Grand Duke of Saxony
Menu dated 10th February 1914
Luncheon at the Weimar Castle (Weimar Schloss) hosted by Their Royal Highnesses Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst and Grand Duchess Feodora of Saxony (Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach).
Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxony was one of the wealthiest men in the entire German empire, but his wealth and status didn’t necessarily mean that a banquet at his palace was fun and frivolity.
In 1913 the Washington Post reported that the "Grand Duke is very dull, and his court and environment reflect his character in this respect to such a respect that Weimar has become the dreariest capital in Europe"
Indeed a participant in the royal courts of Germany, writing under the non-deplume of Count Axel von Schwering, recounted in 1915 how the:
“Ducal House of Weimar is also one of importance in Germany. The present Duke, who succeeded his grandfather, is still quite a young man, though already he has been married twice. He is one of those very happy people who have no history, and it is not likely he ever will have any”.
In short, the Grand Duke was considered affable, but rather boring.
Thank heavens, then, that his palace chefs could be a little more adventurous when preparing banquets at the family’s Weimar Palace (Schloss Weimar), which would later give its name to the Weimar Republic following the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The dessert on this menu, "Ananas-Eis in der Frucht", consisted of pineapple ice-cream - likely flavoured with rum and crystallised pineapple segments - served inside an entire scooped-out small pineapple. Royal Courts vied with each other to serve their guests exotic fruits which were usually competitively grown by palace' gardeners in the palace' greenhouses. At some royal courts the ice-cream filled pineapples were reassembled with the leafy head placed back on top before being dipped in edible gold-leaf. The whole gold pineapples shimmered in the flickering light of the candles when placed at each table setting.
Four years before this luncheon the Grand Duke married his second wife, Grand Duchess Feodora, who was a Princess from the Saxe-Meiningen royal house, whose family arms were identical to those of her husband's family. Consequently, this menu card is decorated with the two royal arms forming a mirror effect.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Cold jellied consommé diced into cubes and served in tall glasses topped with cream
Getrüffelte Pate auf Reis Garniert
Truffled pâté served with a rice garnish
Fresh lobster medallions rearranged in the shell and dressed in a cold remoulade sauce made from a mayonnaise blend mixed with mushrooms, gherkins, egg, anchovy essence, chervil and capers.
Roast haunch of venision served with a johannisberg jelly and salad
Ananas-Eis in der Frucht
Pineapple ice-cream served inside a hollowed pineapple
likely grown in the palace's own greenhouses.
Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxony (Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach) (right) travels with the Emperor of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Second wife: Grand Duchess Feodora of Saxony