Bonne journée de Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!

An extra reason to celebrate is that today finally sees the long-awaited global cinema release of the new blockbuster movie, Napoleon.

History buffs will know that America may have turned out quite differently had Napoleon Bonaparte not sold Louisiana to the United States early in the 19th century. (insert your own cheese and wine joke here.)

Napoleon acquired Louisiana from Spain in 1800 as part of a plan to re-establish a French colonial empire in North America. However, his European wars left him without the resources to develop the territory, so he sold it to the USA in 1803, for $15 million.

Imagine a USA filled with statues of Napoleon, tricolore flags on the porch, and singing La Marseillaise! Perhaps the gift of the Statue of Liberty some eighty years later was a crafty way for the French to leave an unmistakable, indelible mark on their lost empire?

Had the Emperor managed to colonise the whole of America, you may well be enjoying Chicken Marengo today, or even Turkey Marengo?

Chicken what?

In June 1800, Napoleon’s troops triumphed after a long battle with Austrian forces near Marengo in northern Italy. He was hungry and demanded his chef prepare a meal quickly. The cook went foraging for ingredients and rustled up a dish of chicken in olive oil, with tomatoes and herbs, garnished with eggs and crawfish (sic). 

Guests at ESTELA’s Captains’ Dinner at the Museum were treated to a modern version of this French classic dish in Palma earlier this year, during the Palma Superyacht Show, to mark the current Napoleonic theme of ‘The Y Yachting Itineraries’.