Decadent Desserts: Recipes from Château Vaux-le-Vicomte
by Countess Christina de Vogüé (Flammarion, 2008)
Shrouded in intrigue and romance since construction was completed more than four centuries ago, Château Vaux-le-Vicomte remains one of France’s most revered historic treasures. Built in 1661 by Nicholas Fouquet, superintendent of finances to King Louis XIV, the palatial estate southeast of Paris set the standard for opulence in its day. Its architect, painter, and landscape artist—who would all later collaborate on the creation of Versailles—constructed a masterpiece that is still stunning in style and scale.
The château fell with the family’s fortunes and went through a succession of owners in subsequent centuries until coming to rest with its current proprietors, the comte and comtesse de Vogüé. The couple support preservation efforts of the estate by hosting events there and by maintaining an on-site restaurant and tearoom, L’Écureuil. Also open for dinner during special candlelight tours, the restaurant is rated in the most renowned European guidebooks.
A must for any Francophile, Decadent Desserts: Recipes from Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, by author Countess Christina de Vogüé, shares the secrets of the castle’s storied history as well as its kitchens. The 160-page book offers glimpses of the château in a series of historic family snapshots combined with moodily lit photos of 63 desserts presented in the most lush settings Vaux-le-Vicomte has to offer, both inside and out.
The countess includes dessert recipes from the château’s archives, from friends, and from her travels. And whether it’s the Pink Pralines with Green Tea Custard shot against sky blue brocade furnishings or wee embellished bites of chocolate pictured with priceless heirloom silver, each recipe is fancifully styled in true French fashion.