E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Brioche (2 syl.).
A sort of bun or cake common in France, and now pretty generally sold in England. When Marie Antoinette was talking about the bread riots of Paris during the 5th and 6th October, 1789, the Duchesse de Polignac naïvely exclaimed, How is it that these silly people are so clamorous for bread, when they can buy such nice brioches for a few sous? This was in spirit not unlike the remark of our own Princess Charlotte, who avowed that she would for her part rather eat beef than starve, and wondered that the people should be so obstinate as to insist upon having bread when it was so scarce.