The above pictures are of my friend, Nezia, and me trying canelé for the first time. If you are planning to travel to the Bordeaux region of France, you must try this regional specialty. This pastry has a dark caramelized crust with a custard-like center. It is flavored with rum and vanilla. I wasn't wild about it when I first tried it - it wasn't bad, I just didn't find it particularly good. But lately, I find myself craving one - maybe because I have acquired a taste for rum-flavored desserts (Jamaican rum cake.)
The history of canelé is very mysterious. While it is definite that it originated in Bordeaux, no one really knows when it came about. Some say it was born in the 14th century while others believe it began in the 18th - a pretty broad timeline. Some believe that it began in convents when the nuns used the egg yolks that were donated by local winemakers who needed the egg whites to clarify their wines. Others think that the nuns of Bordeaux used the spare flour from the ships that came into the port to make sweets for the poor.
Canelé is much like Champagne in that Canelé de Bordeaux must come from the region of Bordeaux and be made strictly by the book. Anything else is considered Cannelé bordelais.
A lot of street vendors in Bordeaux sell canelé (that is where I got my first one.) But you never really know where they are going to be. Baillardran sells them and the shops are pretty much everywhere in Bordeaux (this is also where I would get macarons at times.) You can also find Baillardran in the main train station, Gare Saint-Jean, and in Bordeaux's airport so you can get them coming into or leaving Bordeaux.
Have you tried canelé before? Have you ever been to Bordeaux?