When I first read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, I wondered why there was such a fuss over the madeleine:
“She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin.”
As far as I understood—from my bedroom in Ohio—the madeleine was a small spongy cookie that I could only find sold in packages at my local coffee shop. I tasted those madeleines in confusion, their dusty crumble drying my mouth as I tried to scratch up Proustian nostalgia.
Not the case with the Donsuemor madeleines that were recently sent to CHOW HQ. Based in the Bay area, but available at Whole Foods and online, Donsuemor’s madeleines are moist, slightly crusty, sweet, and unlike any other cookie I’ve had. Perfect with a cup of a tea and a great novel, they’ve managed to give the packaged madeleine its nostalgia back.
Donsuemor Madelines, $42–58 for a box of 60