The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Christmas special Issue 27

Come to France through the pages of The Good Life France Magazine... Discover: Provence, the hidden gems and most beautiful villages, French Alps, UNESCO listed Rocamadour... recipes and giveways, guides and an interview with international best-selling Kate Mosse who shares her favourite places in France...

Photo: Credit Le Procope

Photo: Credit Le Procope Paris The royal penchant for coffee Coffee was first introduced to Paris in 1669 by Suleyman Aga, the ambassador to the court of King Louis XIV of France. Aga was sent by Mohammed IV with sacks of coffee. He described it as a magical beverage when mixed with a small quantity of cloves, cardamom seeds and sugar, which in those day was bought by the ounce at the apothecary’s shop. He also brought the apparatus used for the preparation of the Turkish style coffee drink. It included china dishes, and small pieces of muslin embroidered with gold, silver, and silk, used as napkins. He became the darling of Parisian society, remaining in the city long enough firmly to establish the custom he had introduced. Two years later, in 1671, an Armenian whom everyone called Pascal, opened a coffee-drinking booth at the fair of St. Germain. He offered the beverage for sale from a tent, supplemented by the service of Turkish waiter boys, who peddled it among the crowds from small cups on trays. The fair was held during the first two months of spring, in a large open plot just inside the walls of Paris and near the Latin Quarter. As Pascal’s waiter boys circulated through the crowds on those chilly days the fragrant odor of freshly made coffee encouraged many sales of the steaming beverage. Soon visitors to the fair learned to look for the “little black” cupful of cheer, or petit noir, a name that still endures. This marked the beginning of Parisian coffee houses. In 1686, the Café de Procope was opened by Sicilian chef Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli. He had come to Paris from Italy acquiring a royal license to sell spices, ices, barley water and lemonade. As a keen business man he added coffee to the list and soon attracted a large and rather distinguished clientele: noted French actors, authors, dramatists and musicians. With the opening of the Café de Procope, coffee became firmly established in Paris.

Louis XIV (1638-1715) grew his own coffee beans in greenhouses on the Versailles Palace grounds. He handpicked the beans, roasted them, and ground them himself. He loved to serve his own coffee to guests of the Palace Read more about the Kings potager (vegetable gardens) at Versailles . Voltaire (1694-1778), a French writer and public activist, allegedly drank between 40 and 50 cups a day which he mixed with chocolate. He credited coffee for the inspiration and stimulation behind the development of his philosophies. He paid hefty bonuses to his servants who could find his favourite coffee beans. The first merchant licensed to sell coffee in Paris was François Damame, who secured the privilege through an edict of 1692. He was given the sole right for 10 years to sell coffee in all the provinces and towns of the kingdom, and in all territories under the sovereignty of the king. Every city in France soon had its coffee houses. In 1714, Louis XIV received a present from the Dutch, a coffee tree for Paris’s Royal Botanical Garden, the Jardin des Plantes. The Dutch had successfully grown the coffee tree on the island of Java. This inspired Louis XIV to consider Martinique for growing coffee. He gave a clipping to a young naval officer, Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu who sailed for Martinique. Pirates nearly captured the ship and a storm nearly sank it. Drought followed, water grew scarce and was rationed, but de Clieu gave half of his allotment of drinking water to his stricken cutting. Under armed guard, the cutting was planted and grew strong. In the next 50 years it yielded a whopping 18 million trees. Coffee become the king of drinks in Paris...

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