Exactly 221 years ago today, Marie Antoinette was beheaded!
With all the talk of the growing wage gap and the new billionaires and all, the French Revolution occurs to me from time to time. Could a bloody, desperate people’s revolution against a privileged and corrupt elite happen again? Here?? (Answer: Anything can happen anywhere and usually does. So yes.)
I’d much rather talk about hot chocolate. In an hour’s worth of research about Marie Antoinette, I learned that aside from not actually saying that thing about cake (it was a line in a story written by someone when she was just nine and falsely attributed to her) she liked to have hot chocolate in the mornings. Curious about how one might make Marie Antoinette Hot Chocolate, I consulted the oracle and indeed found the recipe for her exact hot chocolate on the official Chateau de Versailles website. It’s been passed down through the ages and this really does seem to be the way Louie and Mar-Mar liked it. Check this out:
“Place the same quantity of chocolate bars and glasses of water in a coffee maker and boil gently; when you are ready to serve, place one egg yolk for four servings and stir over a gentle heat but do not boil. If prepared the night before, those who drink it every day leave a leaven for the one they make the next day; instead of an egg yolk you may use a whisked egg white after having removed the first mousse, mix it with some of the chocolate from the coffee maker then pour back into the coffee maker and finish the preparation as with the egg yolk.”**
I assume they do not mean you should put chocolate through your Mr. Coffee tomorrow morning. And as for “the same quantity of chocolate bars and glasses of water,” there’s no mention of how large these bars are, or what sort of cacao percentage you should work with. I’ll bet they used extremely chocolatey chocolate, but it’s anyone’s guess. I do think if you attempt this (and I will and will let you know what happens) you ought to serve it in the fanciest cup you can dig around for. Marie liked it with whipped cream and an orange blossom, apparently, so get thee to an orange grove or the Versailles orangerie or, you know, Whole Foods.
**Source: “Les Soupers de la Cour ou l’Art de travailler toutes sortes d’aliments pour servir les meilleurs tables suivant les quatre saisons” (Court dinners or the Art of working different foods for the best restaurants based on the four seasons), by Menon, 1755 (BN, V.26995, volume IV, p.331)