Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Have You seen "Vatel"?

'François Vatel (1631 – April 24, 1671) was a "Maître d'hôtel", famous for "inventing" Chantilly cream, a sweet, vanilla-flavoured whipped cream, for an extravagant banquet for 2,000 people hosted in honour of Louis XIV by Louis, the great Condé in April 1671 at the Château de Chantilly; hence the name crème Chantilly.

At this same banquet, Vatel, the consummate perfectionist, was supposedly so distraught about the lateness of the fish—the banquet was to be held on a Friday—and about other mishaps that he committed suicide by running himself through with a sword. According to some versions of the story, his body was discovered by an aide who came to tell him of the arrival of the fish. His death was treated as a national tragedy.'  (Wikipedia)
At the beginning the Prince prepares his castle for the arrival of King Louis XVI. Your eyes will pop when you see the inside of his castle, servants polishing, carrying chandelier after chandelier up the gorgeous staircase to be put back in rooms after cleaning.
What caught my eye in this movie was his creativity with his menu, extravagant entertainment, and
outdoor decor.

Chantilly Castle

Vatel was known for his extravagant menu of French cuisine and entertainment.
My daughter and I watched it this evening.

Here is a little taste of what Vatel prepared for a couple of his menus:
The party arrived on April 23, 1671 and a hunting party was organised for the King in the early evening. Because of this Chef Vatel organised a light supper menu to be served, hardly light by today’s standard as the menu was :

Turtle Soup
Creamed Chicken
Fried Trout
Roast Pheasant

The next night a great feast was planned, the main dishes are listed below. But of course add to this any vegetables or other side dishes, plus a fish (sole?) dish had also been planned to be served by Vatel:

Anchovies Sevigne
Melon with Parma Ham
Lobster Quenelles and Shrimp Sauce
Vatel Duck with Madeira Wine
Leg of Lamb
Strawberry Bombe

All the trimmings, entertainment, singers, actors, must have been a huge expense.
The ending is sad though. If you would like the movie Netflix has it, as well as purchasing
from Amazon.com, they have new and used DVD's. To read a little ofVatel's bio go HERE 


  1. Thanks for sharing this--I hadn't heard of this film, and I LOVE movies like this! Even though I know the ending is sad--and I appreciate knowing that!--I will get this as it sounds so beautiful and decadent! Thanks again!

  2. I have not heard of this movie either. I will have to get it now! I just watched Marie Antoinette for the first time yesterday. I just love the costumes and the scenery! Thanks for the insight on this movie. Kim

  3. I have not seen "Vatel", but I want to. I have been a big Gérard Depardieu fan for 20(?) years. Ever since "Jean De Florette".

  4. That castel is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love that movie! It's just great and so sumptuous!



Thanks for taking time to comment and visit QBC. :)