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Synopsis

Coffee, tea and chocolate were all still newcomers to France when the eighteenth century historian Le Grand d'Aussy wrote his history of French food and drink. He includes his look at what was then still their recent history in a section on non-alcoholic drinks. But first he looks at the cold ones, notably lemonade, also a relative newcomer, yet already popular enough that those who sold coffee, flavored drinks and even ice cream were known as limonadiers - lemonade-vendors. Some of the drinks they sold - rossolis, populo, cedar sours, vinegar syrups - have long been forgotten, while others have become staples of French culture. What the French now call glaces ("ices" and "ice creams") not only included true ices (flavored with liquids), but other confections such as "fromages" and snows, and even the first French whipped cream (chantilly ices). One was even said to taste like... butter.
Having turned to hot drinks, Le Grand first takes brief but informative looks at how tea and chocolate came to France before beginning a long look at coffee: its fitful beginnings in France, its ultimate acceptance, the rise of the café, the invention of café au lait, the spread of coffee cultivation to French islands and the different ways it was made.
All of this is very lively, and some of it may sound familiar - Le Grand's work remains a prime source for modern historians on such subjects. Now readers of English can read his account in his own, newly translated, words.

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