Menu dated 13th December 1903
Dinner at the Belém Palace, Lisbon, hosted by Their Most Faithfull Majesties King Carlos I and Queen Amélie of Portugal in honour of a visit by His Most Catholic Majesty King Alfonso XIII of Spain.
This was a dinner full of fun, laughter and jovial toasts as the two Iberian monarchs cemented their friendship. Four days earlier the seventeen-year-old – yes, 17-year-old – King of Spain had arrived in Portugal as the esteemed guest of His Most Faithful Majesty King Carlos I. Together the two Kings had gone hunting, dined on a battlecruiser,enjoyed a 200 seat State Banquet and, earlier on this day, whiled away the afternoon watching the bullfights.
This dinner was held at Lisbon’s Belém Palace, where Alfonso XIII of Spain had been given royal lodgings, and was the final night before he and his mother, Queen Marie Christina, returned home. The King of Portugal put on a mighty farewell spread including woodcocks smothered in creamed watercress and fillets of beef topped with cockscombs, truffles and braised lamb' sweetbreads before being drowned in Champagne and ham sauce. For dessert came pineapple custards and almond praline ice-cream.
Unfortunately for King Carlos I however, his name will be forever associated with regicide instead of royal dining. Five years after this dinner the King along with his eldest son, and heir-to-the-throne, would be gunned down by Republicans as their carriage made its way across Lisbon’s large public square, the Terreiro do Paço.
King Carlos’s chef was the Alsatian-born Victor Hirtzler who had trained in the kitchens of Tsar Nicholas II under the tuition of the Emperor’s Chef-de-Cuisine, and fellow Alsatian, Eugene Krantz. It was in the Russian Court that Hirtzler also undertook the health-hazardous task of food-taster to Russia’s Imperial Majesty. Hirtzler had also perfected his royal culinary skills during a stint in Germany when serving in the kitchens of the Grand Duke of Baden.
In his post-royal service, Hirtzler would set sail across the Atlantic and later find fame as a celebrity chef in New York and San Francisco. There he would tease newspapers with snippets on the workings of the Tsar’s kitchens; let slip the odd recipe that had received the imperial nod of approval; or blab a little gossip, arguably exaggerated, about the Imperial Family’s daily life.
Of his royal service in Portugal he claimed King Carlos enjoyed his preparation of pheasant breasts dressed in a Champagne and Madeira sauce; and stuffed with minced woodcock flavoured with truffles. It was a dish, evidently, Don Carlos wasn’t keen to show-off to his Spanish royal guests.
This dinner was truly royal with two kings, an heir to the throne and three Queen's in attendance. Carlos's wife, Queen Amélie, along with his mother, Queen Maria Pia, joined Alfonso XIII and his mother Queen Marie Christina along the Prince Royal of Portugal, the 16 year-old Luís Filipe.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Potage crème de volaille à la Reine
Cream of chicken soup garnished with royale and shredded chicken
Feuillantines au parmesan
Puff-pastries flavoured with parmesan Cheese to accompany soup
Poisson à la mariniere
Fish filets garnished with mushrooms and mussels poached in white wine and dressed in a sauce made from butter, shallots, parsley and mussel stock
Filet de boeuf à la Godard
Filet of beef garnished with glazed lamb sweetbreads, cockscombs, truffles and then dressed in a Champagne sauce flavoured with minced ham and mushrooms
Galantine de poularde à la gelée
Chicken terrine flavoured with ham, pickled tongue and pistachios and dressed with finely chopped aspic jelly
Bécasses rôties, au cresson
Roast woodcocks dressed with a watercress purée
Petits pois à l'Anglaise
Baby peas tossed in butter and chopped parsley
Bavaroise à la ananas
Pineapple flavoured custards set with crystallised pineapple segments and served drizzled with a pineapple syrup.
Mille-feuille cakes made with layers of puff-pastry, rum flavoured custard and sautéed almonds
Glace aux amandes pralines
Almond ice-cream with an almond and chocolate praline stirred through.
Reciprocal Dinner: Three years later, in 1906, King Alfonso XIII hosts King Carlos I and the Prince Royal of Portugal to dinner in Madrid.
The Royal Host: King Carlos I of Portugal
The Royal Guest: King Alfonso XIII of Spain