France took over the leading culinary role from Italy in the seventeenth century. The strong flavours of the Middle Ages were left behind and steps were taken towards our modern kitchen. Vegetables were finally allowed in the kitchen of the elite, preferably from their own garden. New fruits and vegetables were created. Vegetables like asparagus and artichokes became popular on their table. Eating and cooking with dairy also increased.
It was the heyday of the Dutch East India Trading Company, which brought a lot of spices to The Netherlands. Spices became available for the middle class, which made them lose their status. As a result, the rich used considerably fewer spices. Nevertheless, there is some flavour left in the delicious recipes of this period.
Beautiful cookbooks were published throughout Europe in the 17th century. In the Netherlands, the first Dutch cookbook was written: De verstandige kock (the Sensible Cook). With France at the forefront, delightful dishes with wonderful flavour combinations appear on the European tables. Lovers of pastry and sweets will enjoy the recipes of this century very much. Sugar was sprinkled heavily and ovens made overtime to presented the most beautiful cakes and pies.
With the quantities and preparation methods in the cookbooks, they sprinkled somewhat less lavishly. The ‘length of a Lord’s Prayer’ sometimes helps. But there is some work to do before you can bring the flavours of the 17th century back to life. The dishes on this page have already been tried and tested, as well as written down for you so that you can easily recreate them at home.
You will find more recipes in my Cookbook of the Golden Age. You can learn to cook them in the 17th-century Cooking Class or come and cook them with me during the Historical Cooking Week in Provence. If you have difficulties to find 17th-century ingredients, check out this webshop.