During the middle of the 18th century, Paris was a picture of elegance and culture. The higher classes across Europe just could not get enough of this city. Even then, Paris fashions set the trend throughout the European continent.
So it should not be surprising to learn that a has organized an exhibition that is solely dedicated to Paris life of the 18th century – a city that was undoubtedly the art and culture capital of the time. If you are interested in experiencing the grandeur and luxury of mid-18th-century Paris, make your way to The J. Paul Getty Museum on 1200 Getty Center Drive. The exhibition, which is entitled “Paris: Life & Luxury”, will cover the luxurious lifestyles of Paris’ 18th-century aristocrats through arts, artifacts and even food.
This was the period that saw the rise of haute cuisine, and the culinary aspect of the times is covered in great detail at this exhibition. The luxury exhibition showcases some 160 items – from art and furniture to clocks, musical instruments, clothes and maps. The items have been sourced from 26 different museums and collections. The clocks and watches have been sponsored luxury watch brand Breguet.
As I mentioned earlier, much of the exhibition is devoted to the food habits of the period. Back then, the main meal of the day was the midday meal. The typical ingredients of such a meal would have included game, poultry, fish and vegetables. A painting by Jean-Baptiste Oudry captures these ingredients. To some extent, so does the 1720 painting “Still Life with a Rifle, Hare & Bird” by Eric Cornelius-Han Thorwid.
Part of this elaborate Paris exhibition is also designed to tease your taste buds. The period was very significant for French cuisine, for at this time, French cuisine turned the corner, moving from medieval gastronomy into the modern era. Francis Pierre de la Varenne compiled the first-ever French cookbook, which helped fuel this transformation. What this meant was that medieval cuisine, marked by its dependence on heavy spices, made way for lighter, more natural flavors and local herbs. Much stress began to be laid on freshness, whether of meat, fish or vegetables. New vegetables began to be brought into the menu in French households. Cauliflower, peas and cucumbers became the new entrants on the vegetarian side.
You can, in fact, get a taste of the times if you visit the museum on a Saturday night before 7 August, which is the last day of the exhibit. The Getty Restaurant has organized a special fixed-price dinner. It is $70 per person, and $100 with wine. Among the dishes on the menu are Truffle and Potato Vichysoisse with Dungeness crab, chive cream and garlic croutons, Moules Mariniere (mussels cooked in white wine and herbs) and Chateaubriand, where the beef is teamed with a blue cheese potato aligot.
The downside is that the wines being served with the dinner are all American wines, rather than French ones. But perhaps that is a small price to pay for an exhibition and a meal that promises to transport you to a different world.
Via: Huffington Post