Montargis is proud of its Praslines, said to have been invented way back in the 17th century, when a certain Clément Jaluzot had the idea of grilling almonds with sugar. They are still made today by Chez Mazet
The town’s Confiserie Douceurs is also famous for its Crotte du Chien de Montargis: a hazelnut praline in a nougatine shell coated with dark chocolate. It honours one of the most famous dogs in French history.
The story goes that Aubry de Montdidier, one of the favourite courtiers of Charles V, was walking his dog in the woods near Montargis when he was assassinated by the knight Robert Macaire, who was jealous of his popularity.
A few days later, the king ordered a search for his friend. The search party came upon de Montdidier’s dog, scratching and digging the ground of his shallow grave. They brought the body and the dog back to court, when the dog, the only witness to the murder, attacked Macaire.
The king then declared a duel should be fought between Macaire, armed with a club, and the dog, who had a barrel he could hide in. The dog won, Macaire surrendered, confessed and was hanged.
The story was turned into a melodrama that ran for years in the theatres of Paris, and was translated into English. Along with the yummy chocolate crottes, the duel is recalled by a dramatic statue by the Musée Girodet in Montargis, and the name of the local American football team, Les Dogs de Montargis.
Images by Summ on Wikimedia Commons, tele3