giovedì 19 luglio 2007

Medieval Drinks

Medieval Drinks
Among the Medieval Drinks, beer was much in vogue. Charlemagne ordered that skilled brewers to be attached to his farms. Everywhere, the monastic houses had their own breweries, a tradition which is continuing even in our times (the Belgian Abbey Biers, like Leffe or Affligem are good examples). However, during the reign of St. Louis, there were only few breweries in Paris itself, and despite their privileges, the brewers had to leave the capital, as there was no demand for their product. They reappeared in 1428, and, either as a caprice of fashion or because wine was more expensive, the consumption of beer became again general across France. The flavored beers became much in fashion. The beer was sweetened with honey or scented with raspberries.
n the 13th Century, hydromel, composed of one part of honey and twelve parts of water, was especially appreciated by the monks, who feasted on it on the great anniversaries of the Church. Cider was also popular, and in the 13th Century, the inhabitants of the Auge and Normandy made cider their daily drink. Our forefathers, who loved dainty dishes, were also connoisseurs in wine. The cultivation of the vine became general, and kings themselves planted them, even in the gardens of their palaces. The wine became the most appreciated of all Medieval Drinks, and the wine trade had acquired an enormous importance, especially in France.
The trade of a wine-merchant is one of the oldest established in Paris, but this does not mean that the sale of wine was exclusively carried on by special tradesmen. For a long time, the owner of the vineyard retailed the wine which he had not been able to sell in the cask. A broom, a laurel wreath, or some other sign hung over a door, denoted that any one passing by could purchase or drink wine within. Sometimes, the wine-growers placed a man before the door of their cellar, who enticed the public to enter and taste the new wines. Others established a tavern in a room of their house, where they retail the drink. The monks also opened this kind of taverns in the monasteries, as they only consumed part of their wine themselves. The custom was adopted even by the nobles, who had the advantage that, whilst they were retailing their wines, no one in the district was allowed to enter into the competition with them.

The wines of France in most request from the 9th to the 13th Century were those of Cahors, Rheims, Choisy, Marne, Meulan, Orleanais. In the 13th Century, wines like the Beaune, in Burgundy, the Saint-Emilion in Guyenne, Chablis, Epernay, in Champagne, were much appreciated. In the 14th Century, a man of fashion would drink nothing but Saint-Pourçain.
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