Before his name became synonymous with regicide, King Carlos I of Portugal had a reputation as a gourmand. At this dinner in 1903 His Most Faithfull Majesty serves the visiting King of Spain a 10-course farewell dinner that includes a complex dish of beef tournedos garnished with glazed lamb sweetbreads, cockscombs and truffles that were then smothered in a Champagne, ham and mushroom sauce.
Imperial Banquet for the Wedding of the Kaiser's Daughter
This 1913 banquet was the last social event King George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II attended together before each led their country against the other in World War I. They dined on turtle soup, spit-roasted saddles of venison and turbot dressed in oysters and truffles.
Cold Soup for the Tsar of Russia in the Crimea
In 1898 when Tsar Nicholas II holidayed at his Livadia Palace in the Crimea, he made sure he took along his celebrated French Chef, Pierre Cubat. This imperial luncheon menu shows that alongside the finest French dishes the Tsar also chose to partake of the traditional chilled Russian soup, Botvinya (Ботвинья), made from kvass and beetroot leaves; and served with poached sturgeon and crayfish tails.
... a history of royal dining.
Banquets of Russia's Princely Yusupov Family
Before their name became synonymous with the murder of Rasputin, the Princely House of Yusupov was associated with some of the most decadent banquets of imperial Russia. The beautiful Princess Zinaida serves guests a soup garnished with the poached marrow from the spine of a sturgeon before platters of spit-roasted ortolans arrive smothered in creamed watercress.
Marinated Elk with Truffles and Goose Liver served by Romanov' Grand Duchess
Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna hosts a winters' day lunch in 1884 of marinated elk dressed in a ragout of truffles and goose-livers following a timbale of sturgeon, caviar and crayfish. The Grand Duchess was Tsar Alexander III's sister-in-law and made her home, Vladimir Palace along the embankment in St. Petersburg, an epicentre of Romanov imperial social life.
1884 Birthday Banquet for 16 year-old Tsesarevich
As members of the Romanov imperial family gathered at the Winter Palace to celebrate the 16th birthday of the Tsesarevich, who had just officially become heir to the Russian throne, the imperial chef was finalising the touches on the whole stuffed salmon-trouts that were to be baked in red wine before being garnished with sautéed roe, truffles and poached crayfish. Following that came the small pastries filled with lark’s breasts before the grand platters of roast woodcocks, great snipe and prized ducklings from Rouen were carried to the table.
Riofrio Chorizo concludes the dinner for King Alfonso XIII of Spain
At the beginning of the 20th century, King Alfonso XIII serves his royal guests homeland treats such as Chorizo de Riofrio and roast partridges marinated in the finest Spanish sherry alongside classical French dishes. A revolving door of head royal chefs led to an eclectic mix of dishes at the King's table.
In the late 1800's Queen Victoria proves it is not ‘low brow’ to serve Christmas ‘leftovers’ for up to a week after the royal banquet. Her Majesty’s yuletide offerings include a whole stuffed boars head that arrived as a gift from the German Emperor; and a giant woodcock pie from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Bismarck's last hurrah to throw a banquet to entice the Emperor's favour
This 1890 banquet hosted by Otto von Bismarck served as a swansong for his 19-year grip on the German' Imperial Chancellery. Media was aflutter as Kaiser Wilhelm II arrived as the guest of honour at Prince Bismarck’s Berlin' residence for this dinner of roast roebuck, turbot in tarragon sauce and platters of oysters especially shipped in from Whitstable in the south of England.
Pastries piped full of lobster & truffle mousse served at Habsburg Banquet
In 1891 the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Kaiser Franz Joseph, entertains the Royal Family of Saxony at Vienna's Hofburg Palace. The gala dinner starts with dishes of lobster and truffle mousse and foie-gras stuffed larks before a main course of roast pheasants with artichokes followed by a dessert of bite-sized strawberry ice-creams, shaped as the actual fruit, filled with a centre of white-coffee ice-cream.
Dazzling Banquets of the Grand Duchess
who later became a Saint
A quarter of a century before revolution curtailed the splendor of Imperial Russia, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorvna dazzled her guests with balls and banquets before she embraced a pious life as a vegetarian nun who would later be canonised. Along with her husband Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the imperial couple served breakfasts of jellied grouse, traditionally Russian Kournik pie and even glacéed chestnuts with strawberry ice-cream before midday.
The Khedive of Egypt hosts a Palace Buffet of Snipe, Pheasants & Woodcocks - 1896
The 21 year-old Khedive Abbas II of Egypt hosts a Palace Ball and Buffet in 1896 that betrays his love of shooting and eating game birds. Eighteen elaborate dishes are laid out at Cairo's Abdine Palace that include grouse, quails, snipe, woodcocks, pheasants and young turkeys.
Royal Banquet for the King of Portugal
Calf's Head delicacy served at the 1857 Banquet for the future Emperor of Mexico
Tête de Veau en Tortue, a Middle Ages' delicacy of calf's head poached in wine, was served to guests at this 1857 dinner during a tour of Venice by the future Emperor Maximilian of Mexcio and his wife, Archduchess Charlotte.
Empress Sadako of Japan Serves Plum Pudding & Roast Snipe in 1925
At the Meiji Palace in 1925, the Empress of Japan serves roast snipes in a cognac and foie-gras sauce courtesy of the Imperial Chef, Akiyama Tokuzō (秋山徳蔵), who trained under the guidance of Auguste Escoffier.
King George V hosts Balmoral Ball & Midnight Supper in 1912
Royal “finger food” including grouse pies, lobster medallions, champagne jellies and rosettes of partridge breast were served alongside a rather common sounding ‘assortment of sandwiches’, at this midnight supper at Balmoral Castle in 1912.
Birthday Banquet for King Ludwig II of Bavaria
In 1882 "Mad King Ludwig" offers his guests a refreshing woodruff sorbet between courses of venison sausages; stuffed partridges wrapped in bacon and drizzled in a truffle sauce; poached goose livers; and fried capon served with a traditional german potato salad made with gherkins.
Quails with truffles and walnut & orange ice-cream served at 1907 banquet hosted by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.
A banquet of turtle consommé with sautéed sweetbreads followed by saddles of wild boar roasted with juniper berries, and quails with truffles, was offered at this palace banquet in 1907 by the young Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The Queen’s guests were the delegates attending the second International Peace Conference instigated by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
His Majesty's 'Yacht Racing Hamper'
A giant royal hamper consisting of pigeon-pies, pressed tongue, and chicken breasts poached in white wine and sautéed with truffles was prepared by royal chefs as a sailing hamper for King George V in 1935. This would be the last time the King would race his personal yacht, Britannia, at the annual Cowes regatta.
Franz Joseph & 'Sissi' host Wedding Banquet at Hofburg Palace
In 1881 the Emperor of Austria-Hungary and his famous wife Empress "Sissi" had no idea this wedding banquet for their son was the start of one of the most tragic history-altering marriages in Europe. Imperial chefs at Vienna's Hofburg Palace prepared stuffed woodcocks garnished with truffles and cocks' combs; pastries filled with a purée of lark’s breasts; and an elborate pudding of pig’s kidney with prunes steeped in red wine and then flamed in rum, for the
wedding of the man who was supposed
to one day become Emperor.
Turtle Soup, Roast Larks & Stuffed Wild Boar's Head Served by Duke
In 1870 the Duke of Cambridge served spit-roasted larks and haunches of roast venison alongside a whole stuffed wild boar’s head set in a mountain of aspic jelly to guests at his Piccadilly mansion. The 16 course banquet started with turtle soup and finished with a fritters stuffed with cherries in a kirsch syrup. Today the Duke's military contribution is forever recognised with his bronze statue outside Whitehall, but this menu reveals his culinary contribution was befitting of the Duke's heritage as the grandson of King George III.
Tsar of Russia Serves Saddles of Venison & Rare Siberian Trout
Having survived an assassination attempt just 24 hours earlier, the Tsar of Russia had no intention of letting such trifling disturbances get in the way of this 1911 grand banquet held at the Mariyinsky Palace in Kiev. Even the infamous meddling monk Rasputin was amongst the guests that devoured saddles of venison dressed in chestnut cream with redcurrant jelly; whole trout carted in from the pristine mountainous lakes on the Russian-Mongolian boarder; and roast grouse served alongside truffle salads and stuffed artichokes.