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Jan 9, 2008 03:58 PM

Gourmet vs. Gourmand

It seems that some people use the word interchangeably on here.

I always though that a gourmet was a person who appreciated fine food and a gourmand was a glutton. When I googled for the definition, the preferred def of gourmand was a lover of fine food.

Is the glutton component of gourmand "old school"?


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  1. >>>I always though that a gourmet was a person who appreciated fine food and a gourmand was a glutton. <<<

    That was always my understanding as well, but I have recently heard the two words used exchangeably. According to my dictionary, a "gourmet" is a connoisseur of fine food and drink, i.e. an epicure, while a "gourmand" is a person who delights in eating well and heartily; so, obviously, the words are related, but the second has the nuance of eating "heartily" as well as enjoying fine food.

    The etymology of the words clears things up a bit. "Gourmand" is from the Middle English word "gourmaunt,' which meant glutton, and "gourmaunt" itself was derived from the Old French word "gourmand/gourmant." That word came from the Old French gromet/gourmet, which was a wine merchant's servant.

    1. In the words of the late Justin Wilson, in his "Gourmet & Gourmand Cookbook": "A gourmet is a person what likes fine food. A gourmand isn't nothin' but a P-I-G hog. Me, I'm both."

      1. I think a gourmet actively cooks or prepares the good stuff. A gourmond just enjoys the good stuff. Never associated either with gluttony.

        1. I've noticed the misuse of gourmand here and elsewhere in the food world. At least I was convinced based on a couple years of high school French that it was wrong to use them interchangeably.

          Then I confirmed it.

          I was in Europe at a wedding about a year and a half ago and asked the question of some fellow wedding guests, a couple from Lyon, and they confirmed to me that, at least in French, gourmet is a lover of fine food and gourmand is a lover of lots of food.

          1. A gourmand is considered a glutton, yes.

            French culinary proponents are advocating that the French Catholic Church update the infamous "Seven Deadly Sins" list to refer to "gloutonnerie" rather than "gourmandise".

            My Blog:

            1 Reply
            1. re: sirregular

              IIRC, this was determined to be a mistranslation. Could be wrong, but that's what I recall reading when the issue has come up before.

              Usage-wise, the definition of gourmand (a noun, a person)
              is someone who enjoys gourmet (an adjective) food. This has been my understanding for many years reading food writing and food history. Though there was some connotation I learned of several years ago of gourmand being someone who consumed food in excess, that was certainly, in my history of reading about food, a secondary definition and not the main one.