First there was a beautiful château just outside Paris and then there was crème chantilly. Unlike plain whipped cream (crème fouettée), chantilly has twice as much sugar, usually powdered, and according to the rules can only be flavoured with vanilla.
It is also known as crème chantilly, crème de Chantilly, crème à la chantilly, crème fouettée à la chantilly or just chantilly. It is used to fill cream puffs (choux à la crème) and garnish desserts. In the 1970s, one of the big producers in Isigny, Normandy, invented ‘la bombe’, ie chantilly in a can, although it never is as rich in cream as the homemade stuff.
Like many fine things, chantilly was introduced from Italy in the 16th century as neve di latte (niege du lait, ‘snow milk’) but was named after the Château de Chantilly because its famous chef Vatel served it at the majestic reception for Louix XIV put on by the Prince du Condé in 1671.
But most culinary scholars believe it was because of the cream’s quality and Chantilly’s reputation for fine cuisine that the name stuck. If you visit Chantilly, you can have a go at whipping some up in situ at the Atelier de la Chantilly.
Images by Dguendel, Marco Verch Professional Photographer