History of the Hediard Boutique and restaurant in Paris
It all started when Ferdinand Hediard first saw unusual and exotic fruits like bananas and lychees at the port in Le Havre and had a vision of being able to supply these to people that were likely to have ever seen them before.
And so, he headed for Paris and set up a costermongers barrow under the statue of King Louis XIV at the Place des Victoires, which soon became a popular place for people to come from all over the city.
And with his eye for obtaining the best produce along with his flair he soon had many loyal customers, which meant that Ferdinand Hediard was able to take a lease on a shop on a street called the Notre Dame de Lorette in 1854, where famous people like Eugene Delacroix became an enthusiast and regular customer.
Over time items like yams, chillies, curry spices and many more unusual items of produce were to be found being served in the top restaurants in Paris and his reputation was assured and by the time of the 1867 Universelle Exposition in Paris under the reign of Napoleon III, Ferdinand Hediard was acknowledged as a key contributor to the event.
By 1870 he opened the boutique on the Place de la Madeleine, which is still the flagship store of Hediard to this day, and he decided on this location due to its proximity to the Grands Boulevards and the new opera house in Paris called the Palais Garnier.
With the different aromas from teas, coffees, spices and the exotic fresh fruits, artists, aristrocrats and royalty started to flock to the Hediard store to obtain the high quality produce and now with a wife and child he started to think even bigger.
In 1889 the Eiffel Tower was finished for the World Fair and the Moulin Rouge also opened its doors and both of these tourist attractions in Paris had restaurants for the rich and famous, so what better opportunity than for Ferdinand Hediard to supply them with his exotic produce.
The following few years were lucrative, and when he finally passed away in 1898, the family business passed to his daughter Marie and her husband Max and Max also had just as much flair as his father-in-law and discovered fruit pastes from Brazil, which was a way of transporting exotic produce.
Max Kusel and his team started to experiment with different recipes and soon Hediard was producing their own fruit concoctions that were cooked in the premises adjacent to the shop, always using the fresh ingredients. But he then came up with an ingenious way of preserving fruit that had not been sold and putting it in jars and producing jams.
So the next stage of Hediard had been created and it was becoming just as well known for its innovative ideas as it was for its fresh produce and they were creating more and more different items and Max Kusel also invented the Creole Punch with its iconic label that still survives today.
Max Kusel was talented, innovative and had a lot of flair, but not only was he a good business person and good with recipes, he was also good at drawing and in 1910 it was his drawing of a hut, boat, etc that was to appear on the Hediard Catalogue and became a symbol of the Hediard heritage.
When Max died, his son Jean Kusel took over the family business in 1935 and expanded it further with candied fruits, jams etc. But it was his sister Germaine who took the Hediard name to even greater heights by introducing the Hediard basket, which became the in thing as a gift for the lady of the house, and this has grown today into the hamper as we know it.
By the 1960s Hediard expanded opening up more branches in Paris and other cities throughout France, and by the 1970s the Hediard brand started to expand internationally with is first major success in Japan followed by Quatar.
However, it was not until 1996 that a restaurant was eventually opened at their flagship store on the Place de la Madeleine in Paris called La Table d’Hediard, and then at the start of 2000s new stores were opened up in Dubai, Spain, Madagascar, Singapore, etc followed by Russia and Morocco in 2005 and Monaco in 2010.
So, the history of Hediard is still continuing to provide the long standing traditions and expertise in the field of spices, teas, fruit jellies, prestigious wines and much more that find their place amongst the top restaurants and the gourmet will love.