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Physiology of Tase – Brillat savarin

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”


Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s Dinner Party Guide

The following are Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s suggestions for the makings of a successful dinner party as contained in his Physiologie du Goût, ou Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante; ouvrage théorique, historique et à l’ordre du jour, dédié aux Gastronomes parisiens, par un Professeur, membre de plusieurs sociétés littéraires et savantes, or more simply Philosophy of Taste:
1. Let not the number of the company exceed twelve, that the conversation may be constantly general. Athenaeus: Still very good advice if your intention is to have a dinner party conducive to a catholic dialogue. We’ve all been to those large parties where you end up between two people, neither of whom manage to capture your attention for long as you lean forward and strain to hear what you imagine to be much more interesting things being said just a few seats away.
2. Let them be so selected that their occupations are various, and their tastes analogous, and with such points of contact that there will be no need for the odious formality of presentations. Athenaeus: This is good advice for all manner of parties. If the assembled persons are all of a similar interest it is not so much a party as a convention or meeting.
3. Let the dining-room be well lighted, the cloth spotless, and the atmosphere at a temperature from 13-16 degrees C (60-68 degrees F). Athenaeus: I think central heating has made us accostomed to a room a bit warmer than this.
4. Let the men have wit without pretension, and the women be pleasant without being coquettes. Athenaeus: Certainly the advice pertaining to the gentlemen is correct, but I’m a bit less certain if coquettes in their modern incarnation are appropriate or not as guests as I am at a loss as to imagine an acquaintence who might be labeled as such.
5. Let the dishes be exceedingly choice, but few in number; and the wines of the highest quality each in its degree. Athenaeus: This might be the simplest definition of a good host/hostess is one who provides the best possible in food and beverage for their guests.
6. Let the order of service be from the more substantial dishes to the lighter, and the simpler wines to the most perfumed. Athenaeus: This is a foreign concept for an American palette, but a novel idea. Have you ever served, or been served your courses from meat to fish to salad to dessert?
7. Let the meal proceed without undue haste, since dinner is the last business of the day; and let the guests consider themselves as travellers about to reach a shared destination together. Athenaeus: I like this so much I’m considering printing the quote on my next dinner invitations.
8. Let the coffee be hot, and the liquors chosen with special care. Athenaeus: Not much to be said here.
9. Let the drawing room be large enough to admit a game of cards for those who cannot do without it, while leaving ample room for post-prandial conversation. Athenaeus: An after dinner game is certainly the easy way to amuse your guests, though a stimulating conversation over coffee and after dinner drinks is certainly the ideal.
10. Let the guest be detained by the charms of society, and animated by the hope that the evening will yet develop. Athenaeus: A polite warning against boredom.
11. Let the tea not be too strong, the toast skillfully buttered, and the punch carefully prepared. Athenaeus: This is tradition I was previously unaware of and do not anticipate the resecutation of.
12. Let none leave before eleven o’clock, but let all be in bed by midnight. Athenaeus: A good general rule for host and guest alike.

Brillat-Savarin, while not a chef, has been one of the most influential food writers of all time. He is known for his book Physiologie du Goût (“The Physiology of Taste.”)

Brillat-Savarin’s goal was to raise cooking to a level of true science. He wrote in a era — the early 1800s — when “taste” in music, literature and art was thought to be something objective that educated people could share and agree on. In his view, if you put a well-prepared dish in front of someone, how he or she reacted told you not whether the dish was good or not (because you already knew that it was), but rather how educated the person was. In his mind, excellence was not based on what the French court might say, or what celebrity chefs might dictate, but rather on the intrinsic quality of ingredients prepared with care.

Aphorisms of the Professor.

To Serve as Prolegomena to His Work and Eternal Basis to the Science.

I. The universe would be nothing were it not for life and all that lives must be fed.

II. Animals fill themselves; man eats. The man of mind alone knows how to eat.

III. The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they are fed.

IV. Tell me what kind of food you eat, and I will tell you what kind of man you are.

V. The Creator, when he obliges man to eat, invites him to do so by appetite, and rewards him by pleasure.

VI. Gourmandise is an act of our judgment, in obedience to which, we grant a preference to things which are agreeable, over those which nave not that quality.

VII. The pleasure of the table belongs to all ages, to all conditions, to all countries, and to all aeras; it mingles with all other pleasures, and remains at last to console us for their departure.

VIII. The table is the only place where one does not suffer, from ennui during the first hour.

IX. The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.

X. Those persons who suffer from indigestion, or who become drunk, are utterly ignorant of the true principles of eating and drinking.

XI. The order of food is from the most substantial to the lightest.

XII. The order of drinking is from the mildest to the most foamy and perfumed.

XIII. To say that we should not change our drinks is a heresy; the tongue becomes saturated, and after the third glass yields but an obtuse sensation.

XIV. A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman who has lost an eye.

XV. A cook may be taught, but a man who can roast, is born with the faculty.

XVI. The most indispensable quality of a good cook is promptness. It should also be that of the guests.

XVII. To wait too long for a dilatory guest, shows disrespect to those who are punctual.

XVIII. He who receives friends and pays no attention to the repast prepared for them, is not fit to have friends.

XIX. The mistress of the house should always be certain that the coffee be excellent; the master that his liquors be of the first quality.

XX. To invite a person to your house is to take charge of his happiness as long as he be beneath your roof.

Link to the online edition of the classical book:



Brillat-Savarin cheese

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Country of origin France
Region Normandy
Source of milk Cows
Texture Soft
Dimensions 4 cm x 12-13 cm
Aging time 1-2 weeks

Brillat-Savarin is a soft, white-crusted cow’s milk cheese with at least 75% fat in dry matter (roughly 40% overall), named after the 18th century French gourmet and political figure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. The cheese was created in the 1930s by cheese-maker Henri Androuët.

Brillat-Savarin is produced all year round in Burgundy and Normandy. It comes in 12-13 cm wheels and approximately 4 cm thick, and is aged for one to two weeks. It is also available as a fresh cheese (non affine) that resembles rich cream cheese.

It is a triple cream Brie that is luscious, creamy and faintly sour. It goes well with champagne. Pairing with red wines is difficult, as any mushroominess or “moldy” taste will bring out the tannins of the wine. Brillat Savarin is also quite salty when ripe, which may disturb the taste of red wine. It does pair well with Pale Ale and Champagne. The carbonation wipes the fattiness from the palate and the malts enhance the creaminess of the cheese.


In Hong Kong you can order this cheese and many other French cheeses, pasteurized and full cream on Frenchgourmethk on line food shop. The best deals are online!


An escoffier Biography

Escoffier’s contributions to the culinary arts range far beyond those innovations that are immediately apparent to the eyes and palate of the connoisseur. He created the brigade system eliminating the chaotic, unpleasant atmosphere that once reigned in hotel and restaurant kitchens. Repulsed by the foul language and lack of concern for cleanliness all too common in nineteenth-century kitchens, Escoffier established sanitation standards and instilled in his subordinates a real respect for the wholesomeness of the food they served.He was one of the earliest chefs of note to have a sincere interest in preserving the nutritional value of the foods he prepared and served. Escoffier also had an expertise in food science and was a pioneer in food preservation and in developing sauces that could be bottled for the homemaker.Escoffier promoted the belief that food service professionals at all levels should be dedicated to improving their skills and general knowledge through education. He wrote numerous articles and books on cookery, the most famous of his works being Le Guide Culinaire and A Guide to Modern Cookery.On February 12th, 1935, a few days after the death of his wife, Escoffier died at his home, La Villa Fernand, 8 bis Avenue de la Costa, Monte Carlo, in his eighty-ninth year. He is buried in the family vault at Villeneuve-Loubet.
Auguste Escoffier  King of Chefs 1846-1935

Auguste Escoffier, “The Chef of Kings and The King of Chefs,” was born in the Riviera town of Villeneuve-Loubet, France, on October 28, 1846. His career in cookery began at the age of 12 when he entered into apprenticeship in his uncle’s restaurant, in Nice.Escoffier went on to another apprenticeship at the age of 19, this time working in Paris. Escoffier was the first great chef who worked directly for the public throughout his entire career. Prior to this, the great French chefs were to be found in the kitchens of royalty and nobility, as was Carême, or at work in private clubs, like Alexis Soyer. Escoffier was never in private employ. From his apprenticeship in his uncle’s restaurant in Nice to his collaborations with Cesar Ritz, which marked the height of his career, Escoffier’s talents were in the service of cooking and his customers. Among those customers were kings, heads of state, and many stars of the London and Paris Opera. His career is legendary, in terms of the hotels in which he worked (among them the Savoy and Carlton of London), the contributions that he made to the aesthetics of gastronomy, and, perhaps most importantly, the revolutionary changes he made in upgrading the culinary arts.Before Escoffier’s time, the Grande Cuisine was laden with excess — overly complicated recipes, ponderously extravagant dinners, sauces and garnishes that disguised main ingredients nearly beyond recognition. In accordance with his admonition, “above all, keep it simple,” Escoffier developed a new gastronomic philosophy, a sense of finely honed and highly refined simplicity in dining, ideals that have been espoused by the finest chefs of the twentieth century.

Marie-Antoine Carême, First Celebrity Chef

 “the King of Chefs, and the Chef of Kings”

“When we no longer have good cooking in the world, we will have no literature, nor high and sharp intelligence, nor friendly gathering, nor social harmony”

Marie Antonin Carême

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Marie Antonin Carême (1783-1833), often called the father of French cuisine, was one of the most prolific food writers of the 19th century. During his long career, he was chef for Talleyrand, Czar Alexander I, George IV, and Baron Rothschild.


He was abandoned in Paris at the age of 8 and began working as a kitchen boy in a Parisian steakhouse. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to Sylvain Bailly, a famous patissier in Paris.

Carême codified the four primary families of French sauces that form the basis of classic French cooking to this day–espagnole, vélouté, allemande, and béchamel. Thanks to Carême’s books, French chefs working at home and abroad had a basic, shared vocabulary to refer to in their cooking.

Marie-Antoine Careme is famed for being the inventor of classical cuisine.

Careme opened his own shop, Patisserie de la Rue de la Paix, which became famous for his beautifully crafted pieces montees. He created these decorative centrepieces out of materials such as nougat, marzipan, sugar and pastry. Careme was inspired by architectural history and modelled many of his creations on temples, pyramids and ancient ruins. Some of his most famous creations include Gros Nougats, Grosses Meringues, Croquants (made with almonds and honey) and solilemmes (a bun like cake.)

Careme crafted pieces for Parisian high society, including Napoleon. A French diplomat and gourmand, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord set Careme a test, to produce a year’s worth of menu only using seasonal produce. Careme passed and Talleyrand adopted him into his kitchens. After the fall of Napoleon, Careme moved to London in 1815 and he worked as a chef de cuisine for George IV. He left London 3 years later as he found the climate depressing and felt English chefs treated him badly due to the celebrity attention he received.

Gastronomical Contrtibutions:

The dessert Charlotte russe was invented by Marie Antoine Carême who named it in honor of his Russian employer Czar Alexander I. Russe being the French word for “Russian”.

The famous Charlotte, creation from Careme

Careme is also credited with inventing the French classic desert Napoleon Cake (Mille Feuille) while working as Napoleon’s chef. Napoleon like to eat Mille Feuille with strawberry favor, so it was named Napoleon cake. It has various flavours, from chocholate, strawbery, mango to berry.

Careme was also interested in Architecture and applied it to dessert with is very impressive pieces montees and other creations that fascinated his contemporaries,


Antonin Carême wrote important culinary books

1815 Le Pâtissier Royal Parisien

The Patissier Royal Parisien, or treated elementary and practice of ancient and modern patisserie, the dessert of sugar, and cold starters and bases, followed by observations useful to the progress of this art

1815 Le Pâtissier Pittoresque

1822 Le Maître d’Hôtel Français

1828 Le Cuisinier Parisien

1833 L’Art de la Cuisine Française au dix-neuvième siècle, l’ouvrage fut achevé par Plumerey, élevé de la maison du Prince de Talleyrand et ancien chef des cuisines de madame la Princesse de Poniatowski

L’Art de la Cuisine Français au Dix-Neuvième Siècle is an exhaustive survey of classic French cooking. Published near the end of Carême’s career as a master pâtissier and chef, the three-volume work was completed after his death by his friend and colleague Armand Plumerey.

1848 La Cuisine Ordinaire par Beauvilliers et Antonin Carême

French cooking Authors time line

State/Art                                          year         writter

LOUIS XV 1715 MASSIALOT Nouvelle Instructions pour les Confitures &
Les Liqueurs et les Fruits
1739 MENON Nouveau Traitée de la Cuisine
GOYA 1746
1750 MENON La Science du Maître d’Hôtel Confiseur
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART 1756 MENON La Cuisinière Bourgeoise
1768 MENON Les Soupers de la Cour
1771 MENON La Cuisinière Bourgeoise suivi de l’Office
NICCOLO PAGANINI 1782 M. LE GRAND D’AUSSY Histoire de la Vie Privée des Français
CONSULAT DE BONAPARTE 1799 MENON Le Parfait Cuisinier Français
L’almanach des Gourmands
CÉSAR FRANCK 1822 MANUEL RORET Manuel d’Économie Domestique
1829 ANTONIN CARÊME Le Maître d’Hôtel Français
CAMILLE PISSARO 1830 M Cardelli Manuel du Cuisinier
JOHANNES BRAHMS 1833 RAIMBAUT La Nouvelle Cuisinière Française
EDGAR DEGAS 1834 LE CORDON BLEU Le Cuisinier des Cuisiniers
HENRI FANTIN-LATOUR 1836 M BURNET Dictionnaire de Cuisine
1842 ANTONIN CARÊME Le Maître d’Hôtel Français
MANUEL RORET Nouveau Manuel Complet du Maître d’Hôtel ou L’art d’Ordonner les Dîners et autres repas
1845 PLUMEREY Traitée des entrées chaudes des rots en gras et maigre
1846 VIART – FOURET – DELAN Le Cuisinier Royal
1847 ANTONIN CARÊME L’Art de la Cuisine Française
NAPOLÉON II – 2é EMPIRE 1852 EUGÈNE WOESTYN Le Livre du Découpage à Table ou Manuel de l’Écuyer Tranchant
JULIEN LEMER Le Livre des Classique de la Table
Le Livre du Cellier et de la conservation du vin
1854 ANTONIN CARÊME Le Pâtissier Royal Parisien
M CHEVALIER L’Immense Trésor des Sciences et des Art, 650 recettes et procèdes nouveaux
GUSTAVE COURBET 1855 JUSTIN AMERO Les Classiques de la Table
1856 CHARLES DURAND Le Cuisinier Durand
1859 Mme CAROLINE EMIEUX-FOURBET Le Ménagier Français
PIERRE BONNARD 1867 J.A. BARRAL Le Blé et le Pain
HENRI MATISSE 1869 JULES GOUFFÉ Le Livre des Conserves
BARON BRISSE Les 366 Menus
1870 JULES GOUFFÉ Le Livre de Cuisine
1872 URBAIN DUBOIS – ÉMILE BERNARD La Cuisine Classique
PRÉSIDENT P. de MAC-MAHON 1873 ALEXANDRE DUMAS Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine
1874 JACQUES  LECOFFRE Manuel Domestique
RAOUL DUFFY 1877 CAUDRELIER Les 52 Menus du Gourmet
AUDOT La Cuisinière de la Campagne et de la Ville
PABLO RUIZ PICASSO 1881 URBAIN DUBOIS Cuisine de Tous les Pays
1885 CAUDRELIER La Pâtisserie et les Confitures
PRÉSIDENT M-F SADI CARNOT 1887 Mme C DURENDEAU Guide de la Bonne Cuisinière
1888 URBAIN DUBOIS Nouvelle Cuisine Bourgeoise pour la ville et pour la campagne
1889 URBAIN DUBOIS La Cuisine d’Aujourd’hui, école des jeunes cuisiniers
1890 Gustave Garlin Le Petit Cuisinier moderne
1892 CH WALLUT Les Mémoires d’une Fourchette
JOAN MIRO 1893 VINCENT AUGUSTE La Cuisine du Ménage
CHAÏM SOUTINE AUGUSTE COLOMBIE Éléments Culinaires à l’Usage des Demoiselles
PRÉSIDENT J. CASIMIR-PERRIER 1894 La BARONNE STAFFE Traditions Culinaires et l’art de manger toutes choses à table
Mme D SEIGNEBOS Le Livre des Petits Ménages
URBAIN DUBOIS La Pâtisserie d’Aujourd’hui
1896 PAUL FRIAND Notre Cuisine
CONSTRUCTION DE LA TOUR EIFFEL 1897 ANDRÉ LOUIS La Cuisine des Malades et des Convalescents
PAUL DELVAUX L. Ch DEMAISONS La Première année de cuisine à l’usage des Écoles des filles
TANTE ROSALIE Les Nouveaux Propos  de
JB REBOUL La Cuisinière provençale
1900 L MATHIEU Études sur la Conservation des Vins Mousseux
CROISETTE La Bonne et Parfaite Cuisinière

Capon / chapon

A capon is a rooster that has been castrated to improve the quality of its flesh for food.


The Romans are credited with inventing the capon. The Lex Faunia of 162 BC forbade fattening hens in order to conserve grain rations. In order to get around this the Romans castrated roosters, which resulted in a doubling of size.[1] European gastronomic texts of the past dealt largely with capons, as the ordinary chicken of the farmyard was regarded as peasant fare, “popular malice crediting monks with a weakness for capons.”[2]

Effects of Caponization

Caponization is the process of turning a cockerel (young rooster) into a capon. Caponization can be done by surgically removing the rooster’s testes, or may also be accomplished through the use of estrogen implants. With either method, the sex hormones normally present in roosters are no longer effective. Caponization must be done before the rooster matures, so that it develops without the influence of sex hormones.

Capons, due to the lack of sex hormones, are not as aggressive as normal roosters. This makes capons easier to handle, and allows capons to be kept together with other capons since their reduced aggressiveness prevents them from fighting.

The lack of sex hormones results in meat that is less gamy in taste. Capon meat is also more moist, tender, and flavorful than that of a hen or rooster, which is due not only to the hormonal differences during the capon’s development but is also because capons are not as active as roosters, which makes their meat more tender and fatty.[3]

Capons develop a smaller head, comb, and wattle than that of a normal rooster.

Capons are fairly rare in industrial meat production. Chickens raised for meat are bred and raised so that they mature very quickly. Industrial chickens can be sent to market in as little as five weeks. Capons produced under these conditions will taste very similar to conventional meat, making their production unnecessary.

Chapon de Bresse

The capon of Bresse chicken is the only one with an AOC.
The AOC Bresse capon requirements:¤ 8 months of living.
¤ breeding in the wild, on grassy.
¤ Food consisting of cereals harvested in BRESSE, milk and milk products, worms and molluscs.
¤ final fattening spruce for 4 weeks.
¤ Minimum weight: 3 kg
¤ Marketing 1 to December 31.
¤ Introduction: rolled into the net.

The brotherhood of poulardiers Bresse

The brotherhood of poulardiers Bresse is entirely related to a product: Bresse poultry. Born December 15, 1962, shortly after the decree of the AOC decree No. 57-866 of 1 August 1957, which defined the conditions of production of the Bresse poultry and established by the same warranty quality, the Brotherhood was created at the initiative of Senator Mayor Henry Louhans Varlot. A few months before the contest of poultry fines (glorious) it brings together those responsible for economic and business sectors in the region, organizing a group to defend this product, and in agreement with the CIVB not representative of the inter-in the grand council The Brotherhood of poulardiers was launched. If the first chapters were conducted after a fashion, the brotherhood has gradually structured, defining its role and modalities of its operation in accordance with the statute law of 1 July 1901, filed with the sub-prefecture 16 July 1964 the Brotherhood of poulardiers Bresse appeared in the Gazette.

The goals that takes the brotherhood (Article 2 of the bylaws):

To make every effort to enforce “the law of appellation.”
To fight against any form of farming, and “puppet” labels .
Active propaganda in favor of the Bresse poultry in France and abroad.
To preserve and revive the age-old customs and traditions of the farmers, sharecroppers and farm Bresse.
To promote tourism, folklore and gastronomy from Bresse.
To provide assistance to parties to the glorious and artistic and gastronomic within the scope of its purpose.

Dates and locations of chapters and interests

Chapter Spring: end of May on Friday evening at the castle of Espeyssoles Vonnas at Georges Blanc

Chapter Fall: always the last Sunday of November (immutable)

The four glorious contest of poultry from Bresse fine 3rd week of December Bourg en Bresse, Pont de Vaux; Montrevel en Bresse, Louhans 1st prize pack of 3 capons Bourg en Bresse and Louhans receives a Sevres vase of the President of the Republic


Hymne des Poulardiers

Chevalier de la poularde
Groupons nous, serrons les rangs
Saluons notre cocarde
Soyons fiers d’être Bressans
A la gloire de nos poulets champions
Amis, mangeons, buvons, chantons
Chevalier de la poularde
Amis buvons et chantons



Epiphany ‘s King Cake / Galette des rois

A king cake (sometimes rendered as kingcake, kings’ cake, king’s cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras / Carnival. It is popular in the Christmas season (Christmas Eve to Epiphany) in France, Belgium, Quebec and Switzerland (galette or gâteau des Rois), Portugal (bolo rei), Spain and Spanish America (roscón or rosca de reyes and tortell in Catalonia), Greece and Cyprus (vasilopita) and Bulgaria (banitsa). In the United States, which celebrates Carnival mainly in the Southeastern region (Louisiana and New Orleans in particular), it is associated with Mardi Gras traditions.

The cake has a small trinket (often a small plastic baby, said to represent Baby Jesus) inside, and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations (such as buying the cake for the next celebration).

Trinkets (Feves) even have their own Museum in France:

With a collection of over 20 000 Tinkets or Feves, the Museum of Blain is the only museum of the Feve in France. (for more information see )


The “king cake” takes its name from the biblical three kings. Catholic tradition states that their journey to Bethlehem took five days (the Twelve Days of Christmas), and that they arrived to honor the Christ Child on Epiphany. The season for king cake extends from the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Twelfth Night and Epiphany Day), through to Mardi Gras day. Some organizations or groups of friends may have “king cake parties” every week through the Carnival season.

Absent of the gospel, traditional names of Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar appear only much later, for the first time in a manuscript of the sixth century


During the Saturnalia (Roman festivals at the end of December and the beginning of January), the Romans designated a slave as “King for a Day”. Indeed, the Saturnalia was a festival of role reversal to defeat the unlucky days of Saturn, chthonic deity. During the banquet (at the beginning or the end of the Saturnalia, according to different periods of ancient Rome) within each major familia, the Romans used the bean cake as a “ballot” to elect “Saturnalicius princeps “(Master of the Saturnalia, or King of the disorder). This allowed to strengthen the domestic affections and gave the “king for a day” the power to fulfill all his desires during the day (such as giving orders to his master) before being put to death, or more likely to return servile to his life after this one. To ensure a random distribution of shares of cake, it was customary for the youngest stands under the table and the beneficiary named on the part that was designated by the person in charge of the service (hence the use of still alive “draw the kings “)

Le gâteau des Rois, by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1774 (Musée Fabre)

In Hong kong you can order your King’s Cake, the famous “Galette des Rois” on French gourmet online food shop:

Monty Python Life of Brian – 3 Wise Men

Les Inconnus

Asterix, The Gaulish Gourmet

Short introduction to Asterix the Gaul for those who don’t know him yet!!

Asterix the Gaul

Asterix the Gaul is the first volume of the Asterix comic strip series, by René Goscinny (stories) and Albert Uderzo (illustrations). The Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world, with the series being translated into over 100 languages, and to date, 325 million copies of 34 Asterix books have been sold worldwide, making co-creators René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo France’s bestselling authors abroad.

The series follows the exploits of a village of indomitable Gauls as they resist Roman occupation. They do so by means of a magic potion, brewed by their druid, which gives the recipient superhuman strength. The protagonist, the titular character Asterix, along with his friend Obelix have various adventures.

The series is primarily an humorous parody mainly French society of the 1960s and 1970s, and the stereotypes of the French regions and foreign peoples.

Plot summary

All of Gaul is under Roman control, except for one small village of indomitable Gauls that still holds out against the Romans.

The 100 Books of the Century

Asterix The gaul was voted one of the 100 great book of the century

Number  23

Asterix the Gaul

René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo 1959 French

Twelve Tasks of Asterix-The Great Chef of the Titans

The Gaulish Gourmet : The Corpus!

Short tour of Gastronomic experience though the cartoons of Axterix the Gaul

In the earliest works, little mention was made of Gaulish cuisine, with the possible exception of the roasted boar and the inevitable final banquets. However, with each album, food gradually became a regular feature in the Adventures of Asterix, and especially those of Obelix, whose legendary appetite provides ample explanation for his “well-build” silhouette!

Far from reducing Gaulish cuisine to a long series of roasted boar, the albums are an excellent illustration of the adage: “You are what you eat!”

As early as the first album Asterix the Gaul, our heroes’ culinary preferences are revealed. Obelix’s gluttony is already well on the way to becoming legendary. He just cannot resist a luscious plate of roast boar, a staple at the village table. Besides boar, steaks make a fleeting appearance in The Golden Sickle, albeit in contexts which are sometimes rather remote from the dining room… Even in Gaulish times, fruit was an important part of a balanced diet: Vitalstatistix, as a good Gaulish chief, sets an example by picking apples from on top of his shield in Asterix and the Gladiator, with the assistance of his two shield bearers. In the same adventure, Asterix and Obelix take advantage of a journey to Rome to treat themselves to… boar in a Gaulish inn!
The seeds of a great food passion had thus already been sown when Asterix and the Banquet heralded the birth of our heroes’ vast curiosity for “exotic” cuisine. It marks the beginning of our grand gourmet tour: Camaracum Humbugs sweets, the fine wines of Durucortorum, fish stew from Massilia, Nicaean salad, prunes from Aginum, oysters and wine from Burdigala, etc. And, lest we forget, the purchase of some Lutèce ham led our heroes to a shop where they would meet Dogmatix.

In Asterix and Cleopatra, villainous Artifis endangers the reputation of Gaulish cuisine by giving Cleopatra a poisoned cake in our heroes’ name, causing the Queen to boil with red-hot rage, preoccupied as she is by the health of her official taster! It takes all Getafix’s ingenuity to extract the Gauls from this jam. Potion (more or less magical) is the only foodstuff consumed in The Big Fight. Meanwhile, poor Obelix, already deprived of magic potion, as we all know, becomes even more obsessive and compulsive about his weight following a visit to the druid Psychoanalytix. Fortunately, all’s well that ends well and our celebrated glutton even croons a veritable cry from the heart to boar at the traditional closing banquet. Obelix comes close to neurasthenic frenzy when he tastes marmalade with roast meat and boar stewed in mint sauce in Asterix in Britain. A subsequent encounter with the ferocious and “romantic” Normans gives him an opportunity to discover boar in cream sauce.

A strict Spartan diet happens to be the pride if not joy of Caesar’s armies in Asterix the Legionary. However, a forceful argument from Obelix soon convinces the army’s chef to provide more copious rations to the soldiers…
Even in Gaulish times, the waters at Vichy, then known as Aquae Calidae, were famous for their curative powers, as demonstrated in Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield. Poor Vitalstatistix, suffering from a wicked case of indigestion brought on by excessive feasting, goes to the spa and is reduced to an austere diet based on boiled vegetables. The ordeal is all the crueller because Asterix and Obelix, who accompany him, eat whatever they please and plenty of it. This drives the starved inmates positively mad. In fact, our heroes even take a special side trip to Gergovia to taste the famous cabbage stews, with sausage for dessert. Apparently, the Gaulish diet can be a source of conflict, especially for those who can’t have any of it! In Asterix at the Olympic Games, the clash between Gaulish eating habits and those of the other competitors drives athletes in the Olympic village mad. In passing, we learn that Obelix is fond of mushroom soup…

“Fresh fish – it’s luverly! Who’ll buy my fine fish?” So begins Asterix in Spain, in which Huevos y Bacon, this adventure’s young hero, turns up his nose at boar! Fish begin their illustrious career in this story as projectiles and catalysts in all sorts of free-for-alls and knock-down, drag-out brawls. The Romans, resting in their tent, are shown with bowls of fruits, an unusual sight in the Gaulish village. Goat, ham, bear, and chicken in the Basquet are on the menu at the Basque Inn, while our heroes are offered sausages, sauerkraut and beer, oddly enough, in Andalusia.
The only food on the hoof in Asterix and the Roman Agent is a few boars and domestic hogs. The boar, it turns out, is not exclusive to the Gauls: Romans also enjoy this meat in the form of tripe fried in aurochs dripping, during the memorable orgies at the beginning of Asterix in Switzerland. The mouthwatering delights also include the bear black pudding and stuffed giraffes’ necks… with honey! As for the Swiss, they generally stick to a diet of melted cheese…

Donning napkins to dine at a Lutetian table in The Laurel Wreath, we discover beavers’ tails in strawberry sauce and cow’s hoof mould. Asterix and Obelix later regale the Roman Humerus family with such culinary delights as recipes based on Carbolix soap and other pomegranate seeds. As for the soothsayer Prolix, he claims to read the future in fish, hens, boars and, if truth be told, any other sort of food that naive wisdom-seekers are ready to provide – his goal simply being to assuage a huge appetite. He would even examine Dogmatix’s entrails if Obelix didn’t forcefully prevent him!

In Asterix in Corsica, the aroma of cheese makes Boneywasawarriorwawayix homesick, as he is held prisoner of the Romans, far from his Corsican homeland. For the pirates, cheese turns out to be explosive. Corsican sausage also makes a showing and boars are of course a part of the melée…

Caesar’s Gift begins with a drunken boozefest, which seemingly precludes any culinary innovation. In The Great Crossing, nourishment at first suffers an unhappy fate, when Unhygienix’s fish are once again used as missiles. Later, however, they play a starring role: first, when it is a matter of survival at sea and then again when Obelix discovers the unknown continent lying on the other side of the ocean. Nothing in its well-stocked larder of turkey or bear resists his appetite… until the natives suggest that he try some “woof woof”! The triumphant return aboard a Viking ship will serve as yet another opportunity for a feast.

Asterix in Belgium reveals the existence of trenchermen as enthusiastic as Obelix. Local delicacies include ox tongue for everyone and as much boar and pâté, as you can eat, from breakfast to dinner (though some of our European neighbours have dinner at noon and sup at sunset). For simplicity’s sake, let’s just say from dawn to dusk. A historic moment in fine dining occurs with the invention of chips and the discovery that they go perfectly with mussels…

Khaviar and roast camel are substituted for boar in Asterix and the Magic Carpet.
But in All at Sea, Obelix is beginning to despair of finding any boar fit to gnaw on, despite the valiant efforts of a Roman chef. Meanwhile we learn that Cleopatra’s lion is eager to devour a sausage made of Admiral…

Finally, in Asterix and the Actress, Obelixikins, at his mother’s urging, discovers the virtues of good nourishing soup, a healthy well-balanced meal, according to Vanilla. Meanwhile, his father, Obeliscoidix, is subsisting on a prisoner’s ration of bread and water, and dreaming, he says, of being out on the tiles with a barrel of barley beer! Fortunately, the roast boar presented at the final banquet reconciles everyone with the delights of the table… with the possible exception of Vanilla, the sworn enemy of fatty foods!

The Modus Vivendi

Wild boar: a myth or reality?

Contrary to what Asterix’s adventures would lead you to believe, wild boar was not the Gauls’ preferred dish.
They were far more fond of pork and beef from the animals they had domesticated, with a side dish of grains (the Gauls were farmers), washed down with ale, mead, or Italian wine.
Pork occupied a prime place at their table where it was served cooked in a number of ways: stewed, roasted or cured, salted, or smoked.
Butchering a hog was always an occasion to party. Everyone participated in making hams, sausages, lard, head cheese, blood pudding and quenelles from the fresh meat. Methods of preservation included drying, smoking, salting, or potting (with fat as the preservative). What was not eaten by the family was sold at markets and fairs. The animal’s fat, or lard, was used as a cooking grease.

The Gaulish banquet, an aristocratic warrior tradition

The Gaulish banquet was not a myth; it was a real tradition.
However, more than an occasion for communal rejoicing, the event served to demonstrate the host’s wealth and social status. The Gaulish social system, ruled by an extravagant aristocracy, held banquets as a form of competition as well as entertainment. Showering guests with wine and victuals ensured the popularity of the host and secured increased support to bolster his power in the community.
Later, banquets became a setting for war councils prior to great battles. The valiant Gaulish warriors, who scorned death, would quaff wine as a symbol of their enemies’ blood, soon to flow on the battlefield.

The Gauls were heavy drinkers and, by the end of their feasts, they were usually well intoxicated, either in deep slumber or in a state close to total frenzy…
According to the Greek historian and philosopher Posidonius: “The Gauls eat civilized foods, but with a wolfish appetite. They seize the pieces of meat in their fists and devour them, going as far as to gnaw on the very bones.” Sounds familiar. In fact, doesn’t it remind you of someone?

Wine in Gaulish culture

According to ancient writings, the Gauls were great lovers of wine. However, outside southern France, where vineyards had been introduced by the Greeks in 600 B.C. upon their return from Persia, wine was not grown locally. Instead, it was shipped in amphora from Greece and Italy. The Gauls later replaced these containers with wooden barrels, which were sturdier and less porous.
Only the Gaulish aristocracy drank wine on a regular basis, sharing their wealth with others during lavish banquets. It’s hardly surprising that this beverage became a symbol of power and prestige. In fact, it maintains a special aura even today.
There was little resemblance between the wine the Gauls drank and what we drink today: indeed, their tastes ran to “resinous” (picatum) or syrupy (passum) wines.

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