While Marie Antoinette never did actually say “Let them eat cake”, the misquoted phrase from Rousseau’s Les confessions has indeed spurred on quite a bit of action both in the 18th and 21st centuries. Take a stroll around Google and you’ll find countless little cake boutiques with the same title, from one in Maine to another in Arizona, and one all the way out in California. Yum! The name alone must be a great selling point; who wouldn’t want to dive into a cake boutique with such a pretty name? Too bad I don’t live any closer to these darling bakeries to take a peek!
What Rousseau actually did accuse the delectable, maybe slightly spoiled queen of saying was “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, “Let them eat brioche”, very different in fact from cake. Brioche is basically a sugary butter bread marinated in an egg induced coma of deliciousness. While living in France, brioche was my go to choice for breakfast. With a dab of spreadable hazelnut chocolate of course. And with a good, slightly stale brioche, you can make one mean pain perdu, or French toast. Brioche may be a rather rare find in America; we haven’t quite yet adopted the taste and texture. But it’s closest cousin, challah, the braided Jewish egg bread, is pretty darn comparable.
Cake or brioche aside, “Let them eat cake” just sticks. To Marie that is. And I can just imagine her eating those scrumptious little cakes, cakes boasting a wild display of pastel madness: rosy pink cakes, minty green cakes, violet cakes, and baby blue cakes. My imagination runs wild. Visit a French pâtisserie sometime and you will understand why my imagination really isn’t too far off though. I would recommend Pâtisserie Riederer if you ever are in Aix-en-Provence. Apparently there are some new Riederer shops throughout other larger towns in Provence too.
Oui, this is one happy Riederer customer celebrating her birthday several years back!
While not as pink as I had first imagined her, voilà my Marie Antoinette. I think she could make one sweet birthday treat and am hoping to get her printed soon! I wasn’t at first sure about her mint background, but it’s slowly growing on me. What do you think? Does she make the cut in the long line of Marie Antoinette mock-ups?