Melting the Waxen Hearts of Women


Bon-bons, chocolat, cookies (better known as biscuits or "biccies" in the UK) and fresh flowers seem to sway “women’s waxen hearts”*1 whether in France, Japan or the United States. Maybe that’s why Farmers Markets with their array of divine flora, produce and, of course, desserts have become the vogue in cosmopolitan cities in the US and Japan and around the globe.

Menton Market on the Côte d'Azur

Photos of flower, biscuits and confections courtesy of Ivan Woodhouse.

On the Côte d'Azur – the trendsetting French playground for the rich and romantic since England’s Queen Victoria – the tradition of selling flowers in an open-air market alongside food vendors is a centuries old affair. Daily, visitors to Menton Market see colors plucked off of Renoir’s palette onto the petals of flowers on sale.

Divinely colored fleurs. Photos courtesy of Ivan Woodhouse.

But it’s not just flowers and produce that are offered.  Market-goers in Southern France also get to experience some unique food combinations. I’m talking chocolate covered olives. Or maybe I just think it slightly strange because I was brought up in Tokyo. And you might find it odd that I welcome the modern twist of an azuki bean and green tea cream filling in a candy bar. 

Front and center from the Menton Market: Chocolate covered olives!
Photo courtesy of Ivan Woodhouse.

The Ninja Baker's favorite combos with chocolate:
Azuki beans (on the left) and green tea (on the right.)

The good news in Menton, as in most places around the world; the oldies but goodies do survive. On the Côte d'Azur traditional French cookies and colorfully wrapped candies still abound. Just like Oreos and M & Ms remain staples in the American pantry while Glico’s cream-filled biscuits and Milky caramels with the rosy cheeked lass on the bag endure through thriving, bubble and recovering economic times.

Cookies and caramels that were and still are popular in Japan.
It is comforting for this Ninja Baker that some of "sweet stuff of life" - of childhood -
remains unchanged. 

Whether your palette is on the wild side or prefers the tried and true…

Wishing you a week of unexpected flowers and sweets.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker's recipes are also available at:

The Ninja Baker's Japanese Plum Sweet Memories and Recipes


Bob's Red Mill

Wholesome Sweeteners:
The Ninja Baker's Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake Minis with Espresso Cream

Wholesome Sweeteners:
The Ninja Baker's Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Champagne Glaze & Optional Lemon Peach Marmalade Filling


*1 Shakespeare, William, Twelfth Night,  II, 2, line 27