Last night after an enjoyable but hectic weekend at the end of an extremely busy and tiring (but successful week) we went out for dinner at a local restaurant we hadn’t been to before but had been highly recommended, called Panache. It’s what is generically called an ‘Indian’ restaurant but in actual fact it is Bangladeshi; we were welcomed in by friendly staff, shown to our table and then the difficulty began – what to choose from the varied and delicious sounding menu! So many tempting things on offer! Because we were in on a Sunday night, we were able to take advantage of a special offer menu for a set price – although it’s less extensive than the everyday menu, there was a great choice of wonderful meals (we’ve been told they are wonderful by people who visit often!

I love very hot, very spicy food – but I don’t like hot for the sake of hot – it has to add to the whole dish! In the end after much contemplation, I chose something I’d not had or heard of before, lamb hara, described as ‘cooked in a medium hot sauce with whole spices and a touch of tamarind, garnished with coriander’. It was really good – maybe not as spicy hot as I usually have, but the balance of flavours was perfect. If I had one little criticism, for my taste it was a little sweet – but that is just me! We all enjoyed our meal and the staff were wonderful, the setting lovely, a perfect evening!

http://www.panacheweston.co.uk/

I got to thinking about the word ‘panache’… synonyms of which include –

flamboyant confidence, flamboyance, confidence, self-assurance, style, stylishness, flair, elan, dash, flourish, verve, zest, spirit, brio, éclat, vivacity, vigour, gusto, animation, liveliness, vitality, enthusiasm, energy

…and began to wonder where it came from… French maybe, maybe originally from latin… I looked it up, visited my favourite on-line etymological site

http://www.etymonline.com

and found this:

from the 1550s, “a tuft or plume of feathers,” from Middle French pennache “tuft of feathers,” from Italian pennaccio, from Late Latin pinnaculum “small wing, gable, peak”. Figurative sense of “display, swagger” first recorded 1898, in a translation of “Cyrano de Bergerac”, from French.

The play ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’, was written in verse in 1897 by Edmond Rostand, based on the real life Cyrano; it’s been translated and performed many, many times, and it was what brought ‘panache’ into common use in English. The real  Cyrano de Bergerac  born March 1619 and dying young in July 1655, was Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, a French novelist, playwright, man of letters and a duelist.

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