Film: Design & Architecture

Sugar, Almond Paste, Fruit and Flowers


Can blown sugar be a lost art? There are certain historical films that no matter how many times I view them, I will always notice something about the past that I hadn’t been aware of before. This happened to me while viewing Vatel. In two scenes, Gérard Depardieu, as François Vatel, creates two sugar arrangements as gifts for Uma Thurman, who plays the love interest of several men (Louis XIV being one of them). These works of art were so mesmerizing that I had to find out more about this process. Maybe I don’t read enough lifestyle magazines to know if this art form is still in existence today. All I had to go on in my search was Tim Roth’s line describing the process as “spun” sugar. But the images that Google returned were the crazy strings of caramelized sugar that’s often seen on fancy deserts at fancy restaurants. After multiple google searches and relying on the resulting images, I found the right term, “blown sugar”. Unfortunately, there’s zero information on its history, but it’s definitely not a lost art and is still taught in culinary schools. To illustrate and share this technique with you, I have captured some stills from the film.