Title page of a 17th century edition of la Varenne’s Le Cuisiner françois bound together in the 17th century with Le Pastissier françois, sold for €55,000 (£48,670) at Christie’s.

Image copyright: Christie’s images limited 2023

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He believed that cooking should be arranged according to a set of rules and principles and his revolutionary cookery book, Le Cuisinier françois of 1651, introduced such terms as bouquet garni, fonds de cuisine and the recipe for Hollandaise sauce.

La Varenne also called for the separation of salted and sweet dishes, with the former being served before the latter and, following the success of his debut cookbook, he published a second, Le Pastissier françois, in 1653, which is regarded as the first comprehensive French work on pastry-making.

Double up

When Christie’s (26/21/15% buyer’s premium) Paris rooms offered a selection of cookery books from the specialist culinary library assembled by Baron Pierre de Crombrugghe on March 23, one of the main attractions was a copy of both la Varenne’s books mentioned above bound together in a 17th century Dutch vellum binding.

The double volume was hammered down for €55,000 (£48,670).