Crême de pois à la Clamart
Cream of fresh green-pea soup served with fried
croûtons named after the Clamart district in
Hauts-de-Seine famous for its peas
Petits Loups de Mer au Rubis
Young European Seabass in a tomato sauce
Croustades à la Financiére
Puff pastries filled with a ragout of cockscombs,
mushrooms, chicken, truffle and Madeira
Aloyau garni à l’Anglaise
Roast sirloin of beef with roast vegetables
Poulardes froides au Daube
Larded poached chickens served cold
Asperges Sauce au beurre
Asparagus in butter sauce
Fraises de Pois à la Gelée Marasquin
Alpine strawberries (wild strawberries) set
in Maraschino flavoured jelly
Thin long puff-pastry biscuits sandwiched together
with a sardine butter and then topped with
Glace au Citron
Ice creams flavoured with crystalized lemon
and lime peels
Menu dated 23rd May 1909
Dinner aboard the Royal Yacht, “His Majesty’s Yacht Victoria and Albert” moored in Venice, hosted by Her Majesty Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom with her sister, Her Imperial Majesty the Dowager Empress (Tsarina) Marie of Russia.
The royal equivalent of sardines on toast helped conclude this elaborate dinner aboard the royal yacht that capped off a five day shopping spree in Venice by Queen Alexandra and her sister, the Dowager Empress of Russia (consort to the late Tsar Alexander III).
The sardines along with the young seabass were no doubt locally sourced along with the wild strawberries that were set in Maraschino jelly.
The menu card was specially printed for use aboard the royal yacht featuring a watercolour of the "Victoria and Albert" and the gilt embossed dual monogram of Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII.
Earlier in the day both the Queen and Dowager Empress had taken afternoon-tea on the balcony of the Excelsior Hotel before attending the Venice Biennale art exhibition.
This would be the final night the two sisters would dine together on this excursion to Venice, with the Dowager Empress leaving by train later that evening for Ala in northern Italy.
When the royal yacht arrived earlier in the week a close confidant of Queen Alexandra, Lady Layard who lived in Venice, recounted in her diary:
Today the Royal yacht “Victoria & Albert” came to Venice with the Queen & her sister the Empress Marie of Russia on board…. as soon as the Queen saw us in the distance she began waving to us & when at last the yacht was anchored Violet & I went on board & I was presented to the Empress whom I had never seen before. Both she & the Queen wore white serge short dresses with white flat caps to match sailor fashion. Lady Antrim is the Lady in waiting—a pretty charming woman. Poor old Miss Knollys, the woman of the bed chamber—looked fearfully ill".
A few days earlier, on the 20th May, Lady Layard also had the honour of hosting the Queen and Dowager Empress to lunch at her own home, the Palazzo Ca’Capello’, overlooking the Grand Canal. Lady Layard’s account of the luncheon and the short notice given to her can be read below.
Queen Alexandra and her sister the Dowager Empress Marie of Russia are photographed by the Queen's Lady-in-Waiting as they arrive aboard the Royal Yacht in Venice in 1909.
Tsarina Marie Fyodorovna of Russia
with her sister Queen Alexandra
Memories of the visit to
In 1909 Lady Layard recorded in her diary the arrival in Venice of Queen Alexandra and her sister the Dowager Empress of Russia. Lady Layard was a personal friend of the Queen and had been asked to host the sisters to lunch at her home, the Palazza Ca' Capello, overlooking Venice's Grand Canal. The following is her diary entry for 20th May 1909 - just three days prior to the royal menu featured on this website.
Palazzo Ca' Capello
"Ascension Day. We all went to morning service. Just at the end of the service the old verger brought me a note. I opened it just outside the church there was a steam launch & the petty officer standing waiting for an answer to the note he had brought from Lord Howe saying that the Queen & Empress & Pss Victoria proposed to come to luncheon with me at 1 today a party of 12 persons.
I said to Lady Gregory who was by me, “It is impossible it is now 11.30”– She said “Oh yes you can do it don’t refuse.”
I went to the pozzo in the middle of the Campo & using the iron cover as a table I wrote at the back of Lord Howe’s note—“Very much honored all right, only make it 1.30.”
We hastened home & I ran up to the kitchen wh[ich] is on the 2nd floor & propounded the situation to Sear my excellent cook.
Being a party of 8 in the house she luckily had food in the house & happened to have 2 unplucked pheasants.
After arranging the menu with her I ran down to Giuseppe & told him to get the table ready for 19 persons. We went to Mrs Curtis to borrow her servant & telephoned to Sr Malagola to send his.
Ola ran out to buy flowers. Being a fête day it was difficult to buy anything. By helping ourselves & with the help of the whole household everything was ready before the arrival of the R[oyal]. party consisting of the Queen, the Empress, Princess Victoria, Lady Antrim, Adl Colin Keppel, Miss Knollys. The Russian Gentleman in waiting.
I sat in the centre of the table the Empress on my right the Queen on my left. Princess Victoria on the other side of the table opposite to me. Sear rose to the occasion. The Royal sisters sat well – Lunch was served quite reasonably quickly considering we had only 4 servants, Giuseppe, old deaf Pasquale & the 2 strange servants. At this moment I am without my footman who fell ill some time ago & had to return to his home. I told the Q[ueen]. of the visit of the Emperor & how he had said he had enjoyed having her & the King at Berlin."