Swiss Reformation Hospitality
(How Geneva doused Savoyard hopes in 1602
...or, nothing comes between me and my Calvin)
Here's a great SoupTale from Auberge a la Mere Royaume on 9 Rue des Corps-Saints in historic Geneva, that ancient settlement of the Allobroges that was to play such an important role in the Reformation...and end up as a reknowned international financial center.
Genevans, struggling to limit the episcopal authority of Holy Roman Empire bishops in the 13th century, placed themselves under the protection of the Counts (later the Dukes) of Savoy (France) in 1285.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire, as it turned out. The Savoyards co-opted the bishops and nearly mastered the city by the beginning of the 16th century. Furious, the citizens allied themselves with the Swiss Cantons of Fribourg and Bern--expelled the bishops--and accepted the church reformation preached by Guillaume Farel. Ultimately, Calvin arrived, bringing the city international recognition as the heart of the Reformation.
In 1602, Charles Emmanual I of Savoy attempted to retake the city--but was summarily expelled...with the help of a local woman at the Royal Mother Inn (Auberge de la Mère Royaume). On the night of the invasion, December 11, 1602, she emptied a pot of bean soup on the head of a savoyard soldier passing under her window.
This act has been immortalized in two floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows at the Inn--and it is celebrated each year by little chocolate soup cauldrons filled with marzipan beans.