The Plombières ice cream, a story about... lead
Plombières is a thermal spa located in Vosges. But it’s also the name of a dessert… an ice cream made with icy custard flavoured with almond, full of candied fruits. Originally, this cream was called Plombière (without the ″s″) because they made it in a leaden mould (plomb means ″lead″). And they created it in Paris! The ice became Plombières (with a ″s″) when they added kirsch from Vosges...
The little history
The chefs and the cream
Our ice cream was mentioned in 1822 by the famous French chief Antonin Carême in his book Le maître d'hôtel français (″The French butler)″), as ″plombière cream full of fruits″ or ″icy cream à la Plombière″. Then, in 1825, we found it on the menu of the famous Parisian ice cream man Tortoni, settled at number 2 of the rue Taitbout: this chap prepared the ice on a leaden mould. But at that time, he didn’t put kirsch… It happened in 1882, when a pastry-cook from Plombières-les-Bains decided to soak candied fruits in kirsch! And our ice cream became Plombières… with a ″s″!
Balzac, Napoleon III...
French author Balzac wrote in his novel Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes: ″At the end of the diner, they served plombière ice creams. Everyone knew that those kind of desserts were full of delicate candied fruits, put on the cream’s surface...″ Whoa! Besides, the tradition says that on July 21th 1858, emperor Napoleon III and Cavour, chief of the Italian government, met in Plombières: they ate this ice cream for the first time, a recipe especially created for the occasion! Of course, today, we know it isn’t true… a legend!