French cooking Paris and Ile de France

A delicious soup created for the most beautiful woman in Versailles: the Countess du Barry

C'est une délicieuse recette que la crème du Barry. Elle nous vient tout droit de la Cour de Versailles où elle a été inventée pour Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry, maîtresse royale et gourmande qui avait demandé à son chef de lui concocter un plat sympa à base de chou-fleur.


Who is Madame du Barry?


A young girl with a gift for pleasure

portrait de Madame du Barry par Drouais

The Countess du Barry by Drouais.


Born in 1743 in Vaucouleurs, Lorraine, to a promiscuous monk named "Frère l'Ange", Jeanne Bécu was raised in a convent in Paris. When she left the convent at the age of 15, her radiant beauty surprised and attracted many.She became an apprentice hairdresser, then a reader, a "modiste" (clothing saleswoman), and began a career as a courtesan under the name of "Mademoiselle l'Ange" which led her into the beds of the greatest aristocrats of her time.One of them, the Marshal of Richelieu, decides to do everything to make her the mistress of King Louis XV , in order to gain importance in the king's mind and become an important political figure.After a failed attempt (a woman faints just before the king arrives in front of the young and beautiful Jeanne and thus distracts the king's attention), the beautiful one is finally presented to the king who falls completely for her. That said, it will not succeed to the Marshal Duke of Richelieu who will never become a minister as he hoped.


Royal Mistress

In love with this young girl who was 33 years younger than him, Louis XV decided to install her in Versailles. It is my will and that must be enough" he said when people were surprised to see a courtesan installed at the Court. She will reign over the heart of the king until his death, from 1768 to 1774. The king makes many gifts to his mistress.

Le roi Louis XV au moment de sa rencontre avec la comtesse du Barry. Portrait par Louis-Michel van Loo  (1707–1771)

King Louis XV at the time of his meeting with the Countess du Barry. Illustration chosen by : Portrait by Louis-Michel van Loo (1707-1771 )


Her name was Jeanne Bécu, and she became Countess du Barry by marrying the brother of her pimp, Monsieur du Barry. The husband never touched his wife and let her continue her life with the king.She received sumptuous apartments in Versailles (which can be visited by the way), and a delicious castle in Louveciennes. It is probably there that her chef imagined a recipe around cauliflower that she appreciated a lot.


A sweet life until the French Revolution.

Souper donné au château de Louveciennes en 1771  par Jean-Michel Moreau  (1741–1814)

Dinner given at the castle of Louveciennes in 1771 Illustration chosen by by Jean-Michel Moreau (1741-1814)

Chased out of the Court of Versailles by Louis XVI after the death of her royal lover, Madame du Barry lived a discreet life at the side of her new lover, the Duke of Brissac, who took care of her. She received many guests at Louveciennes, including the Austrian emperor Joseph II, and she even ended up sympathizing with Marie-Antoinette, who hated her at Versailles. It was at Louveciennes that Madame du Barry heard the cannon shots of the storming of the Bastille in 1789.


And a tragic end.

Madame du Barry partant vers l'échaffaud. Elle a hurlé tout le trajet, persuadée qu'elle avait été d'être innocentée. Illustration choisie par : Gravure anglaise du XIXe siècle par Tight Hopkins dans "The dungeons of Old Paris" 1897. 

Madame du Barry leaving towards the scaffold. She screamed all the way, convinced that she had been cleared. Illustration chosen by : English engraving of the XIXth century by Tight Hopkins in "The dungeons of Old Paris" 1897.


She fled some time later to Great Britain, before returning to Paris when she learned that her jewels, given to her by Louis XV, and all her savings, had been stolen. She returns to France and publishes a notice in the press to help her find her jewels in exchange for a reward. She is not pleased, because in the middle of the French Revolution, even if she was born a commoner, it is not good to have been the last mistress of a king of France. Madame du Barry is arrested.Even though she was defended by the villagers of Louveciennes, which shows that she was very kind, as the courtiers confirmed in their letters, Madame du Barry was condemned to death and guillotined at the age of 50 on December 8, 1793 in the Place de la Révolution, now the Place de la Concorde.


The cream of the Barry

It is a soup that was created by Madame du Barry's personal chef at her request, as she appreciated cauliflower. It must be said that she was a gourmet and descended from a family of gourmets since she was descended from a line of Parisian roasters: the Bécu.

La Comtesse du Barry au moment de l'invention de la recette à laquelle elle a donné son nom. Illustration choisie par ; portrait de Jean François Drouais en 1774. 

The Countess du Barry at the time of the invention of the recipe to which she gave her name. Illustration chosen by; portrait of Jean François Drouais in 1774.





  • 1/2 cauliflower
  • chervil (12 sprigs).
  • 1 leek (white only)

And also

  • . 40 g of butter
  • . 40 g flour (optional)
  • . 20 cl of milk
  • . 75 cl of poultry stock (or vegetable stock if you are vegetarian).
  • . 1 egg
  • 10 cl of fresh cream (a tablespoon is perfect)
  • coarse salt
  • . fine salt
  • . ground pepper

Un chou fleur. Photo choisie par :  Luiza Kamalova/ 

A cabbage flower. Photo chosen by Luiza Kamalova/


The process


  1. Wash all vegetables thoroughly
  2. Cut the leek to keep only the white part
  3. Peel the cauliflower by removing the large green leaves
  4. Choose the 3 or 4 most beautiful "florets" of cauliflower and put them aside
  5. Cut the white of the cauliflower into small pieces
  6. Take a casserole and put it on the fire
  7. Add butter
  8. Put in the leek white. It should just color
  9. After about 3 minutes, add the flour and stir for another 3 minutes.
  10. Pour the milk
  11. Put the cauliflower pieces
  12. Add a small pinch of coarse salt
  13. Bring to a boil but always stirring
  14. When it boils, add the broth (chicken or vegetable, depending on your preference).
  15. Let it cook for 30 minutes on medium heat.
  16. During this time you will sublimate your little cauliflower florets by making them as crisp as possible
  17. Bring a pot of water to a boil with a pinch of coarse salt.
  18. Add the cabbage bouquets
  19. Drain them and plunge them in cold water, they will remain crisp.
  20. Take a bowl and put the fresh cream
  21. Break the egg and separate the white from the yolk
  22. Put the yolk in the bowl of fresh cream and mix well.
  23. Mix the cauliflower that has been cooking in the pot for 30 minutes
  24. Bring it back to a boil
  25. When it has come to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and add the cream and egg yolk mixture
  26. Salt
  27. Add pepper (not too much).
  28. Serve in soup plates, adding the cooked cauliflower florets on top


Une belle assiette de crème (ou potage) du Barry. Photo choisie par : Fascinadora /

A beautiful plate of Barry's cream (or soup). Photo chosen by Fascinadora /



Some people add a dash of curry powder and others add turmeric to give it flavor and a little color. You can also add both. You can also add some toasted bread crumbs (lightly rubbed with garlic, why not).


What do we drink with this?

A dry white wine, even young, rather fresh is ideal. We can go for a white Côte du Jura, a white Arbois wine, a white Côte de Beaune or a good white Givry (to be consumed in moderation, alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health).


sorry for the translation errors, our translator is on vacation in Brittany and we never know when he'll be back (or if he'll be back at all!)

Other savory french receipe by

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme est "monsieur de France" l'auteur de ce site.