French Chicory

Back in the days when coffee was a luxury item; hard to come by in its raw form, chicory substituted for its flavour and came far cheaper. We’re talking as far back as the sixteenth century. Whatever the case, it is especially known in places such as New Orleans, U.S.A., where it is almost synonymous with the region. Chicory is actually derived from the root of an endive plant, and as with everything else there is good chicory and bad chicory. It was said to start out as a flavourful additive to coffee in parts of Europe, only becoming an economical substitute when things got really tough a little later on. Supposedly it was Napoleon who introduced it to France. It was easier to grow and therefore cheaper than coffee, so it quickly caught on as a useful additive in order to stretch out coffee supplies. It is unknown for sure as to how it came to be found in the U.S.A. and of course there will always be the coffee purists, however to this day French chicory and coffee go hand in hand in New Orleans, where the flavour has remained a staple.