We invite you to discover the couque de Dinant, a kind of biscuit not to be put under all your teeth and whose origin dates back several centuries.
Dinant is a city known for its collegiate church, its citadel, its saxophones but also for its couques. Couque de Dinant is a kind of biscuit made of honey and flour. Jean-Sébastien Jacobs, couquier, used to shape them. His craft is passed down from father to son. This family has been making this particular couque for 5 generations, which can take about fifty shapes thanks to the moulds.
“The sculptors who worked before also worked for the printing press. So they were used to working upside down. you have to think about the fact that the foreground must be deeper than the background”, nou explains the couquier, molds in hand.
After cutting the dough, the design should be printed by tapping firmly. “The couquier learns from each mold. He knows that there are places on which he must push harder”, enlightens Jean-Sébastien.
Then, head to the oven at 250°C for 10 minutes. “It’s a tradition that we are perpetuating. You must always have a concern for authenticity in relation to the product and what you are going to present to the customer”, reports the couquier.
Two legends clash
At the time of the sale, the saleswomen warn the novices. “It looks like a biscuit but it’s eaten like a candy. You have to take the shell, break it into small pieces and let it melt like a candy”, warns Marie-Frédérique Jacobs.
No question of biting into it at the risk of breaking a tooth. The other particularity of this couque is that it can be kept for months. “Honey and flour are two products that keep for a very long time”, says Marie-Frédérique Jacobs.
It is probably this quality that prompted people from Dinant to create this couque, the date of creation of which is debated, several centuries ago. A first legend speaks of the 15th century during an attack on Dinant. “Legend has it that, during a siege, the inhabitants of Dinant, starving, wanted to find resources in spite of everything. And having nothing left, they made, with what was left, this famous biscuit”, explains Axel Tixhon, historian.
But this historian does not believe it because the fighting did not really last long. He therefore leans towards the second hypothesis: a creation in the 17th century when the inhabitants of this fortified city sought a food that could be kept for a long time. “It is a product which can be interesting in periods when we do not have a guarantee of having a regular supply, as was the case in our regions, and in particular in the 17th century with a whole series of wars and seats”says Axel Tixhon. Four centuries later, this couque is still appreciated by Dinant residents and tourists alike.