There are some days I went to see the exhibition “Thé, Café ou Chocolat” in Cognacq-Jay Museum in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris. I just loved it! I do not know anything about this museum before (although I love this neighborhood). I wanted to take advantage of this attractive exhibition to find out. It is so small! The exhibition in question showed the history of tea, coffee and chocolate, they arrived in the Western world and their use in the XVII century. It was exciting. It reveals the birth of a lifestyle.
For starters, we learn more about the discovery of these products. Chocolate is discovered by Spain’s conquistadors who were sent to America. They make the knowledge of the Aztecs and cocoa. This civilization used in rituals and it is drunk by Alite. Tea comes from India. Yet it is already well known in China and Japan, which consumes large quantities. Finally, the coffee was discovered in Ethiopia during pilgrimages in the XV century.
The arrival of these new products has turned upside social and feeding practices as well as the art of the table itself. To taste these flavors, we need to prepare them in certain ways that were very thoughtful in the XVII century. Engineers seek and create new vessels: the coffeepot, teapot and chocolate. To drink these beverages of luxury, it is also prestigious services. They were mainly silverware, ceramics and porcelain. Porcelain is cheaper, it is first imported from China, and then it starts to be manufactured in France and Europe in the early XVIII century when the Chinese trade secret is understanded. Many pieces are available at the exhibition. It’s gorgeous, I am a great admirer of the art of the table and it was a treat.
In the social, coffee, tea and chocolate are creating new habits and social rituals in the nobility and gentry. We see born the first “coffee shops” and the appearance of the sweet snack in the afternoon (and night). They are eaten in small salons and high women rand are using herself, a revolution.
I really enjoyed this small exhibition. It is small but the place is warm, we believed to be in a small private room, there we are missing more than a cup of tea!
If you are interested in the exhibition, hurry, it ends September 27!
8, rue Elzevir
75 003 Paris