Medieval cuisine

Generalities: In The thirteenth century, Aldebrandin de Sienne, living in Champagne, wrote in French the "Plan body" diet book for a fairly large public. Here may be seen the advent of dietetics for the whole population. The Tacuinum Sanitatis is a translation of a book written in Baghdad by Ibn Butlab in the Xth century. It contains tables presenting the qualities of foodstuffs. In 1260, the Latin version is written in 1260, probably for the account of the count of Manfred of Sicily. The second is published in Italy in the XVth century. Two texts are published : the first one, quite complete, is a good adaptation of the original. The second is published in Italy in the XVth century, finely decorated, each page contains an illustration with little text. Cream cheese is described as cold and wet. It is better if it comes from the tempered milk from healthy animals. On the positive side, it softens and fattens the body, but it causes constipation; this unfortunate event may be avoided by almonds and nuts (warm and dry nature). It is believed in the Middle Ages there was a correspondence between the human body on which four moods operate (blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile), in conjunction with the 4 elements. Blood is warm and humid as air, and melancholy, cold and dry, corresponds to phlegm or earth.It influences foodstuffs : fowls that live in the air are also warm and humid whereas roots, in contact with the earth, are cold and dry. To keep one's health, a man must consume food that allows him to keep a balance between his moods. His food will vary according to his temperament. In case of illness, it is necessaray to consume foodstuffs that will compensate the excesses of moods, one way or another : thu, a feverish patient will eat curcubitaceae, melons, salads, raw vegetables, hardly recommended to people in good health. The balance of a person a change with age, sex, season, geographical place; when ageing, one becomes colder and drier. The classification of food, one way or another, also contains four degrees. When the degree is low, consumption is without any danger; otherwise it should be handled with care. Many profitable foodstuffs are warm and humid; they go along with human body. Their being warm makes digestion easier, which is considered as a second cooking after the one made in the kitchen. Raw or cold eating is dangerous : the stomach must then do all the work : a pope is supposed to have died by eating too many melons. The excess of some foodstuffs must be compensated by the accompaniment for instance of wine or salt with the melon. This fruit should be had at the beginning of the meal as it may not be cooked enough if something else is eaten. Books of recipes can also be found, written by doctors to the benefit of the sick, presenting food copying other dishes. The Musandinus (XIIth ct) explains while by which you give chicken the appareance of beef, you blanch a dish, how you prepare the paste of a pie if the patient wishes to eat it...In a word, doctors in the Middle Ages consider that the patient will eat better, and therefore will recover sooner, if the dish is appetizing (nothing to do with the cooking in our hospitals) The taste of dishes and of words in the literature at the end of the Middle Ages : on account of the sin of 'goula', it is improper to delight in having food. In the late medieval litterature, it is then done in biassed way "The life of Saint Herring" tells the story of a Saint, made a martyr in a thousand ways : roasted, braised with peas...etc. Pretexting the Holy Scripture, we are entitled to all the ways how to prepare herring, a fish particulary common in the days of abstinence scattered all over the year (one out of three) In "the nine galant knights of greeds" more or less inspired from the history of "the nine gallant knights of greeds" more or less inspired from the history of "the nine gallant knights", the Biblical characters have had some relation to food, particulary Noah who got drunk. The "Cena Cypriani" (Vth to VIIIth ct) presents a meal offered by the King who also invites Biblical characters who bring some food connected with them, sometimes in a very subtle way; Eve, Noah, Jesus come with grapes ('passus' in latin not so far from 'passion') Severals versions of "Carême et Charnage"(lent and flesh) can be found, a play performed immediately before lent time. The first one consists mainly of herrings whereas Flesh carries with thick soup, sausages, chitterlings, dairy produce etc...In the conflict opposing them, Flesh is the winner but it gives Lent the right to come back every year six weeks and three days. At the end of the Middle Ages, society shows a growing interest in food, in literature, books of cooking and dietetics, and approaches little self-care and well-being that will be fulfilled only several centuries later. 

Medieval cuisine at the castle of Cherveux

What do they est in a castle (particulary in the castle of Cherveux and his farm

Château de Cherveux

Epices du Moyen age

No doubt a spicy cuisine to complement the dishes


with products of the Poitou- Charentes region and Scotland of course!

Moissons au Moyen age



bread and porridge Cunningham Scottish was to benefit ( the plains of Cherveux are favorable for the cultivation of wheat )  

sanglier du moyen age


Pâtés, Venison with the woods and surrounding forests

Basse cour au château de Cherveux


Pork , beef, mutton

Volailles du moyen age



Poultry : chickens, ducks

wine vinegars , sauces, verjuice



Poissons de la Rochelle



As la Rochelle town is not far - sea fish : Congress of La Rochelle - seafood ( oysters , crabs , mussels, cockles ... )


Fish River Marcusson (trout ) and crayfish,

Ecrevisses du Marcusson
Poissons de la douve du château de Cherveux

Fish the castle moat ( carp, eel , roach )


Porées white and green

goat cheese ( specialty of the Poitou -Charentes region) and cow

angélique du marais poitevin



The candied angelica of the Marais Poitevin


ham, sausages




Cabbage , lentils, spinach, parsnips ....

For dessert shortbread of course and taillis, , and can be the cheese pie ( the cheesy cake ? ) ( cheesecake goat or cow cooked in an oven )


Wine of the surrounding vineyards


The late fifteenth century was a time when good food is an integral part of life , celebration and enjoyment of life. The cooking offers blends of fragrances, colors and the most unexpected and most elaborate flavors. The end of Middle Ages is a time when we cook among the affluent with spices brought from the East. In the fifteenth , the use of sugar is spreading in France, where it enters the composition of camelina sauce, but its presence in a dish can lead to give it a special name , showing that this is not a common condiment : thus it is the "pigeon sugar ." In the fifteenth century , the cane grows in Sicily and Spain. No doubt they also had to use the Mesnagier of Paris and the viandier of Taillevent to prepare their meals and banquets