Menu dated 5th December 1935
Luncheon at Bran Castle, in the Carpathian Mountains, hosted by Her Majesty Queen Marie of Romania.
When this royal luncheon took place its hostess had been the Dowager Queen of Romania for seven years following the death of her husband, King Ferdinand I, in 1927.
The Dowager Queen Marie, born into the British royal family as Princess Marie of Edinburgh, was a blend of beauty and mystique – often dressing with her head draped in long flowing scarves and her dresses fashioned from ornately embroidered Romanian cloths.
This simple typed menu card - embossed with Queen Marie’s personal "M" monogram and trimmed in gold-leaf - was likely from a luncheon at her favourite Bran Castle, in the Carpathian Mountains, where she spent much of her time following the death of King Ferdinand. (The crown used in the Queen's monogram depicts the one especially commissioned for her Coronation).
The luncheon appears relatively light and healthy with the central dish being an elaborately decorated mould of jellied turkey breasts served with salads and vegetable timbales.
Queen Marie was anything but a stiff and formal hostess. Her black spaniel ran amok amongst the feet of her royal dining guests; and the Queen was quite relaxed about smoking at the table after a meal.
“After we had finished”, recalled one royal luncheon guest from when King Ferdinand was still alive, “a silver alcohol lamp, of a beautiful ancient Roman design, was placed before the Queen. She took a cigarette and lighted it from the flame, raising the lamp to the level of her nose as she did so.
“She smoked vigorously, and it seemed to me that she liked it. Some-times she talked with the cigarette in her mouth. The lamp was next passed to the King, after which it went around the table”.
The same royal guest, the popular early 20th century travel author Frank Carpenter, also recounted in 1925 how a meal with the Romanian King and Queen was “served by men in the blue uniforms with silver buttons of the palace livery”.
He recounted how a luncheon began with hors d’oeuvres of caviar scooped into the whites of hard-boiled eggs; along with sardines and salads of cucumber and tomato. And after the meal came, as he described it, “small cups of smoking hot Turkish coffee as black as ink, as thick as molasses, and almost as sweet”.
And of the dining table Frank Carpenter recalled “it was covered with a cloth of damask, and there were no flowers except sweet peas of a delicate pink which were strewn over the cloth here and there”.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Paupiettes de sandre à l’Americaine
Filets of zander (pike-perch) mixed with truffles that have been wrapped and poached in white wine
Suprême de dinde Verneuil
A cold elaborately decorated dish of jellied turkey that has been cooked with turnips, calf’s feet, truffles, carrots, pistachios, ham and Cognac.
Timbale d’epinard Clermont
Vegetable timbale made from creamed spinach and peas
Queen Marie of Romania
Click (above) to enlarge details of the monogram of Queen Marie as it appears atop the menu-card.