King of the Hellenes (Greece)
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Consommé made from carrot, parsnip, leek, onion, celery and garnished with garden peas
Sphiridès Au Vin Blanc
Pommes de Terre Naturelles
Clams poached in white wine and served in a lobster and champagne sauce with potatoes
Noix de Veau Garnies
D.York Pouding, Cardons et Céléris
Roast leg of veal with Yorkshire puddings, cardoons and celeriac
Terrines de Foies Gras Belle Vue
Terrine made from foie-gras (the livers of froec-fed geese) glazed in aspic-jelly named after the Chateau Belleville owned by the mistress of Louise XV of France
Punch a la Romaine
Sorbet made from champagne, lemon and meringue over which a glass of rum is poured prior to serving
Dindonneaux Truffés Perigord
Young turkeys roasted with slices of Perigord truffles stuffed between the skin and breast
Salade de Laitues
Petits Pois a l’Anglaise
Baby peas tossed in butter and parsley with pearl onions
Celées Muscovites Glacèes, Champagne
Fruit ice-creams, jellies and Champagne granita (coarse sorbet)
Menu dated 8th July 1892
Dinner at the Tatoï Palace, on the outskirts of Athens, hosted by Their Majesties King George I and Queen Olga of the Hellenes (Greece)
Of course King George of Greece (the Hellenes) was not very Greek at all. He was the son of the King of Denmark and, at the age of just seventeen, traveled to Athens in 1863 to take the Greek throne following agreement from Russia, France and Great Britain.
Surrounded by all the culinary treats on offer in his Mediterranean kingdom, it appears King George still missed the cooking from his homeland. Captain Walter Christmas from the Royal Danish Navy recalled a visit he made to the palace of King George in 1875:
“The meal invariably began with hors d’œuvres and fresh butter and cheese from Tatoï [Palace]. The King ate nothing but rye bread. He always regretted that it was impossible to get this homely kind of bread in Athens; the Greeks have nothing but white bread. But the baker on the Danish warship made splendid rye bread, and a loaf of it was sent every day to the Palace. In return the King sent cases of Greek wine for the officers and men and huge baskets of oranges from the Palace gardens—not a bad exchange”.
The Tatoi Palace, the venue for this dinner, was the royal family’s summer residence which, along with its 10,000 acres of farming land, overlooked the Acropolis on the outskirts of Athens. The palace and its estates were purchased by King George not long after he married Grand Duchess Olga of Russia.
This dinner even featured a bottle of the King’s very own Vin de Tatoï 1884 to accompany a menu of clams in lobster sauce, young turkeys stuffed with Perigord truffles, foie-gras terrine and a saddle of veal served with vegetables and, of all things, Yorkshire pudding.
Captain Christmas remembered how “after the hors d’œuvres came two or three light French dishes, and then fruit and dessert. Wine, red and white, was always on the table, but it was seldom that the King took a glass. He drank a whole bottle of mineral water and a cup of café au lait”.
This menu is illustrated with the Tatoï Palace and, in the centre, is the King’s personal monogram. Decorative as the menu is, it is no match for the menu-cards placed before each guest for King George's jubilee celebrations. On that occasion a blue and white silk canopy was erected at the site of the Acropolis with each of the 500 guests receiving a menu-card carved on blocks of marble from the very same ruins.
Two decades after this dinner, King George I was assassinated in 1913 and his body entombed at the Tatoï Palace.
Queen Olga of the Hellenes (Greece)