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My Dinner with Chopin & George

baked bread cake close up

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What’s on the Menu at George Sand’s Country Home

The famous Portrai of Chopin by Delacroix

The country home of George Sands, LE MANOIRE de NOHANT is a three hour trip from Paris. I took this trip while I was still in school, with my parents; my father was a devoted fan of Chopin’s music. This trip was a pilgrimage for him. Arriving at the gates of this country home was a memorable moment in my French education. The lovely manor home is out in the countryside filled with fields and forest, with a little town nearby. This was her ancestral home, a part of her minor noble family, it was typical to be somewhat “land rich” and cash poor as part of the minor aristocracy.

George Sands + George Sands were the Power Couple of the Romantic Period

Chopin and George Sands, perhaps the 19th Century’s most famous lovers (*he a musical star, and she a successful author of romantic novels) met each other and the storm began, lasting until his death. Their relationship is also highlighted in collectible objects on display at the MUSEE de la Vie Romantique, located in the Pigalle (9th) section of Paris. Here you can see unchanged the early Victorian decor in the house that was the height of fashion. You’ll notice the decided over-decoration, by modern standards, and it is different than the country house where they went to escape the roar of the crowds in Paris. There, the ancient regime furniture is mixed with mid-century French Victorian styles, making a rather boho luxe atmosphere.

Guess who is Coming to Dinner?

But they were not the only ones who visited. Madame Sand’s guest list reads like the Romantic era in arts, literature, critics and music of the time. Quite simply, though George Sand’s relationship was a scandal, it was one of the most coveted invitations of the time. Her fame (but not always her fortune) depended on the publishing of her novels, and Chopin’s work as a concert pianist was much in demand. Franz Lizt, himself a piano superstar, visited. Even literary names such as the son of Alexander Dumas, and the infamous DELACROIX himself already a superstar who had painted the infamous French Lady Liberty. The life of a writer is often solitary and Ms. Sands (renaming herself to mimic a man’s name) worked in her bedroom at a desk that no one was allowed to enter. From the countryside it is said that CHOPIN also wrote almost two thirds of his musical output, thriving in the protective and quiet atmosphere.

Dinner Time at NOHANT: What’s on the table?

French country cuisine is traditional with recipes passed down from one family member to another. Underneath a sparkling chandelier, the dinner table is set with linens and family silver with elegant evening dress completing the picture. This wonderful experience is outlined in the beautifully illustrated and titled “A TABLE de GEORGES SANDS “by CHRISTIANE SAND* published by FLAMMARION. Here you can review the recipes and history of NOHANT.

Menu Items might Look Like this:

The country tart with fruit, liqueur and a lovely glaze on top was always a country classic, something you can get even today in any small Patisserie shop in France. The simple almond biscuits and tartes made with lemon or chocolate were served; these desserts remain also today as proper French desserts served with a champagne or wines that began the meal.

Editor’s Note: To visit the Domaine de Georges Sands you can go to the website for further information: http: maison-george-sand.monuments-nationaux.fr.

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