King of Egypt
At this 1939 royal banquet, King Farouk of Egypt served a spectacular blend of Arabic and French cuisine including whole spit roasted suckling lamb, pistachio baklava and stuffed vine leaves alongside pheasants with stuffed artichokes, snipe pâté, dishes of caviar, truffles and foie-gras; and a dessert of chestnut mousse with crytsalised violets.
Of course this was no ordinary occasion. King Farouk’s 17 year-old sister, Princess Fawzia, was about to marry the 19 year-old Crown Prince of Iran; who two years later would become Shah.
Just one day before this banquet, on 3rd March, the Crown Prince arrived in Cairo by royal train and set eyes upon his fiancée for the first time. King Farouk greeted his soon to be brother-in-law at the Abdine Palace before escorting him to the ‘Blue Room’ to meet Princess Fawzia along with the Queen and Queen Mother of Egypt.
The Crown Prince would spend the next 24 hours getting to know his fiancée and in-laws before preparing to be the guest of honour at this palace banquet the following night. The menu card, written in both French and Arabic, is decorated with the royal arms of Egypt and the imperial arms of Iran in recognition of the two family houses coming together.
The official signing of the marriage contract (a part of Muslim tradition) took place eleven days later on 15th March with a second wedding celebration taking place when the newly married couple arrived in Iran’s capital, Tehran.
Fawzia became Queen of Iran two years later in 1941 when her husband ascended to the throne as Shah of Iran. However the marriage would not last long with the couple divorcing in 1945.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Menu dated 4th March 1939
Dinner at the Abdine Palace, Cairo, hosted by His Majesty King Farouk I of Egypt in honour of His Imperial Highness Crown Prince (future Shah) Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran on the occasion of his first meeting with his fiancée, Her Royal Highness Princess Fawzia of Egypt (future Queen of Iran)
Consommé de volaille chaud
Hot chicken consommé
Consommé de volaille froid
Cold chicken consommé set as a jelly, cubed and topped with whipped cream
Loup de mer de la Mediterranée à la Norvégienne
Filets of Branzin from the Mediteranean Sea glazed with aspic jelly and garnished with small cucumbers stuffed with a smoked-salmon mousse
Buisson de crevettes à l’Imperiale
Large shrimps, trussed into a pyramid shape, and garnished with caviar and truffle slices
Terrine de noix de veau à la Strasbourgeoise
Terrine made from tournedos of veal, foie-gras and flavored with Madeira
Galantine de chapon à la gelée
Cold terrine made from capon meat, rabbit, eggs and spices and sealed in aspic jelly
Agneau de lait à la Menoufieh
Spit-roasted suckling lamb prepared in an Egyptian style named after the Menoufieh province of Egypt
Faisan de Bohème à la Châtelaine
Breasts of pheasant garnished with artichoke hearts stuffed with chestnut purée
Langue de Charolais à l’ecarlate
Pickled beef tongue
Pâté de bécassines en croûte
Croûtons topped with a pâté made from snipe
Dinde au cresson
Turkey breasts dressed in a watercress cream
Market garden salad
Gerbe d’Argenteuil sauce moutarde
Florets of white asparagus dressed in a mustard sauce
Traditional Egyptian rice stuffed vine leaves
Plaited pastries made from leavened dough mixed with orange blossom water which are then deep fried and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar
Counafa aux pistaches
Chestnut mousse topped with Chantilly cream and crystallized violets
Petits fours varies
Crytalised fruits and nougat
Petits pains à la Française
New York Times -
4th March 1939