Monday, June 1, 2009

Proust's coffee

Marcel Proust's housekeeper Céleste Albaret recounts preparing the boss's coffee:

It was a ritual. First, only Corcellet coffee could be used, and it had to be bought at a shop in rue de Lévis in the seventeenth arrondissement where it was roasted, to make sure it was fresh and had lost none of its aroma. The filter, too, had to be Corcellet. Even the little tray was from Corcellet.

Céleste Albaret, Monsieur Proust, translated by Barbara Bray (New York: New York Review Books, 2003), 22.
The Corcellet family opened une épicerie fine, a fine-foods store, a delicatessen, in Paris in 1787. As late as 1983, there was a Corcellet (Paul) roasting coffee at his Parisian store. Céline de Pierredon-Corcellet, Paul's daughter, now runs SOPROVAL (Société Provençale d'Alimentation de Luxe) in Provence, producing mustards, oils, spices, and vinegars. No coffee alas.

A trip to Google Book Search suggests that Proust was hardly unusual in his devotion to Corcellet coffee:


From Galignani's New Paris Guide, for 1852: Compiled from the Best Authorities, Revised and Verified by Personal Inspection, and Arranged on an Entirely New Plan (Paris: A. and W. Galignani, 1852), 594.
*

June 2: Now there's more on Proust's coffee.

Related reading
Paul Corcollet (1910–1993) (The Independent)
SOPROVAL (company history)
Proust's letters to Céleste Albaret at auction (with coffee stains)
All Proust posts (via Delicious)

comments: 3

JuliaR said...

Have you been to Paris?

Michael Leddy said...

Only in my head. I do want to visit Paris at some point.

JuliaR said...

Oh you HAVE to go! We went last May (for great pix see my husband's Flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bikeriders/collections/72157605286932384/ ) and I know you would just love it. It is a very walkable city too so you could just stroll around and see all the literary sites your heart desires. Don't over-think it - just go!