This year marks the 235th anniversary of the birth of Antonin Carême, a French chef whose recipes influence French cuisine to this day.
What is his connection to Russia, you ask? Well, 200 years ago, in 1819, Carême was invited to Russia to cook for Emperor Alexander I. But, when he arrived, the tsar was out of the country – and he stayed away for another year. The French chef got so homesick that he returned to France without cooking a single meal for Alexander.
Nonetheless, the French chef left his mark on Russian cuisine in the form of the dessert known in Russia as sharlotka and everywhere else as charlotte Russe.
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