François Mitterrand was in hassle. Elected president two years earlier, in 1981, on the promise of a “French highway to socialism,” issues had not gone as deliberate. Maybe he had gone too far, too quick, however inside a 12 months the French franc had collapsed and he was pressured to make a U-turn. Then got here an austerity program, and his reputation plunged.
Mitterrand determined to do what many unpopular politicians have completed: go on a international junket. He may strut in regards to the world stage, present presidential management, and usually attempt to change the topic.
He picked neighboring Switzerland as his vacation spot. It could be the primary state go to by a French president in almost 75 years—a pleasant option to seize headlines. And Switzerland being such a peaceful and protected nation, what may presumably go mistaken?
A Image of Friendship
Mitterrand visited a number of Swiss cities, together with Zurich, Basel, and the capital Bern. And since the Swiss president was from Neuchâtel, he visited that metropolis, too, the place a grand dinner was held in his honor.
Neuchâtel is known because the birthplace of absinthe, that anise-flavored liqueur with a status for inflicting insanity—some declare it’s why Vincent van Gogh to chop off his ear! For a few years, absinthe had been produced each in Neuchâtel and simply throughout the border in France. Often known as the “inexperienced fairy,” it had been a preferred drink throughout the Belle Epoque, then banned early within the twentieth century earlier than being legalized 20 years in the past.
On the time of Mitterrand’s go to, absinthe was nonetheless unlawful in each France and Switzerland. However the chef accountable for the dinner noticed it as an emblem of the friendship between Neuchâtel and France. He determined to whip up a particular dessert, utilizing absinthe, in fact.
A Shut Name
When the company arrived on the grand dinner, they had been astounded to see soufflé à la fée verte (inexperienced fairy soufflé) on the menu. The Swiss president feared a world incident, however by then it was too late to vary. And so the dinner started.
Fortunately, with the assistance of some interminable toasts, the dinner ran lengthy and Mitterrand needed to go away earlier than dessert was served. Nonetheless, the incident obtained numerous press in each nations, and the chef later went to jail for his offense.
Sadly for Mitterrand, his massive international journey did nothing to enhance his reputation…besides maybe amongst some clandestine absinthe makers.
When you’d prefer to strive a style of the inexperienced fairy, right here’s a recipe for the notorious dessert.
Keith and Val Van Sickle dwell a part of the 12 months in St-Rémy-de-Provence and have traveled broadly all through the area. Keith is the creator of An Insider’s Information to Provence (learn our evaluation).
Leave a Reply