Mayonnaise sauce and Menorca Island

The origin of the mayonnaise sauce or mahonnaise is uncertain, one of the most accepted theories is related to the city of Maó (Mahón in Spanish). Where it is believed that the Duke of Richelieu, Louis François Armand du Plessis, took it to the court of Versailles, popularized and spread it throughout Europe.

Even inquiring into the Minorcan origin of the mayonnaise sauce, we found three different versions, always related to the stay of the Duke of Richelieu in Menorca. The most widespread explains that mayonnaise was served, in the banquet to celebrate the French victory over the British to control the Port of Maó, in 1756. It is said, that it was an invention of the French chef in charge of the banquet, or that he had learned it from the local population, as a variant of the alioli.

Attributed to the oral tradition of Menorca, is counted as the Duke of Richellieu was walking through the streets of Maó, considering plans for the battle, without thinking of taking any food. Already too late, pushed by hunger, he entered into an inn to eat. Where there was only one dish of meat, looking ungrateful, it was served with a simple sauce made with egg and olive oil. So much it liked him, that he asked for the recipe to the innkeeper, which when he returned to France unveiled as sauce from Mahón.

The third story talks about a Minorcan lover of the Duke, who made him discover the sauce. Maybe the three stories are true, or perhaps none of them is. In any case, they reflect the idea of how the French during their domination of the Island, got to know the mayonnaise sauce in Menorca, from where it was taken to France.

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