To understand the theme of this dinner one has first to understand
the character Babette.
A noted Parisian Chef, she has to flee for her life and is sent
to the home of the most frugal sisters in a cold bleak coastal
village in Jutland. The main ingredients of the daily fare are
stale alebread soup and dried salt fish. Babette quietly transforms
this evil gloope into tasty,lovingly prepared meals that bring
smiles to the hard and wind creased faces of the villager's.
Then Babette wins the French Lottery and decides to give the village
a special celebration dinner in honour of the clergyman father
of the two sisters. The community are petrified of indulging in
any French style decadence and decide to eat the meal in silence
with no mention of the food or wine at all.
The ingredients for this amazing meal arrive by boat, the villagers
have never even imagined fare like this. A cage of live quail.
An enormous live sea turtle, umpteen cases of wines, champagne
and liquor are trundled up to the sisters house. The knowledge,
planning and cost of this meal is beyond belief. A great barrow
load of animal bones and a calf's head arrive to be rendered down
to fine stocks and sauces. To watch this woman knowingly and lovingly
prepare dishes she hasn't been able to cook for some 14 years
is wonderful, what pleasure it must have given her , knowing how
astounded and delighted her reluctant diners were going to be.
As each sumptuous course goes to the table the atmosphere softens,
the faces glow and Babette seduces the palates of the frosty bickering
villagers until they become utterly adorable. All the while they
speak nothing of the food, they just become more amiable to each
other. The only one who speaks is the General Loewenhielm who
recognises Babette as the famous Chef from the Cafe Anglais purely
by her Caille en Sarcophage, what an accolade after all those
When it is revealed that Babette has spent every last penny of
her fortune on the meal one is quizzed to decide wheather she
did this to re-live her past glory once again or is this an example
of extreme sacrifice for the delight of one's fellow man, giving
without counting the cost, labouring without expectation of reward.
it is an example of the highest form of love. Totally platonic,
completely satisfying and absolutely delightful.
are many analogies in this film. Watch it first before you decide
on this dinner. It is available on DVD at
Potage a la Tortue
Blini Demidoff au Caviar
Buckwheat cakes with caviar
Veuve Clicquot Champagne
Caille en Sarcophage
avec Sauce Perigourdine
Quail in Puff Pastry Shell with Foie Gras and Truffle Sauce
Clos de Vougeot
Baba au Rhum avec les Figues
Rum Infused Yeast Cake with Dried Figs
The price of this dinner for 12 people including wines and
chef's fee is
It cannot work with econonomy wines so don't even ask!