Today’s post is all hearsay, since I couldn’t find any reliable sources mentioning croissant and chocolate during the French Revolution.
The origin of this popular pastry is hotly disputed, but I rather like this version: When Austria won the war against Turkey, the Austrian King ordered his bakers to create a new pastry in honor of the victory. The croissant was born in the image of the crescent on the Turkish flag.
Queen Marie-Antoinette came to France in 1770, at age 14, the youngest of 15 children. She was raised on the famous pastry and asked the French bakers to re-create the croissant. Voilà!
Is that why she is famous for having said, “let them eat cake”? By the way, that is also non-sustantiated.
Chocolate on the other hand is well documented. The Aztek and the Mayas prize the cocoa beans. After Spain conquered South America, it was imported to the Spanish court, by Hernan Cortez. It quickly became the favorite drink of the aristocracy and the clergy. When the Spanish Jews were exiled from Spain, they found refuge in France, bringing with them the prized drink.
The French were properly introduced to chocolate in 1615, when Anne D’Autriche, daughter of Philippe III, King of Spain, married the French King, Louis XIII. It happened in Bayonne, when the marriage was celebrated. One generation later, King Louis XIV (the Sun King) and his Queen, Marie-Thérèse, made chocolate a daily habit at Versailles. Madame de Sévigné, chronicler of the era, said of the drink that “it teases you for a while then lights up you with a sustained wave of fever”.
Chocolate in the morning, served in a bowl, with a croissant on the side, is the favorite aristocratic breakfast.
CHOCOLATE AND CROISSANT IN MY WIP
My heroine is French and my hero is English. They meet in Paris and flee France together. Once in London, Sophie is appalled by the lack of flavor in English food. Porridge? Tea? Mais non, c’est pas possible.
Sophie’s passion for food and Jason’s indifference for it becomes a comic relief. Those two cannot be more opposite. When I visited France, I absolutely LOVED chocolate and croissant, and unfortunately, it can’t be reproduced anywhere else.
Do you have food in your historical fiction?