Consommé de Volaille Princesse
Chicken consommé garnished with sautéed asparagus tips,
chicken quenelles and chervil leaves.
Crayfish bisque flavoured with Cognac, white wine and cream; and garnished with chopped crayfish tail.
Barquettes de Caviar
Boat-shaped short-crust pastries filled with caviar atop a dollop of sour cream
Turban de Sole a la Joinville
Platters of poached sole, arranged in a circle atop a bed of truffles and fish forcemeat, that are topped with a garnish of prawns, mushrooms and truffle slices before being dressed in a sauce made from oyster juice, mushroom essence, truffles and thickened with puréed prawn and crayfish meat [named after the Duc de Joinville)
Filet de Bœf a la Printanière
Filets of beef garnished with spring vegetables tossed in butter
Cailles a la Souwarow
Quails stuffed with foie-gras and truffles, splashed with Cognac, and seared in butter before being casseroled with sautéed whole small truffles, Madeira and game stock
Queues de Homard a l’Americaine
Lobster tails poached in white wine and tomato and shallots and dressed in a sauce made from the poaching liquid blended with butter, parsley, cayenne pepper, lobster liver and coral (lobster marrow).
Sorbet au Marasquin
Sorbet flavoured with Maraschino
Poularde Truffée, Salade
Roasted spayed hens with truffle stuffed between the breast and skin with salads
Chaufroid de Caneton a la Russe
Cold duck breasts layered in a white gravy that has been jellied with tarragon and horseradish; and then sealed in a layer of aspic jelly.
Petits Pois a la Française
Baby peas cooked with shredded lettuce and tossed in butter.
Haricots verts au Velouté
Green beans tossed in a veloute sauce
Coupes d’ananas a la Parisienne
Goblets layered in pineapple segments macerated in white rum and topped with vanilla cream
Apricot ice-cream flavoured with kirsch
The music program: “Fanfare du Kremlin” refers to the Kremlin’s 22-member brass-band providing the musical entertainment for this dinner.
Menu dated 17th June 1900
Dinner hosted by Her Serene Highness Princess Maria Tenisheva at the Russian Pavilion, Paris, during the Exposition Universelle.
Parisians were righty proud of the Exposition Universelle of 1900 which attracted 50 million visitors to ogle at such inventions as escalators, ‘talking films’ and a giant telescope. Campbell’s soup even walked away with a boost to its pride, having won the gold medal that still adjourns its tins more than a century later.
But there is one little snippet from the Exposition that no French person cares or dares mention. You see, French pride was dented somewhat when, non non ce n'est pas possible, a Russian Champagne bowled over all the French entries to win the Grand Prix de Champagne.
Indeed, the Russians made quite an impression at the 1900 event thanks to the efforts and organisation of Prince Vladimir Tenishev and his wife, Princess Maria Tenisheva.
The Tenishevs, even by Imperial Russia’s standards, were ridiculously wealthy. The Prince, who the Tsar personally appointed General Manager of the Russian section at the Exposition, had made his fortune in steel, railways, electronics and banking. For her part, his Princess wife played the role of chief philanthropist by sponsoring traditional Russian arts and establishing the Russian Museum of Antiquities.
Her admirers included Rasputin. "Princess Tenisheva", he once telegrammed her, "I rejoice at your frankness. Kisses to my dear one".
When the Tenishevs took charge of the Russian pavilion in Paris, they didn’t house the exhibits in a contemporary makeshift building. Instead a replica Kremlin (fortress) was built on the grounds of the Trocadéro, opposite the Eiffel Tower.
It was here, in June 1900, that Princess Tenisheva hosted this elaborate dinner, featuring the finest Russian caviar which was, no doubt, washed down with the award-winning Russian Champagne that had proven such a showstopper.
Fittingly, the menu’s offerings mixed dishes named after French and Russian historical identities from Russian Generalissimo Prince Suvorov (spelt Souwarow on the menu) to the son of France’s King Louis Philippe I, the Duc de Joinville.
Russian caviar was followed with duck breasts with horseradish; quails with foie-gras and truffles; and lobster in a sauce made from lobster livers. At meal's end came pineapple macerated in white rum with cream.
Princess Tenisheva would find herself back in Paris, on a permanent basis, in 1919 after fleeing the fallout from the Russian Revolution. Strange she chose Litolff's Robespierre Overture for this dinner of pre-revolutionary Russian aristocrats.
The Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900
Photo courtesy: National Gallery of Art, Washington
The dual monogram of Prince Vyacheslav Tenishev and Princess Marie Tenisheva
The venue for this princely banquet was the Russian Pavilion (Palais de l’Asie Russe) at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900
(Photo: National Gallery of Art, Washington).