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Louis XV: Tales of love and cookery

If Louis XIV was known to eat alone in public, according to the royal protocols, his successors, on the other hand, tried to escape from it. The last years of his reign saw the emergence of the fires of conversation, the pleasures of gastronomy, and the presence of women at the table, exploding the stuffy and rigid atmosphere of the royal dining room!

Under Louis XV, (1715-1774), the king and his entourage developed a gastronomic culture of excellence. Marshal de Richelieu, a French academician, used to say: "before the reign of Louis XV, we didn't know how to eat".
King Louis XV often escaped from his representative functions to his small apartments where, in small committee, he ate without ceremony with his intimates, and even took pleasure in cooking himself. The thing is... King Louis XV mixed the pleasures of Bacchus and Venus. Thus, all the women who accompanied his life were gastronomic and cooked for him. Here are a few portraits of women (and dishes) that shaped his life!

Marie Leszczynska, and the famous Bouchées à la reine

His wife, Marie Leszczynska, daughter of the king of Poland and duke of Lorraine, a prodigious gourmet who invented the rum baba, is still famous for her taste for bouchées à la reine. She would have them made in individual portions (hence the name) so that she could eat them even when others were eating something else.

Jeanne Poisson and the Filets de sole à la Pompadour

Then came the reign of the favorites. Madame de Pompadour, born Jeanne Poisson, the king's mistress until 1764, had a definite political influence and gastronomic interest. She invented many dishes with the help of her cooks, including Vincent la Chapelle, author of Cuisinier françois; in particular, sole fillets à la Pompadour, with truffles and mushrooms, lamb tendrons au soleil (cooked in broth with slices of veal and truffles), and poultry fillets en Bellevue.

Miss du Barry, the mother of the Chou-fleur du Barry

Madame du Barry was not to be outdone. It is perhaps from her that the custom of naming a dish after the favorite dates back to. She left her name to garnishes of cauliflower balls associated with baked pommes château. She is also famous for the sentence she once addressed to Louis XV who liked to make his own coffee, and when the king had let the coffee grounds overflow: "France, ton cfé fout le camp." (In English "France, your coffee is a mess."

Miss O'Murphy, Notre Dame des Pommes de terre

Even less famous mistresses such as Miss O'Murphy, immortalized in Boucher's painting, Irish by origin, received a gastronomic nickname: "Our Lady of the Potatoes". Thus, under Louis XV, gastronomy reigned supreme over the king's entourage, at his instigation, and the relationship between friendship, courtiers, the charms of his mistresses, politics and diplomacy was probably never so close. The Marshal of Richelieu was definitely right to say that one did not know how to eat (and love ?) before the reign of Louis the fifteenth!


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