Roman cooking


The Roman Museum's kitchen

What did we eat 2'000 years ago in the city of Nyon? What kind of smells could we encounter in the streets and households? Let’s go back in time and learn about the history of ancient gastronomy and, through a few recipes, rediscover the flavours of old.

In the first century AD, the Celtic tribes living in the region, the Helvetii, were integrated to the Roman Empire. A city was thereafter created, on the shores of Lake Geneva: a colony built in the image of Rome, called Colonia Iulia Equestris. It was filled with typical roman buildings : temple, amphitheatre, thermae, etc. The roman lifestyle was adopted and Latin became the official language. Local traditions blend with the new roman customs ; this mix of civilizations forms the gallo-roman society and gives its name to the time period. 

The Roman Museum preserves the traces from this past in order to tell its story. Buildings, inscribed stones, tools, personal belongings, amphorae and tableware are some of the items that let us know how our predecessors lived. 

In this article you will learn about gallo-roman cooking. With a few traditional Gallic recipes and roman meals you’ll be able to compose a typical menu served in the households of the Colonia Iulia Equestris. First thing first, let’s get down to work.

To read the whole article and try the recipes out, dowload the below document!

Sylvie Gobbo
Tour guide and auxiliary at the Roman Museum of Nyon, archaeology graduate

Something to read (in French):

  • Apicius, De re coquinaria, L’Art culinaire, texte établi et traduit par J. André, Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 2019 (1974).

  • Flouest, J-P. Romac, La Cuisine gauloise continue, Saint-Pourçain-sur Sioule, Bleu Autour, 2006.

  • Leprêtre, La Cuisine romaine antique35 recettes pour aujourd’hui, Louviers, Ysec, 2009.

  • Leprêtre, La Cuisine gauloise, 35 recettes pour aujourd’hui, Louviers, Ysec, 2016.

  • Le blog de Gellius : http://actu-histoireantique.over-blog.com/page-4062205.html (site consulté le 19.04.20)

  • Un site sur la civilisation romaine, réalisé par une enseignante en Lettres classiques : https://sites.google.com/site/civilisationromaine/la-vie-quotidienne/la-cuisine-romaine (site consulté le 19.04.20)

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