Survey of Cameline Sauces


Cameline sauce – a sauce including cinnamon, other spices, bread, and an acidic ingredient – is common throughout the 14th and 15th century corpus. They were found in every French cookbook of the time, and could even be purchased from a saucemaker by those who did not care to make their own. However, while sauces from various sources share a name and some ingredients, their actual composition and cooking instructions – and the final sauce – can vary wildly both regionally and temporally.

Original Recipes

Due to the number of recipes compared here, I include only the English translations of these recipes – the original French is available elsewhere.

On veal and goat, cameline. Macerate bread in vinegar and wine, and ginger and cinnamon. – Le Recuil de Riom.

For the salmon and for the trout, the cameline: to give understanding to the sauce-maker who will make it, take his white bread according to the quantity of it which he is making and let him put it to roast on the grill, and let him have good claret wine of the best which he can have in which he should put his bread to soak and vinegar in good measure; and let him take his spices, that is cinnamon, ginger, grains of paradise, cloves, a little pepper, mace, nutmeg and a little sugar, and this is mixed with is bread and a little salt; and then dress it as you will. – Du Fait du Cuisine (Chiquart).

Note that at Tournais, to make cameline, they grind together ginger, cinnamon and saffron and half a nutmeg: soak in wine, then take out of the mortar; then have white bread crumbs, not toasted, moistened with cold water and grind in the mortar, soak in wine and strain, then boil it all, and lastly add red sugar: and this is winter cameline. And in summer they make it the sameway, but it is not boiled. – Le Menagier de Paris

Unboiled Sauce called Cameline. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, grains of paradise, darkly toasted bread, sieved, distempered with verjuice, wine and vinegar. – Le Vivendier

To make Cameline Sauce. Grind ginger, a great deal of cinnamon, cloves, grains of paradise, mace and, if you wish, long pepper; strain bread that has been moistened in vinegar, strain everything together and salt as necessary. – Le Viander de Taillevent.


Looking at the above recipes, the recipes all sound very similar – the basic procedure is to take cinnamon and other spices, grind with bread and mix with a flavorful, grape-based liquid. However, the differences become more obvious when charted:

 RecuilChiquartMenagierMenagier 2VivendierTaillevent
Long Peppernononononoyes
Grains of Paradisenoyesnonoyesyes
  RecuilChiquart Menag ier Menagier 2Vivendier Taillevent 
Breadunspecified“roasted”“white”“white”“darkly toasted”unspecified
Liquid 1vinegarwinewinewineverjuicevinegar
Liquid 2winevinegarwaterwaterwine –
Liquid 3  –  –  –  –vinegar  –

As shown, different cameline sauces can vary wildly. I have chosen to redact the first three recipes (Recuil, Chiquart, and Le Menagier), as they show the most variation between versions. These three redactions vary tremendously in their proportions, yet they all make cameline sauce.

This sauce would have been eaten with a variety of dishes, including roast or boiled vension, roast piglet, veal, kid, lamb or mutton, and a variety of fish. This pairing was based on both medieval food preferences and humoral theory.

One key to bread thickened sauces such as these is proper straining – using a fine wire mesh strainer and forcing the bread puree through the strainer removes any graininess that might appear in the sauce.

Recuil de Riom • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
• 5 tsp cinnamon (ground)
• 5 tsp ginger (ground)
• 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio)
Soak bread in vinegar. Add spices, force through fine strainer. Add wine and/or additional vinegar as needed to balance flavor and adjust consistency. Serve immediately – if allowed to stand, sauce will thicken significantly.
Chiquart• 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
• 5 tsp cinnamon (ground)
• 2 tsp ginger (ground)
• 15 whole cloves
• 2 tsp whole Grains of Paradise
• 1 tsp nutmeg (ground)
• 2 tsp black peppercorns
• 1 tsp mace blades
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 cup red wine (pinot noir)
Grind whole spices. Soak bread in vinegar. Add all spices, force through fine strainer. Add wine and/or additional vinegar as needed to balance flavor and adjust consistency. Serve immediately – if allowed to stand, sauce will thicken significantly.
Le Menagier de Paris• 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
• 4 tsp cinnamon (ground)
• 2 tsp ginger (ground)
• 1 tsp saffron
• 3 tsp sugar
• 1 1/2 cups red wine (pinot noir)
Grind saffron, mix spices and 1/2 cup wine in small saucepan and heat until spices are fragrant. Soak bread in remaining wine, force through strainer into saucepan. Mix, then heat gently until thickened. DO NOT boil, or allow to heat rapidly – sauce will attain the texture of glue. Remove from heat just before sauce reaches desired thickness, add sugar to taste.


Cook, Elizabeth. “Du Fait de Cuisine.” Du Fait de Cuisine  by Maistre Chiquart, 1998,
Hinson, Janet. “Le Menagier de Paris (c)Janet Hinson, Translator.” Le Menagier de Paris, Accessed 31 Mar. 2013.
Lambert, Carole, and Jean-Louis Flandrin. “Le Recueil de Riom” et “la Manière de henter soutillement”: un livre de cuisine et un réceptaire sur les greffes du XVe siècle. Céres, 1989.
Scully, Terence. “Tempering Medieval Food.” Food in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays, Ed. MW Adamson (New York, 1995), 1995, pp. 3–23.
Scully, Terence. The Vivendier: A Critical Edition with English Translation. Prospect Books, 1997.

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