Les Bonbons de Grand-Mère began in Liege, in 1895, under the metal arches of the Grand-Bazaar, in the Place Saint-Lambert.
Starting out in business, Jeanne would break her flavoured sheets of sugar with a hammer, like a coalminer, showing remarkable dexterity as she extracted the precious mineral with a series of precise blows producing brightly-coloured, opalescent shards of candy.
Then she would call out her wares in the marketplace, boasting of their wonderful flavours and comforting properties. The packaging at that time consisted of little newspaper cornets that the young shopkeeper would make in the twinkling of an eye and sell for a few centimes.
Later, between the 1960s and 80s, her granddaughter, Maria, continued to run the small family business in the same space under the escalator in the market, tirelessly producing the candy in the way her mother and grandmother had taught her. There were no significant changes in the cooking process, or the technique used to reduce the sheets into delightful, glittering shards. Bonbons cassés (“broken candy”) flavoured with Liège violet, Morello cherry, cinnamon and star anise have been giving the people of Liège moments of “sweet pleasure” for many decades.
When the market space was closed in the early 1980s, the small company looked for another way to continue its activity through regional markets and craft fairs where people were amazed by its delicious traditional confectionery.
For more than a century, Jeanne and her descendants have worked to maintain the family business, inspired by a love for artisanal candy and the pleasure of sharing it with customers delighted to rediscover an authentic product accompanied by childhood memories.
The company was taken over in 2019 by Céline Léonard and Christophe Mausen, who aim to uphold the tradition with a range of hard candy made with natural dyes, free of any animal products or allergens.
The confectionery is sold at artisanal markets, specialist shops and supermarkets, on the internet and to companies and brands wishing to offer a universally appreciated gift, that is inexpensive, and has a long shelf-life (two years).