You may have heard this claim from a trivia friend while enjoying a glass of Moët & Chandon or a lovely-made Daiquiri: “Champagne coupe glasses were modelled on the breasts of the French Queen Marie Antoinette”.
Even world-class bartenders have often “served” this piece of information to their guests. But is this the case though? Was Marie Antoinette’s breasts the reason why coupe glasses have that particular shape and size?
Let’s look at the facts. (the article continues after the ad)
To find out if this claim has some credibility, we have to first identify the origin of the coupe glassware. Champagne or coupe glasses were invented in the 17th century when aristocrats started drinking a sparkling spirit that was invented by mistake and up until the mid-1600s was only drank by prostitutes; champagne. The design of the glass pleased aristocrats aesthetically and it was smaller than the glassware used for its ale and cider counterparts partly because it was more expensive and the liquid had a higher percentage of alcohol and therefore it was used in smaller servings.
So now that we know when the coupe glass was invented, let’s look at the second part of the equation; Marie Antoinette. The infamous French queen was born on November 2, 1755 in Vienna, Austria. That means that she was born at least half a century after the invention of the coupe glass therefore, her breasts had nothing to do with the shape of the glass. But how did this myth begin to spread?
To be honest, no one knows the exact answer to that question even though some speculations can be made. Drinking vessels shaped like a woman’s breasts were used in ancient Greece and they were called “mastos cups” – mastos (μαστός) being the Greek word for breast. Here’s how they looked:
Again, even though we can’t be sure if this was the reason that sparked the myth, the fact that drinking vessels and breasts were connected since ancient times, could have had a share in the coupe glass’ myth.
However, this urban legend definitely played a role of modern iterations. In 2008, Dom Pérignon partnered with Karl Lagerfeld to create a drinking bowl that was modelled after the breasts of Claudia Schiffer:
But this is not the only case: To celebrate her 25 years in the industry, top-model Kate Moss “lent” her left breast to London’s 34 Restaurant that created a coupe based on its shape and size:
Myth or not, one thing’s for sure: champagne coupe’s elegance is definitely a reason to spark interesting conversation at any party. But at least now you know, so the next time someone points out the “coupe glass-Marie Antoinette” connection, you can correct them, like the useless info junkie you are.
BONUS FACT: The claim that the champagne glass was invented by the blind Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon is also a myth. According to Belinda Chang, ex-champagne educator at Moët Hennessy USA and James Beard Award-winning sommelier, this myth was developed in the 1950s by Madison Avenue ad men.
If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Myth Or Fact: Carrots Are Orange For Political Reasons
Photo: Myriams-Fotos / Pixabay, Creative Commons
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Myth Busts: The Enduring Legacy of Breast-Shaped Glassware | From Cup to Coupe: A History of Our Favorite Champagne Glass
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