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Quiz about Every Dish Tells a Story
Quiz about Every Dish Tells a Story

Every Dish Tells a Story Trivia Quiz

Have you ever wondered about the origins of some European dishes named for more or less famous people? Hopefully this quiz will satisfy your curiosity - once you have located each dish on the map.

A label quiz by LadyNym. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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3 mins
Label Quiz
Quiz #
Mar 22 24
# Qns
Avg Score
8 / 10
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: mberry923 (8/10), Guest 86 (8/10), malidog (6/10).
Fettuccine Alfredo Sachertorte Veal Oscar Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá Peach Melba Bismarck herring Napoleon Tarta de Santiago Joffre cake Beef Stroganoff
* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the answer list.
1. A famously secret recipe  
2. Imperially delicious  
3. A big hit... outside its country of origin  
4. Not created in Australia  
5. A nice treat at the end of a pilgrimage  
6. An award-winning dish fit for a king  
7. Some port wine might go nicely with this dish  
8. Does this dish contain iron?  
9. A retro classic  
10. Dracula's favourite dessert?  

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Sachertorte

One of the world's most famous cakes, Sachertorte was created in Vienna by Austrian confectioner Franz Sacher. According to his son Eduard, Sacher created the iconic chocolate cake in 1832 when working as an apprentice to the chef of Prince Clemens von Metternich, the Austrian statesman and diplomat known as the architect of the Congress of Vienna. Franz, who was 16 at the time, had to come up with a new dessert when the chef fell suddenly ill before an official dinner. Though believed by many to be apocryphal, the story is reported on the website of Vienna's iconic Hotel Sacher, founded by Eduard Sacher in 1876. On the site of the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, however, it is stated that cakes similar to Sachertorte already existed in the 18th century.

Sachertorte consists of two layers of dense chocolate cake sandwiched with apricot jam, and covered in dark chocolate icing; it is traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream. The original cake is only sold at the Hotel Sacher (which also has a location in Salzburg) and a few other licensed outlets, while its recipe is a closely guarded secret. However, recipes for excellent chocolate cakes that resemble this celebrated confection abound both in print and in digital form.
2. Napoleon

The classic French dessert known as Napoleon in Canada and the US, and vanilla (or custard) slice in the UK and Australia is called "mille-feuille" (one thousand leaves) in its country of origin. It is traditionally made of three layers of puff pastry (hence the name) alternating with two layers of pastry cream; the top layer can be simply dusted with confectioners' sugar, or glazed with fondant icing, often in a marbled pattern. Other versions of this pastry are found in other countries, particularly in Europe, where it is very popular. The Dutch version, called "tompouce", has two layers of pastry and a thicker layer of pastry cream, while in Italy one or more layers of sponge cake are often added.

Interestingly, the earliest recipe for mille-feuille - though filled with jam rather than pastry cream - appeared in 1733 in an English-language cookbook (though written by a French chef); the first mention in a French cookbook appeared a few years later. The pastry seems to have been very popular during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte: famed chef and pâtissier Antoine Câreme, who was active during that historical period, is often credited with refining those early recipes. The association with Napoleon, however, is believed to have originated in Russia, inspired by the French emperor's defeat in 1812. A many-layered cake called Napoleon was created in 1912 to commemorate the first centenary of that decisive Russian victory. Another theory about the origin of the name posits that it might be a corruption of "Napolitain" (from Naples), and thus bear no relation at all to Napoleon.
3. Fettuccine Alfredo

Alfredo Di Lelio was a restaurateur based in Rome, who in 1908 created a dish by the name of "fettuccine al triplo burro" (fettuccine with triple butter) for his wife, who had just given birth to their first child, and needed to regain her strength. This dish was based on a very quick and easy way to serve pasta, called "burro e parmigiano" (butter and parmesan), which is a staple in most Italian homes. Di Lelio, however, added a generous dose of showmanship by preparing the dish tableside at his restaurant - which was a big hit with his patrons. In 1914, Di Lelio opened his own restaurant, Alfredo alla Scrofa, and in 1950 a second restaurant with his son Armando, Alfredo all'Augusteo - where the pasta was prepared using the gold fork and spoon donated by American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

The dish became very popular in America, where other ingredients (such as cream, garlic, or meat) are often added to the original three - egg fettuccine, butter, and grated Parmesan. Indeed, in the US Alfredo sauce seems to be synonymous with Italian food, and is an ubiquitous feature in Italian-American restaurants. Many, however, will be surprised to learn that fettuccine Alfredo are hardly to be found on restaurant menus in Italy, and that Alfredo sauce is not a commonly available staple in grocery stores.

Both Alfredo restaurants are still in business, though catering mainly to tourists. Alfredo alla Scrofa even has a "selfie spot" next to its entrance on the beautiful Via della Scrofa, in the centre of Rome.
4. Peach Melba

Legendary Australian soprano Nellie Melba - one of the most acclaimed opera singers of the turn of the 20th century - had no less than four different foods named after her, all created by equally famed French chef Auguste Escoffier, one of the icons of "haute cuisine". The best-known of these creations is the delectable dessert known as Peach Melba, invented by Escoffier in 1892 at the Savoy Hotel in London. A sumptuous dinner party was organized at the hotel to celebrate Melba's performance at Covent Garden in Richard Wagner's "Lohengrin", whose titular character is associated with a swan. Escoffier's original concoction of vanilla ice cream and peaches was presented to the singer in a silver dish perched on top of an ice sculpture of a swan, and named "pêche au cygne" (peach with a swan). A few years later, Escoffier - now working at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel - added sweetened raspberry purée ("Melba sauce") to his creation, and renamed it "pêche Melba".

Variations on the original recipe include using other fruits than peaches and melted redcurrant jelly instead of raspberry purée, and adding whipped cream. Melba toast, a thin, crispy rusk, was also created by Escoffier for the singer during an illness. A lesser-known, Melba-inspired culinary creation by Escoffier is Melba garniture, a dish of tomatoes stuffed with chicken, truffles and mushrooms served with velouté sauce.
5. Tarta de Santiago

Santiago is the Spanish name of St James the Great, one of the twelve Apostles. The historic city where the saint is buried, Santiago de Compostela (the capital of the Autonomous Community of Galicia in northern Spain), is named after the saint - as are a number of other cities in the Spanish-speaking world. The almond cake known as "tarta de Santiago" is named after the saint rather than the city, as it is decorated with the cross of the Order of Santiago, a religious and military order founded in the 12th century to protect the pilgrims traveling along the Way of St James ("Camino de Santiago" in Spanish), one of Europe's most famous pilgrimage routes.

A traditional Galician pastry, tarta de Santiago is also rooted in the Middle Ages, though its first mention in a written text dates from the late 16th century. It is a dense, round cake made with finely ground almonds, eggs and sugar, flavoured with lemon zest, cinnamon, brandy, or sweet wine. A cross-shaped stencil is placed on the cake's surface prior to dusting it with powdered sugar, thus obtaining the decoration - which was added much later, in 1924, at the Santiago pastry shop Casa Mora. In 2010, this cake was granted the prestigious Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the European Union.

Another dish named after St James the Great are Coquilles St. Jacques, scallops in cream sauce baked in the half shell. The Mediterranean scallop (Pecten jacobaeus) is the symbol of the saint, and was traditionally carried by pilgrims travelling on the Way of St James.
6. Veal Oscar

Created in honour of King Oscar II of Sweden, Veal Oscar is a classic dish of sautéed veal cutlets topped with hollandaise sauce and crab meat, and garnished with two white asparagus spears. The dish, based on ingredients the king was particularly fond of, was first served in 1897 at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, during the World Fair that had been organized in the Swedish capital. The restaurant's French chef, Paul Edmond Malaise, created the dish to honour the 25th anniversary of Oscar II's accession to the throne.

The original Veal Oscar was a visually elaborate composition, with a tomato-spiked béarnaise sauce (sauce Choron) piped around the veal cutlet in the shape of an "O", and a white slice of lobster tail with a slice of black truffle on top of the meat, imitating the black and white ermine trimming on the red royal mantle, and reproducing the monarch's monogram; the asparagus spears formed the Roman numeral II. Now the dish (in which veal is often replaced with steak, or even chicken) is usually topped with herb-flavoured béarnaise sauce and crabmeat. Hollandaise and béarnaise are both emulsified sauces, made with butter, eggs and lemon juice or white wine vinegar. Béarnaise sauce is flavoured by the addition of tarragon, shallot and black pepper.

Oscar II of Sweden also gave his name to a variety of Swedish gingerbread cookies ("pepparkakor") and a Norwegian brand of tinned sardines.
7. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

Bacalhau is the Portuguese name for cod - in particular the salted and dried cod that forms the cornerstone of Portuguese cuisine. Such is the importance of this foodstuff in Portugal that it is said there is a bacalhau recipe for every day of the year, or even that there are over 1,000 different ways to prepare it. One of the most popular of these dishes is a hearty casserole of bacalhau with potatoes, onions, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and olive oil known as "bacalhau à Gomes de Sá", named after its creator. José Luís Gomes de Sá Júnior (1851-1926) was a bacalhau seller on the riverfront of Porto, Portugal's second-largest city, located at the mouth of the river Douro. After inventing the dish, he sold the recipe to his friend João, the cook of the Lisbonense restaurant in the centre of Porto. In 1988, Gomes de Sá was honoured with a commemorative plaque set by his admirers outside the house where he was born.

Traditionally served on Good Friday both in Portugal and Brazil, bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is often enjoyed with vinho verde (a slightly fizzy, young white wine from northern Portugal) or red wine from the Douro region. On the other hand, Porto's most famous export, port wine, is a dessert wine, and would not be suitable to drink with fish.

Another popular bacalhau casserole from Porto - also named after a person, in this case the owner of Porto restaurant in the 1960s - is bacalhau à Zé do Pipo, in which the cod is topped by mashed potatoes and mayonnaise.
8. Bismarck herring

Nicknamed the "Iron Chancellor" for its forceful personality, Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck is remembered for his role in German unification in 1871. His name, however, is also associated with a number of foods - among which are pickled herrings, a staple of the cuisines of Northern European countries, particularly in the regions around the Baltic Sea. Though in most countries they are simply known as pickled herring, in Germany they are commonly marketed as Bismarck herring ("Bismarckhering" in German).

Bismarck herring is made with Baltic Sea herring, filleted and pickled fresh, then packed in small wooden barrels. According to a widespread story, Johann Weichmann, the owner of a fish cannery in the town of Stralsund (now in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), was an admirer of Otto von Bismarck, to whom he sent a barrel of the herring he prepared in his shop on the occasion of the Chancellor's birthday. When Germany became an Empire, Weichmann sent the Chancellor a second barrel, and was granted the privilege to name the herring after Bismarck. The original recipe for Bismarck herring was used until 1944, and then revived in 1997.

Other foods named after Otto von Bismarck are a log-shaped cake similar to the French "bûche de Noel", the jelly-filled doughnut also known as Berliner, and various dishes topped with a fried egg (such as asparagus or steak).
9. Beef Stroganoff

A popular dish in the US and other countries, beef Stroganoff is a dish of Russian origin, known in the vast transcontinental country as "byefstroganov". Though believed for a long time to have been created in France - or at least by French chefs - it was very probably based on an older Russian recipe. In fact, before the alleged creation of the dish by French chef Charles Brière in 1891, a recipe for "beef à la Stroganov, with mustard" appeared in an 1861 cookbook titled "A Gift to Young Housewives". Named after a member of the powerful House of Stroganov (according to some sources, Count Alexander Grigorievich Stroganov, a statesman who lived in the mid-19th century), the dish originally consisted of beef cubes sautéed in butter, then mixed with a sauce of broth, mustard and sour cream. The addition of onions, mushrooms and tomato sauce dates from a recipe published in 1912 - which also includes the traditional Russian side dish of crisp potato straws.

Beef Stroganoff became popular outside Russia after the 1917 October Revolution. As it is often the case, international versions of this dish often add ingredients that are not used in the original Russian version. In China and Japan it is generally served with rice, while the traditional accompaniment in the US are buttered egg noodles. Beef Stroganoff can be enjoyed in most restaurants serving Russian cuisine, both in Russia and abroad.
10. Joffre cake

Joffre cake may not be as internationally famous as other delectable European cakes or pastries, but it is definitely a dessert that chocolate fans everywhere will be happy to learn about. This luscious chocolate cake - a great favourite in Romania, its country of origin - was created shortly after WWI in honour of French Marshal Joseph Joffre, the Commander-in-Chief of the French Army on the Western Front until the end of 1916. Called "jofra" in Romanian, the cake was created at the famed Bucharest hotel and restaurant Casa Capşa, which had the long-standing tradition of creating "something sweet" to mark an important event. Such was the case of Marshal Joffre's visit in 1920, when the military commander traveled to Bucharest to award military medals to King Ferdinand I of Romania and the city of Bucharest for their resistance against the Germans.

Joffre cake consists of layers of buttermilk chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and covered in dark chocolate icing. Made with high-quality cocoa and chocolate, it has an intense chocolate taste. As the Marshal - in his late sixties at the time - suffered from diabetes, the cake was baked in small, individual portions, whose cylindrical shape suggested French military caps. However, in Romanian pastry shops it is also found in a more conventional round shape.
Source: Author LadyNym

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