These glove shaped cookies are a speciality in Millau and pay tribute to one of its main industries. For many years, Millau has been a centre of the glove making and leather working trade. There are still traditional hand-made glove tailors working away in their shops in side streets, here and there, and some of the shops specialise in leather items.
The large and well organised local museum is well worth a visit. I went years ago when it had a most amazing dwarfish figure on display which was made entirely of leather. It was horrifyingly creepy because it looked just like a real old man - human skin does look like leather when people get old -and it was almost but not quite life sized. This time, I half sorry, half relieved to say, it was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps it had spooked out too many visitors or something.
Anyway, to make leather traditionally must have been one of the most repulsive occupations imaginable, according to the information here. Not only was there a lot of sloshing
around in water, heaving skinned sheep about and scraping of flesh off hides (hence these sabots and tools) but the leather was actually cured by using various substances that are hardly discussed in polite society. Of course it is more salubrious these days than it was in the past.
It is a fine museum, in a handsome building, and its collection includes a display of different types of leather, with explanatory labels, which you can handle and examine for yourself ...
and cases and cases of interesting and evocative items. This travelling salesman's sample box is from a hundred years ago. I specially admired the gloves with the zig zag and the white one with the gold decorations.
And there is ephemera of all kinds, such as this charming and convincing advertisement for waterproof gloves. I do wonder why the girl is wearing such a shapeless garment - perhaps that was the way in the 1920s - and why she would want her gloves to be washable in the first place.
There are also wonderful displays of finished gloves, old and new, ranging from fairly functional to really bizarre - though even the bizarre ones are beautiful, like these stunning feathery gloves by Chantal Thomass. I'm really sorry for all the reflections in these photos by the way.. One of these days I'll get a proper camera with a polarizing filter.
Many of the gloves on display are by fashion's top names. How about this Hermes example, trimmed with what looks like raffia? If it is raffia, then it is very different from that stuff we used to weave with at school :)
There were many gorgeous vintage gloves. I can imagine these the arms of rich ladies in the 1920s.
I wish I had been able to take better photos to show the refinement and delicacy of the stitching and styling of some of these gloves. I really do believe only the French can do couture as it should be done. When I browse through other countries' fashion labels, I think I must be wrong, but then I see the French stuff and it always looks better to me.
(In fact, I even try only to visit Paris when the Paris Fashion Museum has an exhibition, because their exhibitions are so worth seeing (which means I won't be going for a while because the museum is closed till Autumn 2013.). They only run special exhibitions and don't have a permanent collection. and what they gather together makes most fashion collections in top stores look like - oh, Wal-Mart.
I suppose I'm exaggerating, really.)
Anyway, to get back to the edible gloves. Perhaps some French person can let me know if these gloves are made of sable biscuits (recipe here) Crisp and crunchy, literally "sand biscuits,". I would have bought some to find out what they were like myself, but by the time I found this shop, it was closed for the weekend. Ah well. Another day.