Dessert & social distinction in the Seventeenth century

About an article of Dominique Michel, “The dessert in the Seventeenth century’, seventeenth century, 2002

In the second half of the XVIIe century, the dessert becomes the object of special care, in fact if it was not for the purpose of satisfying a real need of food, he fills a role of social distinction. Looking for, the dessert is by the embellishments in his presentation, through the use of sugar (which still remains a luxury product), by the introduction of new products, such as sherbets, waters and liqueurs refreshing (eauxd’Italy), by the accumulation of varieties of fruits, for the most part rare and early. The distinction plays out in the research of foods delicate of dishes that are subtle, which we must put away the fruits and the preparations of sugar.

The dessert made the object of a true setting in scene : before the serve, we rid the table of the tablecloth, dishes and towels used since the beginning of the meal. In addition, the dessert course is supported by a new staff, separate from the one who prepared the rest of the meal. As Dominique Michel ” The mastery of this art becomes an element of notoriety : it testifies to the importance of a home, he is the epitome of prestige and helping to deliver to his master the credit necessary to keep his rank, or even to serve the kingdom “.

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