adrien, we can still enjoy them today. Of course, you can get them in their original lemon flavour. But new flavours have been added, like fleur d’orange, chocolate, aniseed, vanilla and more.
When I visited the workshop in Saint-Saturnin-de-Lucian, it wasn’t difficult to find the exact address. I just had to follow the divine scents that drew me through the picturesque little streets. Perrine and Adrien welcomed me to their small cookie factory while showing me how they make the Escalettes. They started their business in 2019, initially using Mamie Alix’ original waffle maker, fitting one biscuit at the time. However, soon enough Perrine and Adrien needed to upscale. Therefore, they ordered four waffle irons, custom-made using the same pattern as the original one belonging to Adrien’s grandmother, making eight waffles simultaneously. Now, two years later, Les Escalettes de Montpellier are well on their way to becoming Montpellier’s local delicacy.
Every morning, Perrine and Adrien are busy making the Escalettes. Adrien prepares the dough, and Perrine bakes them in the waffle irons, no longer than 30 seconds per side. I was impressed to see how well they coordinated their work together. Perrine even had time to talk to me while flipping the irons and keeping an eye on the timer! The subtle taste of Les Escalettes de Montpellier is a beautiful way to bring back childhood memories. And new memories are created on the spot, as Perrine and Adrien are very popular amongst the kids of the village! Every day, they queue up to ask if they can get an Escalette. Some day they are lucky and get one for free. I wish I were a kid in Saint-Saturnin-de-Lucian…