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More than any other nation, France can be proud of his sugared specialities. Montélimar, Nancy, Cambrai, Aix en Provence, Vichy, etc. have their part of the fame. Verdun has the dragees.
It's in the Coulmier factory that are manufactured the sweets which are appreciated during the weddings, baptisms, communions and other family days.
In Verdun, this sweet is celebrated during a traditional day which brings together 15 000 people. A journalist said : "Which sweet event can be proud of bringing together so many people".
Verdun is really the origin of the dragee and this sweet is completely linked with the town's life. The town magistrates used to give dragees to the very important guests and figures. Henri III and Henri IV received some during their coming in 1574 and 1603. The Verdun elects kept this tradition and each time that a head of state come to the town, he received a dragee's box from Verdun.
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The 2nd of September 1792, Verdun is besieged by the Prussians. Beaurepaire, the army commander suicides himself at the city hall. The General Kalkreuth comes in town to regularize the capture. At the end of his mission, he goes out of the town with his escort, when a rifle shot kills, next to him, a lieutenant, the Count Henkel. At that time, the Prussians want to cancel the surrender and burn the town. To avoid this disaster, the city council goes to the enemy headquarter to make their apologies.
They are not accepted.
A few women had the idea of giving a basket of dragees to the Prussian King. Frederic Guillaume was polite but chilly and he rejected the dragees. When Paris and the National Assembly learnt about the surrender, the annoyance and the terror were extreme. Then, the Prussians were defeated in Valmy and the French came back to Verdun. After the terror and the angry against Verdun, the forgiveness had been difficult, and victims had to be found. Finally, women of Verdun went to the scaffold. Today we remind them at the virgins of Verdun.
Napoleon the first, when Russia retreated, stopped in Verdun the 17th of December 1812 and in spite of his sadness, he remembered the reputation of Verdun Dragees and decided to bring some to the King of Roma.
A confectioner brought to Napoleon the best sweets and Caulaincourt, Napoleon's companion, paid him with a lot of generosity.