Have you heard the story about François Vatel, the butler at the castle of Chantilly who invented Chantilly cream? Allow me fill you in..
The castle owner, Louis II de Bourbon-Condé, invited his cousin (King Louis XIV) and his court to be his guests for several days back in 1671. Vatel was responsible for arranging the visit, with the end goal being a reconciliation between the 2 cousins. Fancy meals, hunting, and general excess were all planned.
Unfortunately for Vatel, he apparently made a couple of mistakes with calculating provisions and was left scrambling to improvise. Realising that he didn’t have enough cream, he decided to whip what he had in the hope that it would increase in volume. The end frothy result was called, Chantilly cream.
Poor Vatel was so distraught over his perceived failure that he reportedly commited suicide before the end of the festivities.
Perhaps. But it’s also a big fat lie. The part about him inventing Chantilly cream is, anyway.
You see, the recipe for whipped frothy cream originated much earlier, and it wasn’t until at least a century after those festivities that the name Chantilly cream would be applied. And the recipe we know today includes sugar, which Vatel’s version did not.
It’s still a neat story. And let’s be serious. The important thing isn’t so much how something this good was invented – but more that it was invented at all.
Here’s a strawberry and Chantilly cream pastry I enjoyed while on a day trip from Paris to Château de Chantilly.
It was messy but so incredible.
I was tempted to return to the bakery to buy the rest. But one must practice self-control. Le sigh.