Blanc Mange

I find myself preferring almond milk to anything else offered as a dairy substitute-- I like the flavor, texture, and fact that it's healthy and lean. It's true that it can't be used to make cheese and certainly not great as a creamer, but all the same, I enjoy it, especially in smoothies.

In the 14th century, almond milk was the rage-- with huge populations rampantly being wiped out from bacterial diseases associated with drinking cow's milk, this alternative was not only delicious, but versatile and plentiful. Aristocrats had their chefs prepare large banquets where what was called Blanc Mange or Bianco Mangiare, meaning "white food," was served to guests. These dishes consisted of meats, fruits, and a variety of ingredients soaked in almond milk. When I write soaked, I mean drenched--so much that each dish was like a white abyss of textures, also sometimes flavored with rose water. This was considered the crème de la crème of fine cuisine.

Blancmange (as one word) is also the name of a sweet desert introduced by the Arabs in the Middle Ages. Made from almond milk, irish moss, and sugar, I would compare it to the Panna Cotta one can find today.

Imagine an all white dinner party-- with white foods and accoutrements, this could be really pretty!

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