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Alexander III

Tsar (Emperor) of Russia

Menu dated 8th December 1886

(26th November in the Julian Calendar)

Dinner at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, hosted by Their Imperial Majesties Tsar Alexander III and Tsarina Marie-Fyodorovna of Russia to mark the founding of the Imperial Order of Saint George

 

This Imperial banquet hosted by Tsar Alexander III celebrates the foundation of the creation of the Order of Saint George (Imperial Russia’s equivalent of the Victoria Cross) which was established by Catherine the Great on 26th November 1769 (Julian calendar).



The Tsar was head of the Order; and the guests invited to this annual dinner were, themselves, past recipients.



Written in Russian, the menu outlines an eleven course banquet starting with turtle soup, followed by sterlet (small sturgeons) steamed in champagne; and an array of game meats including red partridges and grouse.



Seven years later, this annual dinner would be the scene of yet another attempt to assassinate Tsar Alexander III; this time by food poisoning. The Tsar survived, but fifteen of his imperial guests were not so lucky.

The menu is magnificently illustrated at the top with St. George slaying the dragon while the column on the left carries the personal imperial monogram of Tsar Alexander III (AIII) sitting atop a Medal of the Order of Saint George hanging from the black-and-orange Ribbon of Saint George which, itself, sits atop the imperial arms of Russia: the double headed eagle. The menu is hand-coloured and highlighted in gold-leaf.

From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith

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Turtle Soup

Poussin (Young chicken) soup

Pâtés

Steamed Sterlet

Ham

Cold meats

Sorbet

Capon (castrated roosters)

Red partridge

Grouse

Salad

Asparagus

Hot Desserts

Ice-creams