Calissons and the art of smuggling

What is the most French smuggling stash you can think of? That question came to mind just the other day in Aix-en-Provence, when I walked by this shop.

Their specialty is calissons d’Aix, a delicious almond-based treat. You can order some here:


So what does this have to do with spies and smuggling? Well, for that, you’ll have to read The Greenland Breach, by Bernard Besson. Below are a few calisson-related excerpts. John is our lead spy.

On the way home, John stopped at a boulangerie and bought a box of calissons d’Aix, the almond-shaped marzipan sweets made in Aix-en-Provence.
“Is it a gift?”
John put the calissons on the table. Victoire understood that the present was not for her but for someone in Greenland. She had a talent for guesswork and making it known without saying a thing. Yet again, he felt he’d been seen through and forgiven without a word being exchanged.
“The Harpers may well want to screw me over for some reason that escapes me, but we’ll soon see who screws whom. That’s why I bought the calissons. If there’s a gorgon in the snows of Greenland, I’ll cut its head off with my confectionary.”

I, of course, won’t give away what he smuggled into Greenland with the calissons. I do like the stash, though, and the calissons.