Whipped Cream Origins

Whipped Cream Origins

Every January 5th we celebrate National Whipped Cream Day and pay tribute to the sweet cream that compliments a wide range of desserts. Not surprising that this luscious topping originated from France, where it is known as Crème a la Chantilly.

Crème a la Chantilly

Crème a la Chantilly’s exact origins are unknown, legend has it that it was invented in the 17th century by Francois Vatel, maitre d’hotel at the Chateau de Chantilly. At the Chateau de Chantilly, Vatel supervised a huge banquet for Louis XIV and a reported 2000 guests, where he created the now famous cream for use in pastries. Sadly, Vatel would not be able to enjoy the later popularity of Chantilly cream. He committed suicide later that night, when he feared his fish would be served late.

The Chateau de Chantilly is a historic chateau in the town on Chantilly, France. The Chateau bears a storied history itself, the original mansion, built in 1528 but was destroyed in the French Revolution. It was rebuilt in 1875 by the Duc d’Aumale to augment the 17th century remains with a neo-gothic museum to house his fine collection of art. Works by Raphael, Titian, Poussin, Tiepolo as well as the extraordinary book of hours once owned by the Duc de Berry hang in the salon-style picture galleries.

The Chateau de Chantilly comprises two attached buildings, the newer Grand Chateau, which houses the Musee Conde, and the Petit Chateau which was built around 1560. The Musee Conde is one of the finest art galleries in France and is open to the public. The Gardens feature extensive parterras and water features were laid out principally for the Grand Conde. The English Garden was designed in 1819 with romantic highlights such as the Temple de Vénus, the abode of swans and other aquatic birds that nest in its numerous islands, the Jardin Anglais, which also contains a large multi-basin fountain designed by Le Nôtre in the 17th century, and the Cascades de Beauvais.

The estate overlooks the Chantilly Racecourse and the Great Stables. According to legend, the Prince of Conde believed that we would be reincarnated as a horse after his death, and had stables built to suit his rank. These 610-foot-long stables are considered by some to be the most beautiful in the world.

An underrated and somewhat less congested domain than the Loire, the scenic Chateau de Chantilly makes an ideal day trip from Paris. Explore the eclectic home of the Princes of Conde and later the Duc d’Amale, sample Crème a la Chantilly at its birthplace, and delight in the extensive gardens.