Nicola Harrington - guest blogger living in France with 7 holiday rental gites
Nicola Harrington

The president of the Reminiac Christmas Fair called yesterday.

“Nicole, can you make some Christmas cakes for the Christmas fair? We have several requests for them, could you make eight, please?”

The Christmas fair is in ten days’ time, and I don’t have any black treacle or any marzipan.

Is it possible to make a Christmas cake without black treacle, or does it just become a fruit cake?

The marzipan is another worry entirely: the French supermarkets only seem to sell pink or green marzipan.

This year, the Christmas cakes may have to be called ‘Punks’ fruit cakes’.

This morning, the search for black treacle will commence…

First things first: what is ‘black treacle’ in French?


We have done a bit of research and have come up with Mélasse as a French word for black treacle (or also molasses in English). It is a thick syrup obtained from the sap of sugar cane with a taste reminiscent of liquorice. But we expect every British cook worthy of that name already knows that snippet of information!

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