If you have been following P'Niche for a while, you know that hot chocolate is one of my "love languages." So is the French royal history. So, pairing them together (to expand on a previous post) seemed a very logical thing to do to make during these blustery, wintry days!
We've spoken about hot chocolate before but let's take a P'Niche peek to learn more about Hot Cocoa in the Rococo times...
When it comes right down to it, we actually have this lovely lady to thank for all of the cocoa goodness we enjoy so readily today.
This is Anne of Austria (Anne d'Autriche - née Ana Maria Mauricia). She was actually an Infanta of Spain (meaning that she was of royal birth, heir to a crown, and was able to use the title of Her Royal Highness.)
As one made royal matches back in the day, she was paired with France's King Louis XIII, and they wed in 1615.
Part of the wedding trousseau that traveled with HRH Anne, was... hot chocolate (the Spanish delicacy)...
In fact, when Anne of Austria arrived to France for he wedding, her personal gift to the King was a chest - filled to the brim with chocolate.
I don't know about you - but a chest filled with chocolate? Best gift ever! Needless to say, Louis XIII fell in love with the confection and was hooked once he tried the delicious cocoa in a hot brew.
Speaking of getting hooked - many believe that chocolate consumption can actually considered an addiction. A study conducted at Drexel University showed that people experienced psychological reactions when eating chocolate - similar to reactions when drugs were taken. It could also produce the same withdrawal symptoms many addicts can face. Wow!
OK, back to Versailles...
Who really got hot chocolate going was Madame du Barry, who swore to her lover (King Louis XV) that the cocoa was an aphrodisiac of sorts and would improve his virility and stamina.
So invested in hot chocolate was he, that it is known that he could often be found in the palace kitchen whipping up cocoa and taste testing personal recipes.
His favorite concoction was when he added an egg yolk to the hot beverage, changing the creamy texture to an absolute wonder. That recipe can still be found here. It's definitely worth a try...
Moving ahead to the court of King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie Antoinette, we know that she started each day with a steaming cup of hot chocolate (with orange blossom and almond flavoring - alongside a brioche). Side Note - she never said "qu'ils mangent de la brioche" or "let them eat cake."
That said, she *did employ a specific and personal chef, who had the sole task of preparing her morning cuppa cocoa and maintained the exclusive title of "Chocolate Maker to the Queen."
It does seem excessive, but I have to be honest, methinks P'Niche would thrive in that role - you know, as a royal side hustle...
You know who else was wandering the halls of Versailles during this time? Thomas Jefferson. America's First Ambassador to France and the USA's 3rd President.
While stile pricey to enjoy, Jefferson believed (as did his pals Ben Franklin, George Washington, Mme du Barry, and even the saucy Marquis de Sade) that hot chocolate had medicinal and restorative properties, stating, "The superiority of chocolate, both for overall health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in France and Spain."
I gotta be honest, I cannot get the visual of Jefferson drafting THE Declaration of Independence (with a cuppa cocoa beside him) out of my head!
These days, you can still enjoy a gorgeous cup of hot chocolate - at Angelina (two Versailles locations.
Angelina Tea Room
Accessible after ticket barrier from the Royal Courtyard
Angelina Petit Trianon by the Terrace entrance of le Petit Trianon
(no ticket need for entry)
Ah, Angelina - still P'Niche's fave cuppa!
If you are not headed out to Versailles on your next Paris trip - fear not - here are few new additions to our "cocoa crawl"...
This is a vegan option!
86, rue d'Aboukir, 75002
Métro: Sentier (Line 3)
Butterfly Pâtisserie (Hôtel de Crillon)
6, rue Boissy d'Anglas, 75008
Métro: Concorde (Line 1)
59-61 rue, Saint-André des Arts
Métro: Odéon (Lines 4, 10)
(It's not just ice cream here!)
31 OR 46, rue Saint Louis en l'Île
Métro: Pont Marie (Line 7)
And don't forget to stop in the charming kiosks and booths in the many parks of Paris, while you stroll. A highlight is the kiosk by the carrousel in le Parc Monceau as enjoy the hidden alley ways and glorious colonnade.
So - are you ready to take on a scrumptious hot chocolate in Versailles? If not, what is your favorite hot cocoa in Paris, dear P'Nicher? Let us know in the comments below et à bientôt!