Mayonnaise, this famous creamy sauce, is a great classic of French cuisine. But when was it invented ?

From the city of Mahon

Mayonnaise is a traditional sauce made with egg yolks and olive oil. By whisking the oil, it forms small droplets which are incorporated into the water contained in the egg. Thus, it becomes a creamy foam. Some add mustard, vinegar, salt or pepper, among others. Very creamy dish that goes wonderfully with eggs or fries. But who invented mayonnaise ? The most commonly narrated origin is the city of Mahon, capital of Menorca, in the Balearic Islands (Spain). Some historians believe that the sauce was already present in the cuisine of the Menorcans as early as the 16th century. But in 1756, the Duke of Richelieu, Marshal of France and great-nephew of the famous cardinal, conquered the city then occupied by the English. To celebrate this conquest, Richelieu offered a grand banquet during which the cook tried out a new sauce recipe that he had seen made on the island. He developed a mixture of olive oil and egg, which was so successful that the sauce was called « Mahonnaise« . The success is immediate. The mayonnaise sauce then spread throughout the world.

An immediate success

On the strength of its success, this emblematic sauce was marketed in bottles in Philadelphia for the first time in 1907. The real mayonnaise recipe is embodied in America by the Hellmann’s company, while in France, it is Amora which dominates the market with 32.6% market share in 2009, followed by distributor brands and Bénédicta with respectively 26.6% and 21.4% market share. In the United States, in a $1.6 billion market, competition was heightened with the arrival in 2013 of Just Mayo (Hampton Creek), the first egg-free mayonnaise-style sauce.

And here is the traditional recipe for the famous mayonnaise :

1 large egg yolk (or 2 small ones)

1 C. c. strong mustard

1 or 2 tbsp of. wine vinegar (white or red) or lemon juice

25 cl of neutral-tasting oil

Salt and pepper from the mill

Recipe :

Put the egg yolk and mustard in a bowl with a pinch of salt and a little pepper. Start mixing with a whisk. When the consistency is homogeneous, add the vinegar, whisking vigorously. Add the oil drop by drop, whisking constantly, until the emulsion sets and the sauce begins to thicken. Then add the rest of the oil a little faster, whisking constantly so that the mayonnaise is firm.

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