Northern France Tourism : official website

Afchain and Despinoy Bêtises de Cambrai

The origin of the bêtise

Everyone dreams of one day doing something silly which will not be punished, and even better, will be appreciated and appreciated by all. In 1830, the little Emile Afchain’s dream came true. When he was apprentice in a sweet factory in Cambrai, he made an error in the fabrication of sweets he was making for sale at the next week’s market. He was reprimanded for his error, and was sent to the market to sell his sweets anyway. His parents were very surprised when he returned with his pockets full of money and his basket empty. The inhabitants appreciated the refreshing nature of the Cambresian sweets, believing they had digestive properties. Only 2 brands of the sweet have survived the centuries: the sweet manufacturers Afchain et Despinoy.

Bêtises Afchain
  • A pile of Bêtises Afchain
  • © Samuel Dhote

This sweet really has a lovely story. What has it become today? Since 1994, the Bêtise de Cambrai is classified as Intangible Cultural Heritage of French specialities. It is famous throughout the hexagon, and has even enticed Americans and Japanese, partly for its history and its unrivalled flavour. As well as the traditional mint bêtise, the 2 manufacturers have developed their ranges of flavours which respond to their customer’s demand. There are chocolate, apple, and violet bêtises, as well as other fruit flavours. So many flavours to please your taste buds, and above all, flavours for everyone.

Bêtises Despinoy
  • Bêtises Despinoy
  • © Samuel Dhote

Did you know?

  • The bêtise is 100% natural 
  • The recipe has never changed 
  • The annual production is 550 tonnes per year 
  • The region is still the major manufacturer of these sweets 
  • The French eat an average of 3.5kg of sweets per year
Rows of Bêtises de Cambrai
  • Rows of Bêtises de Cambrai
  • © Olfadiez / Comité de promotion Nord-Pas de Calais

Visit the sweet factory

Confiserie Afchain

ZI de Cantimpré
59400 Cambrai
Visite de groupe sur réservation.
03 27 81 25 49

Confiserie Despinoy

1519 RN
59400 Fontaine Notre Dame
Visite de la fabrication sur réservation.
03 27 83 57 57