The Unexpectedly Tragic Invention Of Chantilly Cream

There are many different types of cream. There's clotted cream, which has the fat separated from it through low-temperature heating, according to Freshways. There's also sour cream, which Science Direct says involves fermented dairy. Then there's Cream, which Britannica reports started in 1966 as the first "supergroup" of musicians, and was made using a mixture of jazz, blues, rock, and the psychedelic sounds of the era. Finally, there's whipped cream. The fluffy topping may have came about in the 1600s, but its history has been lost to the ages, according to Medium. What we do know is it's closely tied to another type of sugary dairy product: Chantilly cream.

Whipped cream gets a lot of press. Nearly everyone knows about it. There's tubs and cans of the stuff on the shelves of almost every supermarket, and if you go to a coffee shop, odds are pretty good you'll have the option of adorning your beverage with a dollop of whipped cream. That's perfectly fine, but it's entirely unclear why Chantilly cream isn't as popular, if not moreso, since it is essentially whipped cream that is actually sweeter than standard whipped cream, and has extra flavors, like vanilla, if Sugary Logic can be believed. (Delighted Cooking also points out that since American whipped cream is usually sweetened, people may regularly be enjoying Chantilly cream without even realizing it.)

However, it's possible that Chantilly cream doesn't get the adoration and attention it deserves because it has such a dark history behind it.

Chantilly cream's inventor took his own life over a fish delivery

The tale of Chantilly cream is also the story of a chef named François Vatel. According to Cook's Info, Vatel was working for the Prince of Condé in France during the middle part of the 17th century. In 1671, king Louis XIV proclaimed he was going to pay the prince a visit. This was bad luck for chef Vatel, who Holst reports worked as the prince's master of ceremonies at the time. This made him responsible for presenting a feast for thousands to honor Louis. As part of the preparations for the feast, Food & Wine says Vatel created Chantilly cream, the alleged original name of whipped cream. While this should have been a crowning achievement that made Vatel famous the world over, it was not.

Supposedly, as Vatel was getting the feast ready for the visit by Louis XIV there were several problems and delays. This caused Vatel untold amounts of strain, says the Los Angeles Times. Anyone who has ever tried to organize a big party for a megalomaniacal king can relate. Thus, when a delivery of fish was late, Vatel supposedly killed himself. The legend says that fish deliveries then came in droves. As Food & Wine points out, this may be why the sweet whipped cream is known for the Chantilly castle where it was made, and not called "Vatel cream" after the tragic, overwrought chef who made it.

[Featured image by Edouard Zier via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped | PD-US-expired]