Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Chocolat Suchard menu card


Yesterday I bought a 2nd hand book enititled "The Alpine Flora" written by Henri Correvon, illustrated by Phillipe Robert and published in 1911. The original book was written in French and this is an English translation. There are two names with dates in the book, Edith Nelson May 1935 and another which I can't quite make out but which looks like Judith Madeley, Campfer 1922. Henri Correvon was a Swiss botanist and there is a place in Switzerland called Champfer so perhaps there is a connection there. Of particular interest to me though, inside the book there is a Chocolat Suchard menu card with a hand written menu and a painting of a species of yellow foxglove labelled D. Ambigua. The label has been underlined and a question mark handwritten at the end. There is a note at the bottom of the card which says something like "In Correvon's Alpine Flora D. Ambigua & D. Lutea are pictured together and D. Lutea is much more like this of the two." This is signed and dated 24/6/1923. I can't read French but the menu appears to mention starters and prawns 🙂.



On the reverse of the card there is what looks like an advert for Chocolat Suchard with a mention of the French Grand Prix 1900. I'm guessing that this is not the complete card and that it's actually just the bit with the flower painting on.


If I then find the plate referred to in the book I can find the two plants side by side as the note on the card says and there is a hand written note at the bottom of the plate which says something like "See Suchards menu card, D. Ambigua which is more like this D. Lutea."

So I find this really interesting, to read what appears to be a long forgotten correspondence between two obviously English speaking people, at least one of whom appears to be in Switzerland.

If anybody reading this knows anything about these menu cards or can offer any ideas about where this card might be from I'd love to hear from you. If I Google Chocolat Suchard menu card I come up with lots of pictures that look to be from the same era but nothing quite like this and no written explanation (in English at least) of why a menu card advertising chocolate would be used as a menu card for a cafe(?) selling prawns amongst other snacks.



This is what I believe that the original card would have looked like, though note that at the bottom, this card says "Milka . SUCHARD . Velma", whereas the card which I have says "Chocolat . SUCHARD . Cacoa". I'm guessing that one is milk chocolate and the other is dark.


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