Archduke of Austria
Menu dated 28th November 1905
Dinner at the Belvedere Palace (Belvedere Schloss), Vienna, hosted by His Imperial Highness Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este and Her Serene Highness Princess Sophie of Hohenberg.
One hundred years ago, having just been shot twice, Archduke Franz Ferdinand murmured “it is nothing” six times as he faded from life; and as World War I now loomed.
On the centenary of this day, historians the world-over will dissect and recount the political and human ramifications of this assassination of the heir to throne of the mighty Austro-Hungarian empire.
This royal dinner menu from 1905 however, provides an insight into the social life of the Archduke and his wife Princess Sophie of Hohenberg (later styled Duchess of Hohenberg), who was assassinated alongside her husband.
In the early 20th century it was no secret in imperial and royal circles that the Archduke preferred to entertain at his own home, given the condescending treatment displayed by other royal courts towards his wife, whose lowly aristocratic rank was considered unsuitable for the spouse of an Archduke and future Emperor.
Upon her marriage to Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Emperor of Austria-Hungary begrudgingly elevated Sophie’s rank from Countess of Chotek to Princess of Hohenberg. But she was never allowed to share the same rank of her husband which meant the Princess could not even be presented at imperial and royal courts alongside her husband; or even be seated in the vicinity of him at court dinners and banquets.
The couple therefore preferred to play the role of host than be hosted. This dinner menu from 1905, embossed with the royal arms of the Archduke, likely took place the Belvedere Palace in Vienna where an upper wing had been allocated to the couple as their private residence.
Asside from offerings of lobster-tail, partridge and sea-bream, this dinner menu features a classic dessert of the era known as Pouding à la Nesselrode which had been named after the one-time Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Count Nesselrode. The Count’s popularity was strong amongst Austrians given he was the credited with arranging for Russia to send troops to help Austria in the quashing of an Hungarian uprising.
The towering Pouding à la Nesselrode was made from a chestnut ice-cream, flavoured with crystallised fruits that had been macerated in Maraschino, and served drizzled with a Maraschino flavoured custard.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Princess Sophie of Hohenberg)
Cream of lentil soup
Filet de bœuf garnie
Filet of beef with vegetables
Scampies en belle vue
Cold dish of medallions of lobster-tail, that have been arranged back in the shell, after having been glazed in a white sauce and sealed in a layer of aspic jelly.
Perdreaux rôtis, salade, compote
Roast partridge with salads and fruit compotes
Pouding à la Nesselrode
A frozen dessert of chestnut cream flavoured with maraschino, crystallised fruits and currants; and served with maraschino flavoured custard (named after 19th century Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Count Nesselrode, particularly liked by the Austrians for sending Russian troops to help quash a Hungarian uprising).