Potages Crème d’Asperges
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Filets de Poisson d’Akaki à là Duglêré
Fish from the Akaki River (in Central Ethiopia) poached in white wine and topped with minced fresh tomatoes
Pigeau à là Suedoise
Pigeons dressed in a horseradish cream
Steak de Porc Exelsion
Poulet de Bresse rotie
Roasted Bresse chickens
Fonde d’Artichands extra
Artichoke hearts dressed in a Hollandaise sauce made from lemon, egg yolks and butter
A set vanilla cream served with fruits, wine jelly and custard
Menu dated 3rd November 1935
Dinner at the Imperial Palace, Addis Ababa, hosted by Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen of Ethiopia.
The splendour of this grand banquet hosted by Emperor Haile Selassie disguises the great angst and nervousness amongst the imperial court. Exactly one month before this dinner the Italian army, at the direction of Benito Mussolini, had commenced its invasion of Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
As the Emperor’s guests lifted their spoons to partake in a bowl of cream of asparagus soup on this night, they knew that the country’s Holy City of Axum was already under Italian occupation. Six months later Addis Ababa and the Imperial Palace, which was the venue for this dinner, would be entirely under Italian control and Emperor Selassie would be in exile in Jerusalem where he retained a private home.
This menu is embossed with the dual monogram of the Emperor and Empress with the letter “S” for Selassie intertwined with the letter “M” for Empress Menen. The French menu is accompanied by a twin version written in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.
Amongst the imperial culinary offerings is a dish of Filets de Poisson d’Akaki à là Duglêré made from fish from the Great Akaki River in central Ethiopia. This menu entry, in itself, is an insight into environmental degradation. Today there are no fish whatsoever in the Great Akaki River which serves as a toxic drain for sewage, industrial waste and storm water from the capital, Addis Ababa.
Emperor Haile Selassie in 1934
Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia
Empress Menen of Ethiopia
The detail of the Imperial monogram that appears on the menu-card (click to enlarge)