Thursday, February 19, 2009

[culinary gems] let them eat cake

Culinary gem

If you were to be served this menu on a special anniversary, [please excuse the lack of French accenting in the spellings], there would hardly be any great surprise until you came to the wines:


Imperatice and Fontanges

Hors d’oeuvres

Souffles a la reines


Fillet of sole a la venitienne

Escalopes of turbot au gratin

Saddle of mutton with Breton puree


Chicken a la Portugaise
Hot quail pate
Lobster a la Parisienne
Champagne sorbet


Duckling a la rouennaise

Canapes of ortolan


Aubergines a l’espagnole

Asparagus spears

Cassolettes princess


Bombes glacees


Retour de l’Inde Madiera, sherry

Chateau -d’Yquem 1847

Chateau Margaux 1847

Chateau-Lafite 1847

Chateau-Latour 1848

Chambertin 1846, Champagne Roederer

Aside from the wines, there is much in that menu which might be provided at any special dinner today. And yet *:

Adolphe Duglere: born Bordeaux 1805, died Paris 1884

Duglere was a pupil of Careme’s and is always associated with the Cafe Anglais in Paris. The Cafe Anglais opened in the Boulevard des Italiens. It was named in honour of the peace treaty just signed between England and France, as he made it one of the most famous in the world.

He also managed the restaurant at Les Freres Provencaux and was the Head Chef at the kitchens of the Rothschild family’s kitchen
The dishes he is famous for creating are Potage Germiny, souffle a la Anglaise, sole Duglere and the reknowned Anna Potatoes; named after Anna Deslions, a lady of high fashion at the time.

At an historic dinner, which became known as ‘the three Emperors’ due to the attendance of Alexander II, the future Alexander III, Wilhelm I of Prussia and Bismark, it was Duglere who was the Chef Patron.
The dinner on June 7, 1867 was an expensive and extravagant affair even for those times.

The menu above was from that dinner. One marvels at how the ordinary mortal today is able to partake of such fare and not think twice about it.

What would the peasants have eaten in those days? Cake?

* I’ve lost the link but the site was “Talleyrand’s Culinary Fare”.