SIMON, André L.

(1877 - 1970)
“Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.”

Wine connoisseur, gourmet, bibliophile, historian and writer, Andre Simon has an unparalleled place in “the art of good living”.  This charismatic Frenchman arrived in London in 1902 as the English agent for the champagne house of Pommery and Greno. A year later he was commissioned to write for the Wine and Spirit Trade Review a series of articles on the history of the champagne trade in England.  He was thus “bitten by the bug of printers ink” and went on to write over 100 publications on food and drink.  His knowledge was encyclopedic and his literary style unmistakable, being  “charming, stately and faintly whimsical” [Johnson].  During the 1930s he helped found both the Saintsbury Club (a fine dining club) and The Wine and Food Society – both of which still exist today. Simon believed that "a man dies too young if he leaves any wine in his cellar," and in keeping with that philosophy, only two magnums of claret remained in his personal cellar when he died at the age of ninety-three.  On what would have been his 100th birthday, 28 February 1977, 400 guests at the Savoy Hotel in London drank to his memory in claret he had left for the occasion.

As well as writing books, he also collected them and his personal collection was one of the finest ever assembled by an individual.  His love of books was  described by Hugh Johnson  "His senses of sight and touch were as well developed as his famous sense of taste.  Books to him were objects of physical attraction.  I remember many occasions when he took book after book from his shelves for me to admire their print, their woodcuts or their bindings."  

Although he lived in England from the age of 25, he always remained a French citizen. He was both Officier de la Légion d'Honneur and holder of the Order of the British Empire.

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 André L. SIMON

Books by this author

The Star Chamber Dinner Accounts

SIMON, André L.


Bibliotheca Gastronomica

SIMON, André L.