King of Serbia
This dinner hosted by King Peter I of Serbia took place at his Belgrade Palace as a part of his Coronation celebrations in 1904.
The Serbian peasants were treated to free wine along with 24 roast oxen to help celebrate the coronation.
But for those privileged to be amongst the royal guests, this menu offered a magnificent spread of whole stuffed baby sturgeon (sterlets) served alongside full length adult sturgeons which, in the tradition of Eastern royal courts at the time, were likely placed in the centre of the table with their stomachs ceremonially opened and spilling out fresh caviar.
There were three primary banquets associated with the coronation with the first being on 21st (the day of the coronation itself); the second on 22nd in honour of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Montenegro; and the third banquet – for which this is the menu – in honour of the diplomatic set in Belgrade and the visiting delegation from Bulgaria.
The menu is dated using the Julian calendar (the 10th September corresponds to the 23rd September in the modern Gregorian calendar) and is embossed with the personal royal arms of the House of Karađorđević which includes two warriors from the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire.
Not all of Europe was yet ready to accept the new King of Serbia.
Following his family’s return from exile, the Serbian Parliament had declared Peter I as their monarch in June of the previous year (1903) following the rather brutal assassination of King Alexander and Queen Draga of the rival House of Obrenović.
But most European royal courts, at first, kept their arms-length with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess on Montenegro being the only guests from a foreign royal family to attend the coronation. The ruling Prince of Bulgaria, Ferdinand I, sent a special delegation consisting of General Dobrovitch and Baron Ebner, while all other courts (except Britain) were represented by their Ambassadors.
Also attending this dinner was the King’s two sons, Crown Prince George and Prince Alexander (the future King Alexander I), along with his daughter Princess Helen and his nephew Prince Paul (the future Prince Regent of Yugoslavia). The King had been a widower since the death of his wife, Princess Zorka, fourteen years earlier.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
A newspaper photographer snaps King Peter I alighting from his motor-vehicle and being greeted by his son Prince Alexander (future King Alexander I)
Menu dated 23rd September 1904
(10th September in the Julian Calendar)
Dinner at the Royal Palace, Belgrade, hosted by His Majesty King Peter I of Serbia.
Potage Printanier à la Royale
Vegetable consommé garnished with diced royale
Sterlets et esturgeons à la Tartare
Whole Sterlets (young sturgeon) and Sturgeon filets
dressed in tartar sauce
Filets de boeuf garni
Filet of beef with vegetables
Galantine de dinde à la gelèe
Galantine of turkey sealed in aspic jelly
Châpons de Styrie à la broche
Spit-roasted castrated roosters from the Styrie region
in south-east Austria
Glaces de chocolat et d’abricots
Chocolate ice-cream with apricot compote
Coronation Guest: Crown Prince Danilo of Montenegro