What did royalty eat in 18th century France? A closer look at French cuisine in the 1700s.

In the 1700s, royalty in France was known for their extravagant lifestyle and opulent dining. French cuisine during this time was considered to be the epitome of elegance and sophistication. With the help of the latest research, we take a closer look at what dishes were served to the French royalty in the 18th century. Get ready to indulge in a culinary journey that will transport you back in time to the extravagant world of French royalty.

Quick Answer:
In 18th century France, royalty enjoyed a rich and varied cuisine that reflected the country’s reputation as a culinary powerhouse. French cuisine in the 1700s was characterized by its use of fresh, high-quality ingredients, and complex preparation techniques. Meals at the royal court typically began with a variety of hors d’oeuvres, such as pastries, charcuterie, and cheese, followed by a main course of meat or fish, accompanied by vegetables and sauces. Desserts were also an important part of the meal, with a range of sweet treats including tarts, cakes, and sorbets. Wine and other drinks were also served to accompany the meal. Overall, the cuisine of 18th century France was a reflection of the country’s refined and sophisticated culture, and remains an influential part of French culinary tradition today.

The influence of French cuisine on royal dining

The rise of French cuisine in the 1700s

The 1700s was a pivotal period in the development of French cuisine, particularly in relation to royal dining. This era saw the emergence of several key factors that would come to shape the way royalty dined in France.

One of the most significant developments during this time was the growth of the French culinary arts. As French cuisine began to gain international recognition, chefs and cooks started to experiment with new techniques and ingredients, leading to the creation of a wide range of innovative dishes. Many of these new dishes were then served at the royal court, providing a platform for the culinary arts to showcase their creativity and expertise.

Another factor that contributed to the rise of French cuisine in the 1700s was the increasing influence of French culture on a global scale. As France became a dominant force in European politics and the arts, the country’s cuisine began to be celebrated and imitated by people all over the world. This meant that French chefs and cooks had access to a wider range of ingredients and flavors, which they could then incorporate into their royal menus.

In addition to these cultural and artistic developments, the 1700s also saw significant changes in the French economy and agriculture. Improved transportation networks and new farming techniques allowed for greater access to fresh, high-quality ingredients, which in turn helped to elevate the status of French cuisine. As a result, royal dining in France became more diverse and sophisticated, with a greater emphasis on seasonal ingredients and elaborate presentation.

Overall, the rise of French cuisine in the 1700s played a crucial role in shaping the way that royalty dined in France. With a greater focus on creativity, diversity, and quality, French cuisine became an integral part of royal culture, influencing everything from the types of dishes served to the way that meals were presented and enjoyed.

The role of French chefs in royal courts

The French cuisine of the 1700s was heavily influenced by the royal courts, where French chefs played a crucial role in creating elaborate and extravagant dishes for the aristocracy. These chefs were highly skilled and trained in the art of cooking, and were responsible for preparing meals that were not only delicious, but also visually stunning.

One of the most important aspects of the role of French chefs in royal courts was their ability to create dishes that were fit for royalty. This meant using only the finest and freshest ingredients, as well as employing techniques that were considered to be the height of culinary sophistication. For example, the use of French techniques such as sautéing, braising, and reductions were all considered to be essential skills for any French chef working in a royal court.

Another key aspect of the role of French chefs in royal courts was their ability to create dishes that were visually stunning. This meant that they had to be skilled at plating and presentation, as well as being able to create elaborate and ornate decorations for the dining table. These decorations could include everything from elaborate centerpieces to intricate sugar sculptures, and were designed to create a sense of opulence and grandeur that was fitting for royalty.

French chefs in royal courts were also responsible for creating new dishes and culinary innovations. They were constantly experimenting with new ingredients and techniques, and were often tasked with creating dishes that were unique to the royal court. This meant that they had to be able to think outside the box and come up with new and exciting ideas that would impress the royal family and their guests.

Overall, the role of French chefs in royal courts was crucial to the development of French cuisine in the 1700s. They were responsible for creating dishes that were fit for royalty, visually stunning, and culinary innovative. Their skills and expertise helped to shape the culinary landscape of France, and their influence can still be seen in French cuisine today.

The food served to royalty in the 1700s

Key takeaway: The 170s was a pivotal period in the development of French cuisine, particularly in relation to royal dining. The growth of the French culinary arts, the increasing influence of French culture on a global scale, and significant changes in the French economy and agriculture contributed to the rise of French cuisine during this time. French chefs played a crucial role in creating elaborate and extravagant dishes for the aristocracy, using only the finest and freshest ingredients, employing techniques that were considered to be the height of culinary sophistication, and creating dishes that were visually stunning. The royal breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the 170s were grand affairs, with a variety of dishes and flavors to choose from, reflecting the wealth and power of the French monarchy. Snacks and desserts were also a reflection of the rich and varied cuisine of the time, with a focus on presentation and elaborate food displays. The use of elaborate food displays was a crucial aspect of royal dining in 18th century France, creating a sense of grandeur and opulence, and showing off the culinary skills of the royal chefs. The influence of French cuisine on international cuisine is significant, as it has shaped the way many cultures approach cooking and dining, with the wide dissemination of French culinary techniques, the incorporation of French ingredients into international dishes, the advancement of fine dining experiences, the emphasis on regional flavors and seasonal ingredients, and the influence on culinary education and training. The lasting legacy of French cooking techniques from the 170s can be seen in the widespread use of the five mother sauces, classical cooking techniques, high-quality ingredients, and presentation techniques in modern cooking. Recreating dishes from the 18th century requires sourcing ingredients and spices, finding the right cooking techniques, and adapting recipes for modern tastes.

Breakfast

In the 1700s, breakfast for royalty in France was a lavish affair, consisting of a variety of dishes that reflected the extravagance and opulence of the time. The meal was typically served in the early morning hours, often in a grand dining hall or private chambers, and was prepared by skilled chefs who used the finest ingredients and culinary techniques available.

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Some of the common breakfast items served to royalty in the 1700s included:

  • Fruit: Fresh seasonal fruit was a staple of the royal breakfast, often displayed in ornate fruit bowls and served with a variety of sauces and preserves.
    * Bread and Pastries: A selection of freshly baked breads and pastries, such as croissants, brioche, and pain au chocolat, were also typically offered. These were often accompanied by a variety of jams, jellies, and other sweet spreads.
  • Eggs: Eggs were a popular breakfast item among the royalty, and were often served in a variety of ways, such as fried, boiled, or poached. Omelettes and eggs in purgatory were also popular choices.
  • Cheese and Charcuterie: A selection of cheeses and cured meats were often served as part of the royal breakfast, along with a variety of pickles, relishes, and other condiments.
  • Tea and Coffee: Hot beverages such as tea and coffee were also popular choices for breakfast, and were often served with a variety of sweet and savory pastries.

Overall, the royal breakfast in the 1700s was a sumptuous and extravagant affair, reflecting the wealth and power of the French monarchy during this time. The dishes served were carefully chosen to showcase the finest ingredients and culinary techniques available, and were often accompanied by a variety of sauces, condiments, and other accoutrements to enhance the flavors and presentation of the food.

Lunch

In the 1700s, lunch was an important meal for the French royalty. It was usually served around noon and consisted of several courses. The first course was called the “entree” and usually consisted of a light soup or broth. This was followed by the “plat principal,” which was the main course of the meal. This could be a variety of dishes, such as roasted meats, stews, or pies. The third course was called the “fromage,” which was a selection of cheeses and fruits. Finally, there was the “dessert,” which was a sweet course that could include pastries, tarts, or cakes.

Each course was served with a variety of side dishes, such as vegetables, salads, and bread. The dishes were usually served on fine china and accompanied by fine wines. The royalty also had access to a variety of exotic and rare ingredients, such as spices, fruits, and meats, which were not commonly available to the general population.

The lunch hour was also an opportunity for the royalty to socialize and interact with their guests. It was not uncommon for lunches to last several hours, with multiple courses being served over the course of the meal. The lunch hour was also an opportunity for the royalty to take a break from their busy schedules and enjoy a leisurely meal with their loved ones.

Overall, lunch was an important part of the daily routine for the French royalty in the 1700s. It was an opportunity to enjoy a delicious and elaborate meal with friends and family, and to take a break from the stresses of daily life.

Dinner

In the 1700s, dinner was the most important meal of the day for royalty in France. It was a grand affair, with multiple courses and a variety of dishes to choose from. The menu would often change depending on the season and the occasion, but there were some staples that were always present.

One of the most popular dishes was potage, a thick soup made from vegetables, meat, and spices. It was often served with a side of bread or croûtes, a type of crispy bread that was popular in France at the time. Another popular dish was ragoût, a rich and flavorful stew made from meat, vegetables, and spices, which was often served with pommes de terre, or fried potatoes.

Meat was a staple of the royal dinner table, and a variety of dishes featuring different types of meat would be served. Larded meats, which were infused with fat to make them more tender, were particularly popular. Garniture was another popular dish, which consisted of a piece of meat, such as beef or pork, that was stuffed with a variety of herbs, spices, and sometimes even fruits.

Desserts were also an important part of the royal dinner, and a variety of sweet treats would be served. Compote was a popular dessert, made from a variety of fruits that were cooked together with sugar and spices. Gâteau was another popular dessert, which was a type of cake made from flour, sugar, and eggs. It was often served with a variety of toppings, such as fresh fruit or whipped cream.

Overall, the dinner served to royalty in 18th century France was a grand and elaborate affair, with a variety of dishes and flavors to choose from. It was a time for celebration and indulgence, and the food served was a reflection of the wealth and power of the French monarchy.

Snacks and desserts

During the 18th century in France, the royalty enjoyed a variety of snacks and desserts that were carefully prepared by skilled chefs. These snacks and desserts were not only delicious but also visually appealing, as presentation was an important aspect of French cuisine during this time.

Some of the popular snacks and desserts served to the royalty included:

  • Champagne Cake: This cake was made with layers of sweet brioche and soaked in champagne or sparkling wine. It was often garnished with fresh fruit and decorated with intricate sugar work.
  • Petit Fours: These small cakes or pastries were made with a variety of ingredients such as puff pastry, sponge cake, and choux pastry. They were often served as a snack or dessert and were usually accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Croissants: The croissant, a popular French pastry, was also enjoyed by the royalty during the 18th century. It was made with a flaky, layered dough and often filled with chocolate, fruit, or cheese.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate was a luxury item during the 18th century, and it was often served as a snack or dessert to the royalty. It was often combined with fruit or nuts and was sometimes used to make truffles or other sweet treats.
  • Fruit: Fresh fruit was always a popular snack and dessert option during the 18th century. The royalty enjoyed a variety of fruits, including strawberries, cherries, and melons, which were often served with cream or sauces.
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In addition to these snacks and desserts, the royalty also enjoyed a variety of other sweet treats, such as macarons, tarts, and custards. These treats were often served at formal dinners and banquets, as well as at more informal gatherings.

Overall, the snacks and desserts served to the royalty in 18th century France were a reflection of the rich and varied cuisine of the time. These treats were not only delicious but also served as a way for the royalty to show off their wealth and status.

The importance of presentation in royal dining

The role of table settings and silverware

The 18th century was a time of grandeur and opulence, particularly in the French court. The royal table settings and silverware played a crucial role in creating an atmosphere of luxury and sophistication during meals. The choice of dishes, the arrangement of the table, and the selection of silverware were all carefully considered to create a spectacle that would impress guests and demonstrate the wealth and power of the monarch.

Table settings in the 18th century were elaborate affairs, with multiple courses served on fine china plates and accompanied by crystal glasses. Each course was served on a separate plate, with a different pattern and design to reflect the specific dishes being served. The plates were often ornately decorated with gold or silver rim

The use of elaborate food displays

Elaborate food displays were a key aspect of royal dining in 18th century France. These displays were meant to impress guests with the grandeur and opulence of the royal household. They were also intended to showcase the culinary skills of the royal chefs.

One common method of creating elaborate food displays was to use towering structures made from sugar or pastry. These structures could be decorated with all sorts of elaborate designs, including shells, leaves, and flowers. They were often filled with a variety of sweet treats, such as fruits, candies, and pastries.

Another popular method of creating elaborate food displays was to use intricate arrangements of fruits and vegetables. These arrangements could be made to resemble anything from animals to religious symbols. They were often placed on elaborate platters or in ornate bowls, and could be served as part of the main course or as a dessert.

In addition to these structural displays, royal dining in 18th century France also involved a great deal of attention to detail when it came to the presentation of individual dishes. Meals were often served on fine china and silverware, and dishes were arranged on the table in a specific order, with each dish being presented by a member of the royal household.

Overall, the use of elaborate food displays was a crucial aspect of royal dining in 18th century France. These displays helped to create a sense of grandeur and opulence, and showed off the culinary skills of the royal chefs.

The influence of French cuisine on modern cooking

The impact of French cuisine on international cuisine

The influence of French cuisine on international cuisine is significant, as it has shaped the way many cultures approach cooking and dining.

Wide dissemination of French culinary techniques

French culinary techniques, such as sautéing, frying, and baking, have been widely adopted by chefs around the world, making French cuisine a foundation for many modern cooking styles.

Incorporation of French ingredients into international dishes

French ingredients, like butter, cream, and cheese, have become staples in many international cuisines, transforming traditional dishes and adding a distinct French flair.

Advancement of fine dining experiences

The French approach to fine dining, with its emphasis on presentation, service, and attention to detail, has inspired culinary establishments worldwide, elevating the dining experience for patrons.

Emphasis on regional flavors and seasonal ingredients

French cuisine’s focus on using fresh, seasonal ingredients and highlighting regional flavors has influenced other cuisines to emphasize these elements, promoting a greater appreciation for terroir.

Influence on culinary education and training

French culinary schools and techniques have set the standard for culinary education and training worldwide, shaping the careers of countless chefs and influencing the way cooking is taught and learned.

The lasting legacy of French cooking techniques

The French cuisine of the 1700s had a profound impact on modern cooking techniques, and many of the methods and techniques used in today’s kitchens can be traced back to this era. One of the most significant contributions of French cuisine to modern cooking is the development of the five mother sauces: bechamel, espagnole, velouté, demi-glace, and hollandaise. These sauces form the basis of many other sauces and are still widely used in modern cooking.

Another important contribution of French cuisine to modern cooking is the use of classical cooking techniques such as sautéing, roasting, and braising. These techniques are still widely used in modern cooking and are considered fundamental to many cuisines around the world. The use of classical cooking techniques also led to the development of new tools and equipment, such as the double boiler and the pressure cooker, which are still used in modern cooking.

French cuisine of the 1700s also placed a strong emphasis on using fresh, high-quality ingredients, which has become a cornerstone of modern cooking. The use of fresh ingredients, combined with classical cooking techniques, allowed for the creation of complex and flavorful dishes that are still popular today.

Additionally, the presentation of food was also a significant aspect of French cuisine in the 1700s, and this attention to presentation has carried over into modern cooking. The use of elegant and decorative presentation techniques, such as arranging food on a plate in a visually appealing way, is still a common practice in modern cooking.

In conclusion, the lasting legacy of French cooking techniques from the 1700s can be seen in the widespread use of the five mother sauces, classical cooking techniques, high-quality ingredients, and presentation techniques in modern cooking. These techniques and practices have been passed down through generations of chefs and continue to shape the culinary landscape of the world today.

The challenges of recreating 18th century royal dishes

Sourcing ingredients and spices

In order to recreate the dishes that were served to 18th century French royalty, it is important to consider the sourcing of ingredients and spices. Many of the ingredients and spices used in 18th century French cuisine were imported from various parts of the world, including the colonies, which posed logistical challenges for the royal kitchen staff.

One of the main challenges was the sourcing of exotic spices and ingredients. The spice trade was controlled by the Dutch and the Portuguese, who had established routes to the East Indies and the Far East. As a result, these countries held a monopoly on the spice trade, making them extremely expensive and difficult to obtain.

In addition to the high cost, the spices and ingredients also had to be transported over long distances, which added to the challenge of sourcing them. The royal kitchen staff had to rely on a network of suppliers and merchants to obtain the necessary ingredients and spices, which was not always easy.

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Moreover, the quality of the ingredients and spices varied depending on the source and the time of year. For example, saffron was only harvested in the fall, which meant that it was only available for a limited time. This made it difficult to obtain consistent quality and quantity of ingredients, which was essential for the creation of complex dishes.

Overall, sourcing ingredients and spices was a major challenge for the royal kitchen staff in 18th century France. They had to rely on a network of suppliers and merchants to obtain the necessary ingredients and spices, which were often expensive and difficult to obtain. Additionally, the quality of the ingredients and spices varied depending on the source and the time of year, which made it difficult to create consistent and high-quality dishes.

Finding the right cooking techniques

Recreating the dishes that were served to the royalty in 18th century France is no easy feat. One of the biggest challenges is finding the right cooking techniques to replicate the flavors and textures of the past. Many of the techniques used in the 1700s are no longer in use today, and it requires a great deal of research and experimentation to find the right methods.

One of the most important aspects of 18th century French cuisine was the use of fire and heat to cook the food. This was a time before electricity and gas stoves, so all cooking was done over open flames or in hot coals. To replicate this technique, modern chefs must use cast iron or copper pots and pans that can withstand high heat and distribute it evenly.

Another key aspect of 18th century cooking was the use of broths and sauces to add flavor to the dishes. These broths and sauces were often made from scratch, using a combination of vegetables, herbs, and spices. To replicate these flavors, modern chefs must use the same ingredients and techniques, as well as the right proportions and timing.

In addition to the cooking techniques, the presentation of the dishes was also an important aspect of 18th century French cuisine. The royalty expected their food to be not only delicious, but also visually appealing. This meant that the dishes had to be arranged in a specific way, with certain elements placed strategically on the plate. To replicate this presentation, modern chefs must study the art of plating and learn how to arrange the food in a way that is both visually stunning and balanced in flavor.

Overall, recreating the dishes served to the royalty in 18th century France requires a great deal of attention to detail and a deep understanding of the cooking techniques and presentation of the time. It is a challenging task, but one that can yield delicious and authentic results for those who are willing to put in the effort.

Adapting recipes for modern tastes

Re-creating dishes from the 18th century can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to royal cuisine. One of the main challenges is adapting the recipes to modern tastes while still maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the original dish.

Here are some strategies that chefs and culinary historians use to adapt 18th century recipes for modern palates:

  • Ingredient substitutions: Many ingredients that were commonly used in the 18th century are no longer used today, such as certain spices, herbs, and animal products. Chefs may need to substitute these ingredients with modern equivalents that have similar flavors and textures.
  • Portion sizes: The portion sizes of 18th century dishes were often much larger than what we are used to today. Chefs may need to adjust the recipe to create a more reasonable serving size.
  • Cooking techniques: Many cooking techniques that were used in the 18th century are no longer used today, such as the use of live fire or the extensive use of gelatin. Chefs may need to adapt the recipe to use modern cooking techniques that achieve similar results.
  • Presentation: The presentation of 18th century dishes was often elaborate and decorative, with elaborate platters and sauces. Chefs may need to adapt the recipe to create a visually appealing dish that still captures the essence of the original.

Overall, adapting recipes for modern tastes requires a deep understanding of both the historical context of the dish and the modern culinary landscape. It is a delicate balance between maintaining the authenticity of the original recipe and creating a dish that is both historically accurate and appealing to modern palates.

FAQs

1. What kind of food did royalty eat in 18th century France?

Royalty in 18th century France ate a variety of foods, including meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and desserts. The dishes were often rich and elaborate, featuring expensive ingredients such as truffles, caviar, and rare spices. French cuisine during this time was known for its focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients and intricate preparation techniques.

2. How did French cuisine influence the food of royalty in the 1700s?

French cuisine played a significant role in shaping the food of royalty in the 1700s. The elaborate and refined dishes of French cuisine were highly sought after by royalty and the wealthy elite. Many French chefs were employed by royal courts throughout Europe, spreading the influence of French culinary techniques and flavors. As a result, the food of royalty in the 1700s was heavily influenced by French cuisine, with dishes often featuring rich, buttery sauces, delicate pastry work, and intricate presentation.

3. What were some popular dishes among royalty in the 1700s?

Some popular dishes among royalty in the 1700s included game birds such as pheasant and partridge, as well as meats like venison and beef. Seafood was also a staple, with dishes like salmon and lobster being served frequently. Vegetables and fruits were also featured prominently, often prepared in intricate ways such as stuffed or garnished with herbs. Desserts were also a significant part of royal meals, with dishes like creme brulee, eclairs, and chocolate mousse being enjoyed by the wealthy elite.

4. How did the food of royalty in the 1700s differ from that of the common people?

The food of royalty in the 1700s was vastly different from that of the common people. While the wealthy elite enjoyed rich, elaborate dishes made with expensive ingredients, the common people typically ate simpler, more basic fare. Their diets consisted of staples like bread, cheese, and vegetables, with meat being a luxury item that was only consumed on special occasions. In contrast, royalty had access to a wide variety of high-quality ingredients and could afford to eat extravagant, expensive dishes on a regular basis.

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