Dinner is Served!
The Story of French Cuisine
Pointe-à-Callière sets the table for the French gourmet meal
The French gourmet meal… beyond delicious cuisine, it also represents an attachment to good food, conviviality, and the pleasure of coming together to eat and drink well. To celebrate this UNESCO-recognized intangible cultural heritage – and bring it to life – Pointe-à-Callière is devoting an entire exhibition to this inexhaustible and delectable subject. The new exhibition Dinner is Served! The Story of French Cuisine, presented from June 6 to October 13, 2019, pays tribute to the captivating story of the French gastronomic meal, from Gallo-Roman times to the present day.
To celebrate this UNESCO-recognized intangible cultural heritage – and bring it to life – Pointe-à-Callière is devoting an entire exhibition to this inexhaustible and delectable subject.
Visitors will journey across centuries in a historic environment, exploring the particularities of French cuisine – the quality of its ingredients, the know-how of its artisans, its regional specialities, its traditions, as well as current trends. Pointe-à-Callière’s exhibition will introduce visitors to various political figures, artists, and great chefs who have shaped or even revolutionized the country’s culinary arts. Like the French, who – both rich and poor – devote the most time to meals worldwide, visitors will also be able to take some time to contemplate and appreciate all of the richness of France’s culinary culture.
“The French gastronomic meal is an extremely rich subject that has seldom been addressed in museums around the world. Visitors will have the chance to admire nearly a thousand exceptional objects rarely shown together in one place. This exhibition rises to the challenge of highlighting, illustrating and explaining the intangible heritage that is the French meal. What is wonderful is that by retracing the history of gastronomy, it reveals and gives shape to the history of France before our eyes,” explains Francine Lelièvre, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière.
‘Visitors will have the chance to admire nearly a thousand exceptional objects rarely shown together in one place.’
The exhibition will feature, among other things, very delicate porcelain and glassware, kitchen accessories used in French homes in the 18th century and collectibles from prestigious French museums as well as the House of Hermès, Christofle and the Crystal manufacture of Saint-Louis. It will illustrate the introduction of certain ingredients that enriched French dishes over the years, such as spices, salt, sugar, tea, coffee, and chocolate, and take a look at the place that certain vegetables – like green beans and potatoes – have taken on in French meals. Of course, the exhibition will also examine the development of several renowned French alcoholic products that have excited taste buds for many generations!
Through video projections, visitors will get to meet different people: Maître Chiquart, who will talk about the meals he created for a great banquet that lasted three days in the Middle Ages; gardener Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie, in charge of growing fruits and vegetables at the Palace of Versailles for King Louis XIV; and Marie-Antoinette, who loved everything “natural” and especially adored goat’s milk and fresh cheese. Visitors will also get to attend an improbable tasting during which Voltaire, Churchill, Rabelais, Thomas Jefferson, Colette, and Napoleon 1st will discuss their love of wine. Lastly, visitors will be able to test their culinary knowledge in various quizzes and send themselves some recipes from the Middle Ages.
When was the fork first introduced? What is the difference between service à la française and service à la russe? How did a widow improve upon champagne, a bottle of which is opened every two seconds in the world? How did a guide originally geared to motorists become the foremost reference on the quality of gourmet restaurants? How have chefs risen to the ranks of celebrity? Foodies, seasoned and amateur cooks, as well as fans of the culinary arts will satisfy their curiosity and better understand how important French gastronomic heritage is for our cuisine here at home and around the world.
The French gastronomic meal on Instagram
During the exhibition Dinner is Served! The Story of French Cuisine, Pointe-à-Callière, TV5 Québec Canada and TV5MONDE will offer special content on the exhibition with a series of weekly Instagram stories. Discover intriguing objects from French cuisine, cooking idioms, historical anecdotes, and French recipes from every time period. Follow @pointeacalliere, @tv5.ca or @tv5monde from June 6 to October 13 to make delicious discoveries!
Numerous lenders and partners
Dinner is Served! The Story of French Cuisine is a Pointe-à-Callière exhibition, with the extraordinary participation of the Musée national de céramique and the Musée national Adrien Dubouché – Cité de la céramique, Sèvres et Limoges. The Museum also wishes to thank several lenders for their participation in the exhibition including:
- Jennifer Morton Collection
- Collection palais des ducs de Lorraine – Musée lorrain, Nancy
- Cristallerie de Saint-Louis, France
- Écouen, musée national de la Renaissance
- Hermès, Paris
- Laboratoire et Réserve d’archéologie du Québec, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec
- Mobilier national
- Musée Carnavalet – Histoire de Paris
- Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge
- Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke
- Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
- Musée Grévin de Montréal
- Musée du Louvre
- Stewart Museum, Montréal
- Paris, musée des Arts décoratifs
- Patrimoine Christofle
and contributors, La Cité du Vin-Bordeaux, France, Mucem, l’Hôtel Rive Gauche-Refuge Gourmand, Beloeil, Épices de cru and Flore.
The Museum wishes to thank the exhibition’s sponsors for their invaluable support. Dinner is Served! The Story of French Cuisine is presented by Desjardins in collaboration with La Presse and with the support of Air Canada Cargo, Tourisme Montréal, the Montréal InterContinental, the ITHQ and Maison Christian Faure.
Images: courtesy of Pointe-à-Callière
Read also: Other articles on exhibitions
Located on the site where Montréal was founded, Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex is the largest history museum in Montréal. Rising above a number of national historic and archaeologic sites, the Museum’s mission is to raise awareness and foster an appreciation of the city’s history and to forge bonds with regional, national and international networks. Pointe-à-Callière is subsidized by the City of Montréal.