All that Glitters is Not Gold
Legends are the footnotes of antiquity. History says the turning point in French gastronomy was the arrival from Italy of a teenage Catherine de Medici, who came to Paris in 1533 to become Henry II’s queen.
She brought with her a retinue of chefs and pastry makers who proceeded to dazzle the French court with cheesecake and ice cream. The court was dazzled, but less with the offerings than the revolutionary tool brought in to wolf down the goodies with: the fork.
The French already knew the spoon, many had been born with a silver one stuck between their gums; the knife they already used—one to cut with, the other to pin the meat down with. The new implement—only two pronged—was a new fork in the road.
Today, almost every French baby is gifted a silver fork along with the spoon. At Christofle, they like to believe that it’s their flatware that every baby gets at birth. That could well be true. The French brand, in argent operation for nearly 200 years, has fans galore for the luxury products it hand-makes for the world’s well-to-do dining tables. “People often come in and buy just two or four pieces of our flatware to start with,” explains Sylvie Bessieres, Responsible de la Formation. “Then they keep adding fresh pieces as and when they can afford it, till they complete the set. That’s one reason we do not discontinue popular patterns no matter how old the line is.”
Not that it’s just flatware that brings in the customers. In recent years particularly, Christofle–which has stores in five continents—has roped in renowned artists and designers such as Man Ray, John Cocteau, Gio Ponti, Andree Putman and Martin Szekely, to create refreshing pieces of jewellery, personal accessories and objects for the home alongwith the traditional tableware. Consider Putman’s assymetrical Vertigo ring, which finds place on objects as diverse as trays, ice buckets and jewellery.
But babies remain the most prized customers at Christofle, and are pandered to with easy-to-grip Charlie Bear-engraved spoons and forks, double handled mugs and the enchanting Egg (which comes apart to play the role of spinning top, egg cup, napkin ring and baby cup). Whimsy enters the picture too, in the garb of a glamorous sterling silver condom case. Created by design students, the slim, stylish piece can be slipped into the daintiest of purses or pockets.
Courtesy: India Today Spice