CORONATION BANQUET MENUS
Tsars of Russia
The Tsesarevich's 16th birthday
Twelve years before his Coronation, Nicholas II celebrated his 16th birthday to great imperial fanfare. The day marked the coming-of-age for the Tsesarevich and made him eligible to inherit the throne. His parents, Tsar Alexander III and Tsarina Maria Fyodorovna, hosted this gala dinner at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. Stuffed salmon-trouts baked in red wine were garnished with sautéed roe, truffles and poached crayfish as a precursor to dainty pastries filled with lark’s breasts and platters of roast woodcocks, great snipe and prized ducklings from Rouen.
Princely House of Yusupov
Before their name became synonymous with the murder of Rasputin, the Princely House of Yusupov was associated with some of the most decadent banquets of imperial Russia. The beautiful Princess Zinaida serves guests a soup garnished with the poached marrow from the spine of a sturgeon before platters of spit-roasted ortolans arrive smothered in creamed watercress.
Imperial Chef, Pierre Cubat
"Cubat was a most interesting person, late
head chef to the Czar, whose service he had only just left. When asked the reason, he said that the supervision in the kitchen of the royal palace was so irksome and stringent — dozens of detectives watching his every gesture and pouncing on every pinch of salt — that the salary of £2,000 a year did not compensate him".
Lady Randolph Churchill
Confectionary at the Russian Imperial Court
In her memoirs Queen Marie of Romania remembered her childhood visits to the Imperial Court in St. Petersburg to stay with her grandparents, Tsar Alexander II and Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna of Russia.
"I was never a specially greedy child, but all the same certain tastes could induce the same rapture as scents, sounds or sights, and these tastes have also remained unforgettable.
There were, for instance, certain little sweets only to be had at the Russian Court. These were wee double round fondants made of fresh strawberries and served up in tiny paper baskets.
Their colour was as exquisite as their taste. The very moment when you lifted them off the dish on to your plate was one of enchantment, your mouth watered even before you tasted them. The “fore-pleasure,” as the Germans would express it, was almost as wonderful as the actual eating of the sweets. This was fairy food, and whenever I told a story to myself or to my sisters, my imaginary personages always ate these super-exquisite sweets.
... and when you finally reached your own rooms, there on the centre table stood two dishes, one with sweets, the other with biscuits. These biscuits and sweets were renewed each day. The sweets were varied and nowhere else in the wide world were they as good.
Long-shaped fruit-drops wrapped in white paper with little fringed edges of blue, red or yellow, according to the sweet inside. Flat cream caramels too luscious for words, these also wrapped in thick white paper, double fondants of coffee, and also those little paper baskets of fresh strawberry sweets already described as one of the “ecstasies.”
Then other sweets were brought in big boxes, round slabs of fruit paste, a speciality of Moscow, and dried fruit and berries preserved in white flour-like sugar, a speciality from Kiev."
Queen Marie of Romania