King Ludwig II impresses his guests with a royal banquet that starts with Lapwing eggs served in watercress butter
The annual Feast of the High Order of the Knights of St. George was the highpoint in the calendar of the Bavarian Royal Court. The extravagant and eccentric King Ludwig II sat on the throne beneath his white and gold silk canopy as lapwing eggs dripping in butter and sprinkled with watercress were served alongside partridge consommé. The appropriately named dessert of Gâteaux á la St George concluded a banquet that featured roast legs of wild boar; and whole lobsters dressed in a caper sauce.
The Pope's dinner guests at the Vatican
treated to woodcock mousse with truffles
The Vatican was at its hospitable best in 1903 when it hosted this regal dinner for guests attending the Silver Jubilee of Pope Leo XIII’s Pontificate. The papal guests were wowed with delectable treats such as Délices de bécasses à la gelée, made from woodcock, truffles, foie-gras and pounded woodcock intestines.
The Dowager Tsarina hosts a Kremlin banquet
to celebrate the defeat of Napoléon
Crates of the world’s most prized peaches, Pêches de Montreuil, were carefully transported from Paris to Moscow in 1912, to make the dessert for this imperial banquet held at the Kremlin. It was the 100th anniversary of the Russian defeat of Napoléon, and the Romanov imperial family were intent on hosting a celebration party to be remembered by all.
“I wore diamonds on my dress and my coronet of diamonds with my veil”, recounted Queen Victoria, as she took the arm of Tsar Alexander II and entered St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle for this glittering banquet in 1874. German Gugelhupf cakes dripping in apricot sauce were served for dessert after a dinner that included partridge croquettes with orange sauce.
Tsar Alexander II Banquets at Windsor Castle - 1874
The Royal Christmas Banquet
In the late 1800's Queen Victoria proves it is not ‘low brow’ to serve Christmas ‘leftovers’ for up to a week after the royal banquet. Her Majesty’s yuletide offerings include a whole stuffed boars head that arrived as a gift from the German Emperor; and a giant woodcock pie from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
Hare mousse & whole truffles poached in Champagne feature at King Edward VII's hunting dinner at Windsor Castle
After a weekend of hunting on the Windsor estates, members of the Danish royal family joined King Edward VII for this dinner that included whole truffles poached in Champagne before being roasted and drenched in butter; and served in linen serviettes embroidered with the King’s monogram.
Princess Tenisheva serves the finest Russian caviar to visiting royals at the Exposition Universelle, 1900
There was a hint of Russian' smugness at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris when their homegrown Champagne beat all the French contenders to win the Grand Prix de Champagne. It was only fitting then, that Princess Tenisheva upped the ante further with this princely banquet that started with Russian caviar and concluded with a dessert of pineapple macerated in white rum with apricot ice-creams shaped and sized as the real fruit.
Tutti-Frutti ice-cream concludes an 1886 royal lunch
for the exiled Queen Isabella II of Spain
In her sprawling Paris palace the exiled Queen Isabella II of Spain hosts a nine course lunch in 1886 that concludes with Tutti-Frutti ice-cream - the trendy flavoured dessert of the late 1880s made from crystallised fruits steeped in Kirsch.
Winston Churchill and the German Emperor dine together on roe-deer casserole and goose livers in Port jelly
Long before he was Prime Minister, a 31 year-old Winston Churchill was a personal guest of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, at this banquet at the royal palace in Breslau (Wrocław) in 1906.
Kaiser Wilhelm I hosts a royal banquet for the first ever sitting of the Reichstag, 1871
The Prussians had just defeated France in the Franco-Prussian war, but still the menu for the German Emperor was written in french and the banquet created by master french chef, Urbain Dubois. Woodcocks and black grouse dressed in creamed watercress accompanied medallions of foie-gras ringed with a Port reduction as the Kaiser heaped his imperial largesse on members of the first ever Reichstag.
Luncheon for the Order of the
Garter hosted by King George VI
In 1937 the newly crowned King George VI hosts a luncheon at Windsor Castle for the Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. In the grandeur of the Waterloo Chamber the Knights enjoy a banquet that includes the specially created Chaudfroid de Poulet à la Jarretière.
Platters of Sterlets in White wine feature at imperial romanov banquet
An imperial family spat was well underway as the Romanovs gathered at Pavlovlsk Palace in 1886 for this banquet hosted by the Tsar’s uncle, Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaievich. No amount of culinary largess, even if it did include sterlets baked in white wine with truffles, was going to appease the seething towards the Grand Duke’s guest and nephew, Tsar Alexander III.
Royal Banquet for the King of Portugal
Before his name became synonymous with regicide, King Carlos I of Portugal had a reputation as a gourmand. At this dinner in 1903 His Most Faithfull Majesty serves the visiting King of Spain a 10-course farewell dinner that includes a complex dish of beef tournedos garnished with glazed lamb sweetbreads, cockscombs and truffles that were then smothered in a Champagne, ham and mushroom sauce.
The Khedive of Egypt hosts a Palace Buffet of Snipe, Pheasants & Woodcocks - 1896
The 21 year-old Khedive Abbas II of Egypt hosts a Palace Ball and Buffet in 1896 that betrays his love of shooting and eating game birds. Eighteen elaborate dishes are laid out at Cairo's Abdine Palace that include grouse, quails, snipe, woodcocks, pheasants and young turkeys.
Prussian Prince serves guests a delicate mousse made from tiny thrushes
After plates of lobsters dressed with a butter and red pepper sauce, Prince Albert of Prussia spoilt his guests at his Berlin palace with a delicately flavoured mousse made from the breast of the tiny thrush.
Dazzling Banquets of the Grand Duchess who later became a Saint
A quarter of a century before revolution curtailed the splendor of Imperial Russia, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorvna dazzled her guests with balls and banquets before she embraced a pious life as a vegetarian nun who would later be canonised. Along with her husband Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the imperial couple served breakfasts of jellied grouse, traditionally Russian Kournik pie and even glacéed chestnuts with strawberry ice-cream before midday.
Bismarck's last hurrah to throw a banquet to entice the Emperor's favour
This 1890 banquet hosted by Otto von Bismarck served as a swansong for his 19-year grip on the German' Imperial Chancellery. Media was aflutter as Kaiser Wilhelm II arrived as the guest of honour at Prince Bismarck’s Berlin' residence for this dinner of roast roebuck, turbot in tarragon sauce and platters of oysters especially shipped in from Whitstable in the south of England.
Pastries piped full of lobster & truffle mousse served at Habsburg Banquet
In 1891 the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Kaiser Franz Joseph, entertains the Royal Family of Saxony at Vienna's Hofburg Palace. The gala dinner starts with dishes of lobster and truffle mousse and foie-gras stuffed larks before a main course of roast pheasants with artichokes followed by a dessert of bite-sized strawberry ice-creams, shaped as the actual fruit, filled with a centre of white-coffee ice-cream.
Windsor Castle Menu for Queen Victoria's Funeral
In 1901 the new King lays out a Windsor Castle buffet lunch for the royal family’s guests attending the funeral of Queen Victoria.
Riofrio Chorizo concludes the dinner for King Alfonso XIII of Spain
At the beginning of the 20th century, King Alfonso XIII serves his royal guests homeland treats such as Chorizo de Riofrio and roast partridges marinated in the finest Spanish sherry alongside classical French dishes. A revolving door of head royal chefs led to an eclectic mix of dishes at the King's table.
1884 Birthday Banquet for 16 year-old Tsesarevich
As members of the Romanov imperial family gathered at the Winter Palace to celebrate the 16th birthday of the Tsesarevich, who had just officially become heir to the Russian throne, the imperial chef was finalising the touches on the whole stuffed salmon-trouts that were to be baked in red wine before being garnished with sautéed roe, truffles and poached crayfish. Following that came the small pastries filled with lark’s breasts before the grand platters of roast woodcocks, great snipe and prized ducklings from Rouen were carried to the table.
Marinated Elk with Truffles and Goose Liver served by Romanov' Grand Duchess
Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna hosts a winters' day lunch in 1884 of marinated elk dressed in a ragout of truffles and goose-livers following a timbale of sturgeon, caviar and crayfish. The Grand Duchess was Tsar Alexander III's sister-in-law and made her home, Vladimir Palace along the embankment in St. Petersburg, an epicentre of Romanov imperial social life.
Imperial Banquet for the Wedding of the Kaiser's Daughter
This 1913 banquet was the last social event King George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II attended together before each led their country against the other in World War I. They dined on turtle soup, spit-roasted saddles of venison and turbot dressed in oysters and truffles.
Banquets of Russia's Princely Yusupov Family
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.
Royal Wedding Banquets
Explore the menus from Imperial and Royal Wedding banquets from Queen Victoria, Edward VII, the Habsburg family of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Kaiser and the royal courts of Sweden and Egypt.
Cold Soup for the Tsar of Russia in the Crimea
In 1898 when Tsar Nicholas II holidayed at his Livadia Palace in the Crimea, he made sure he took along his celebrated French Chef, Pierre Cubat. This imperial luncheon menu shows that alongside the finest French dishes the Tsar also chose to partake of the traditional chilled Russian soup, Botvinya (Ботвинья), made from kvass and beetroot leaves; and served with poached sturgeon and crayfish tails.
Calf's Head delicacy served at the 1857 Banquet for the future Emperor of Mexico
Tête de Veau en Tortue, a Middle Ages' delicacy of calf's head poached in wine, was served to guests at this 1857 dinner during a tour of Venice by the future Emperor Maximilian of Mexcio and his wife, Archduchess Charlotte.
Roast Swan served by King Edward VII
The future King Edward VII serves guests especially reared 6 month-old spit-roasted swans accompanied with hot redcurrant jelly. The dish appears as Cygne á la Windsor on this 1890s dinner menu for the host; who was then still the Prince of Wales.
Empress Sadako of Japan Serves Plum Pudding & Roast Snipe in 1925
At the Meiji Palace in 1925, the Empress of Japan serves roast snipes in a cognac and foie-gras sauce courtesy of the Imperial Chef, Akiyama Tokuzō (秋山徳蔵), who trained under the guidance of Auguste Escoffier.
King George V hosts Balmoral Ball & Midnight Supper in 1912
Royal “finger food” including grouse pies, lobster medallions, champagne jellies and rosettes of partridge breast were served alongside a rather common sounding ‘assortment of sandwiches’, at this midnight supper at Balmoral Castle in 1912.
Birthday Banquet for King Ludwig II of Bavaria
In 1882 "Mad King Ludwig" offers his guests a refreshing woodruff sorbet between courses of venison sausages; stuffed partridges wrapped in bacon and drizzled in a truffle sauce; poached goose livers; and fried capon served with a traditional german potato salad made with gherkins.
Quails with truffles and walnut & orange ice-cream served at 1907 banquet hosted by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
A banquet of turtle consommé with sautéed sweetbreads followed by saddles of wild boar roasted with juniper berries, and quails with truffles, was offered at this palace banquet in 1907 by the young Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The Queen’s guests were the delegates attending the second International Peace Conference instigated by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
His Majesty's 'Yacht Racing Hamper'
A giant royal hamper consisting of pigeon-pies, pressed tongue, and chicken breasts poached in white wine and sautéed with truffles was prepared by royal chefs as a sailing hamper for King George V in 1935. This would be the last time the King would race his personal yacht, Britannia, at the annual Cowes regatta.
German Emperor Serves Giant Blue Carp at Palace Banquet
Giant 'blue' carp, measuring over a metre long, drizzled in a classically German beer sauce featured at this banquet hosted by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany at his palace at Potsdam.
1917 Banquet for Charles I of Austria-Hungary
War-time food rationing was put on hold in 1917 when two Emperors came together for this lunch of chestnut soup; roast pheasants served with a 1906 Heidsieck Champage; and salmon dressed in a Bearnaise sauce.
Franz Joseph & 'Sissi' host Wedding Banquet at Hofburg Palace
In 1881 the Emperor of Austria-Hungary and his famous wife Empress "Sissi" had no idea this wedding banquet for their son was the start of one of the most tragic history-altering marriages in Europe. Imperial chefs at Vienna's Hofburg Palace prepared stuffed woodcocks garnished with truffles and cocks' combs; pastries filled with a purée of lark’s breasts; and an elborate pudding of pig’s kidney with prunes steeped in red wine and then flamed in rum, for the wedding of the man who was supposed to one day become Emperor.
Turtle Soup, Roast Larks & Stuffed Wild Boar's Head Served by Duke
In 1870 the Duke of Cambridge served spit-roasted larks and haunches of roast venison alongside a whole stuffed wild boar’s head set in a mountain of aspic jelly to guests at his Piccadilly mansion. The 16 course banquet started with turtle soup and finished with a fritters stuffed with cherries in a kirsch syrup. Today the Duke's military contribution is forever recognised with his bronze statue outside Whitehall, but this menu reveals his culinary contribution was befitting of the Duke's heritage as the grandson of King George III.
Tsar of Russia Serves Saddles of Venison & Rare Siberian Trout
Having survived an assassination attempt just 24 hours earlier, the Tsar of Russia had no intention of letting such trifling disturbances get in the way of this 1911 grand banquet held at the Mariyinsky Palace in Kiev. Even the infamous meddling monk Rasputin was amongst the guests that devoured saddles of venison dressed in chestnut cream with redcurrant jelly; whole trout carted in from the pristine mountainous lakes on the Russian-Mongolian boarder; and roast grouse served alongside truffle salads and stuffed artichokes.
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