I remember from my days in culinary school being told that the word mousse means foam in French, so it would be logical to think it started life in the pastry kitchens there - but it didn't!

Chocolate mousse, as well as being delicious, also has a fascinating history. It was first discribed as "mayonnaise de chocolat" - and, more interesting, was invented by the French post-Impressionist painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, in the late 19th century.

Toulouse-Lautrec also was an experiement cook who loved to create signature dishes.This one was a singular success. 

It’s thought the first documented recipe for chocolate mousse was by Menon, in 1750, appearing in the book La Science du Maître d’Hôtel Confiseur for pastry chefs but chocolate mousse didn’t start becoming popular in France until the late 1800s.

before then it was used in savoury dishes like, chicken livers, fish, shellfish and vegetables, and later the light desserts we all love, but what route did it take?

We know that the conquistadors brought back chocolate to Spain from Mexico in 1529 - but they kept the secret to themselves.

It took a royal wedding between France and Spain in 1615 when Princess Anne of Austria was betrothed to Louis Xlll before Spain shared the discovery, and as part of the wedding celebrations the king's chefs developed a method to create a rich light foam or mousse flavoured with chocolate.

Chocolate mousse has now become a true classic, traditional but still versatile, and can be served in many different ways.

Whether it's piped into delicate pastry shells or hollowed fruits or served in elegant glassware, it's a favorite dessert for countless diners, ranging from those who enjoy simple desserts to unashamed "chocoholics."

Here is a recipe for a simple whiskey and orange mousse

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