From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Potage a la Tete de Veau Claire
Consommé made from a deboned calf's head, carrot, onion, celery, arrowroot and Madeira and garnished with portions of poached calf's head.
Potage a la Reine
Chicken consommé thickened with tapioca and garnished with shredded chicken cooked in court-bouillon (aromatic stock) and diced Royale (a savoury custard made from egg, chervil and chicken consommé)
Les Tranches de Saumon, sauce Tartare
Slices of salmon in a Tartare Sauce made from mayonnaise, chives and spring-onion
Les Filets de Soles Frits
Fried fillets of Sole lightly battered
Les Bouchees de Homard
Puff-pastries filled with Lobster meat
Les Chaud froid de Poulets
Cold dish of chicken breasts coated first in a white sauce made from chicken consommé, butter and brandy and then glazed with aspic-jelly
Roast Haunch of Venison
Roast Quails stuffed with foie gras [force-fed geese livers]
Les Asperges a la Sauce
Asparagus in sauce
Les Beignets de Semouille a l'Ananas
Pineapple flavoured semolina fritters served with fruit preserves
Les Profiteroles au Cafe
Round choux-pastry cases stuffed with coffee cream
A side table of hot and cold fowls, tongue, cold beef
Menu dated 29th June 1894
Dinner at Windsor Castle hosted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria in honor of a visit by His Imperial Highness the Tsesarevich of Russia (the future Tsar Nicholas II) to meet with his fiancé Princess Alix of Hesse (the future Tsarina).
This is a truly historic Windsor Castle menu for a dinner held by Queen Victoria for the recently betrothed future Tsar and Tsarina of Russia.
In June 1894 the Tsesarevich of Russia (the future Tsar Nicholas II) set sail on the imperial yacht “Polar Star” for England to meet with his fiancée Princess Alix of Hesse. The couple had become engaged just two months earlier and now the heir to the Russian throne was off to England to see his love again and to meet his love’s grandmother, Queen Victoria.
When the Tsesarevich anchored at Gravesend on 20th June, he immediately headed to the home of Prince and Princess Louis of Battenberg, at Walton-on-Thames, where he and Princess Alix met and stayed as guests for four nights.
The relative relaxation and frivolity of these days came to end on the 24th June when the couple were expected to be at Windsor Castle as guests of the rather ageing, strict and old-fashioned Queen Victoria.
“It was an idyllic time for the Princess and she always cherished memories of Windsor, and of the brief moments when she and her fiancé were together”, remembered the future Empress’s lifelong friend Baroness Buxhoeveden.
But it seems Queen Victoria was a bit a romantic killjoy with the Baroness also recounting how Victoria had “strict ideas on chaperonage and never left the engaged couple alone, which must sometimes have been rather trying for the Tsarevitch!”.
Five days after their arrival at Windsor Castle, Queen Victoria hosted this eleven course dinner in honour of the future husband and wife; and future Tsar and Tsarina. Included amongst the dinner guests was the then heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz-Ferdinand.
As Princess Alix delicately worked her knife and fork through stuffed quails, lobster pastries, roast venison and even a dessert of coffee-cream profiteroles, guests would have noticed the stunning pink pearl engagement ring on her hand and, around her neck, hung more pink pearls given to her by the Tsesarevich during that very same week.
“Now do not get too proud, Alix”, Queen Victoria would remind her engaged granddaughter who was the recipient of such extravagant jewellery that also included a sapphire and diamond brooch from her fiancé’s father, Tsar Alexander III.
In addition to 11 courses, this menu-card reveals a sideboard of “Hot and cold fowls”, tongue and cold beef for anyone that could still possibly be famished.
In addition to the royal chef, the Gentleman of the Wine Cellar and the Yeoman played an important roll at the dining table of Queen Victoria. In 1848, a review of Her Majesty’s Household was undertaken which described their roles as:
“He [the Gentleman of the Wine Cellar] has to superintend the decanting and sending up the wines, required for her Majesty, from the cellars, besides undertaking the whole of the supervision of his department.
“The duty of the Yeomen is to attend in the room, during her Majesty's dinner, and, if required, when any Royal visitors take luncheon with her Majesty, to be in attendance at that time also.
“The Groom attends outside of the dining-room, to keep up the required supply of wine from the cellars”.
The future Tsar and Tsarina