5 minutes on Reims' famous pink biscuits

Soft or crunchy, and eaten at breakfast, teatime or in desserts, the famous pink biscuit of Reims is loved by children all over Champagne - and it's a nostalgic treat for adults too. But what makes this eastern French speciality so unique?

The Reims pink 'bis-cuit' ('twice-cooked')

It was in the 1690s that Reims' pink biscuit was born. Anxious to save money, bakers pondered how they could use the residual heat from their ovens after baking bread. The idea gained ground. They conceived a special dough that was left to dry out in the oven after a first baking. The 'BIS-CUIT', literally meaning 'twice-cooked', was born.

The pink biscuit wasn't always pink

Originally, the Reims pink biscuit was white. The recipe has evolved over time. The dough was flavoured with vanilla to give it a little more flavour. To hide the fine black particles extracted from vanilla pods, pastry chefs added a natural red dye, carmine, produced from female cochineal beetles.

Make sure you cook it right

Eggs, sugar and flour are the only ingredients of the recipe for Reims' pink biscuits. The dough must be baked quickly at a very low temperature and then cut into the desired shape. To obtain crunchiness, they must be left to dry out. And that's it! All that's left to do is eat them.

Artisan production

Reims pink biscuits are particularly fragile. Their manufacture requires expertise and a delicate touch - and this is why their packaging is also made by hand. The biscuits keep well, retaining their flavour for a year - but it's still recommended to eat them fresh.

A sparkling partnership

According to tradition, Reims' pink biscuits can be combined with the region's most famous drink, champagne, or with a red wine made from the hillside vines. City residents dip them into their glass, as fortunately, they don't crumble or go soggy. This is due to the egg white in the recipe, and to the second cooking.

A lucky biscuit for the royals

Charles X crowned the Maison Derungs, founded in 1800, 'maker of biscuits of the King of Reims'. He was won over by the company's pink biscuits, which he tasted just after being crowned king of France in Reims. Thereafter, the kings of France always ate the biscuits dipped in champagne, before falling asleep the day before their coronation. Legend had it that if the cakes remained whole they could sleep soundly, knowing that their reign would be peaceful.

A recipe unchanged for over 250 years

The annual production of Reims' pink biscuits is around 30 million dozen. Few biscuiteries continue to make them. Only Maison Fossier, founded in 1756, continues to maintain the double baking practice, with expertise passed down from generation to generation and a recipe unchanged for over 250 years. The biscuits are now sold in small, pink, 225g sachets, gently stacked on top of each other.

Maison Fossier (External link)

Feeling peckish?

Strawberry Charlottes, swiss rolls, cakes, tiramisu, framboisiers, tarts, profiteroles, shortbread, waffles, pancakes, pannacotta, crumbles... Reims' pink cookies can be used to prepare or decorate infinite numbers of desserts and pastries. And not only this - they can also flavour savoury dishes such as scallops, or even enter into a recipe for savoury flaky biscuits. Fossier also sells pink biscuit powder to give free rein to cooks' imagination.