French Christmas edible gifts: les mendiants

Mendiants (watermark small)


When I was a child, I was living in what one would call a small town: 15,000 inhabitants. Once in a while we would go to the big town close by, it was THE big trip…

As a chocolate lover, my mum would take us for a treat to a dream chocolate shop created back in 1781: Viellard. Yes… there are many chocolate shops across France, and yes… French people do love their chocolate :-) We were then only allowed to buy a couple of things so we had to choose carefully!

Among my favourite chocolate treats were the mendiants*. Mainly sold at Christmas, mendiants are traditional French confections originally composed of a chocolate disc studded with nuts and dried fruits: raisins, hazelnuts, dried figs and almonds as reference to the colours of the monastic robes of the four mendicants or monastic orders of the Dominicans: Dominicans, Augustins, Franciscans and Carmelites**.

Made with premium quality chocolate, mendiants are a delight and they come nowadays with every kind of little toppings… I have then created some with a dark chocolate base and the following:

  • almonds and little white chocolate stars
  • walnuts, blond raisins and little white chocolate stars
  • and for a more funky childish twist: chocolate coated popping candies (Heston Blumenthal’s) and little white chocolate stars

Mendiants piled (small)

Yes, I know, as you may have already noticed from previous posts, I love stars :-)

But back to our mendiants: they are really quick to make, they make lovely edible gifts for Christmas and you can get your children involved in decorating them.

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Mendiants (title small)

Serves 6
Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. • 100 grams quality chocolate
  2. • Dried nuts, dried fruits or any other small toppings (I used walnuts, almonds, raisins, chocolate coated popping candies, white chocolate stars)
  1. Melt the chocolate “au bain marie”, which means… Break your chocolate into pieces, put it into a bowl and place the bowl in a saucepan of boiling water. Carefully stir the chocolate until it’s completely melted (it only takes a couple of minutes) and take the bowl away from the pan.
  2. Lay a sheet of parchment paper onto a tray. Spoon some chocolate onto the sheet creating little discs (6 to 8) and gently tap the tray on the work surface so as you get wider more regular chocolate discs.
  3. Decorate each chocolate disc with your small toppings.
  4. Leave your mendiants to cool down until the chocolate is hard again (about an hour) and gently remove from the parchment paper with a spatula/turner or similar.

*The literal translation for mendiant is beggar. **Information source: Wikipedia.

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  1. says

    What beautiful little chocolate treats – perfect for Christmas gifts. I did slabs of chocolate bark in a similar way, but I love the idea of doing little discs and will def be doing them this week for all the gifts i’m making! Thanks for sharing.


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