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Love is in the Air!
Posted: April 17, 2011
The Wedding of HRH Prince William to Catherine Middleton
Royal wedding mania is hitting our streets once again - and I for one, just love it! The last time that we enjoyed anything similar was ironically the marriage of William's parents, Prince Charles and Lady Dianna Spencer back in 1981. But this time around, things will be very different, after all this is a time of austerity and a conspicuous display of wealth and extravagance would be wholly inappropriate.
Having said that, this is indeed a momentous occasion and a spectacle is expected by the world's media. And if there is one thing that we are particularly good at in Great Britain, if's putting on a spectacular Royal pageant. This one I am quite sure, will not disappoint!
The Formal Wedding Reception
But for me and all of you foodies out there, I want to know about the food that the lucky 600 invitees will be tucking into! Mark Flanagan the Head Chef at Buckingham Palace is being a little tight lipped about the menu for the reception, but what we do know is that the guests will be tucking into an array of magnificent hot and cold canapés, both sweet and savory. These will feature the best of British produce much of which will come directly from the Monarch's estates.
It strikes me that William and Kate are intending to show the world that they are a thoroughly modern couple. No stuffy, formal sit-down meal for them, unlike those who have gone before! Here is just a taste of what was favored by some of our previous Monarchs:
PREVIOUS ROYAL WEDDING BREAKFASTS
VICTORIA & ALBERT 1840
While details of the wedding breakfast are scant, we can assume an elaborate menu of at least 10 courses, written in French as is the royal banqueting custom, and promising such gastronomic delights as cod with oyster sauce, roast leg of lamb, ballotines of duck with Cumberland sauce, pheasant with potato ribbons, pastries with fruit and chocolate profiteroles
DUKE OF YORK (later King George VI) TO LADY ELIZABETH BOWES-LYON 1923
It took five proposals before Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the Queen Mother) agreed to wed 'Bertie', Duke of York and the future King George VI. Coy and reticent or high maintenance, you decide! Her choice of wedding breakfast might hint at the latter! The ceremony at Westminster Abbey was followed by a sumptuous wedding breakfast, regal by both name and nature, which included Consommé à la Windsor, Suprème de Saumon Reine Mary, Côtelettes d'Agneau Prince Albert, Chapons à la Strathmore, and Fraises Duchesse Elizabeth. Several ornately decorated wedding cakes were created for the occasion, with the nine-foot high, 800-pound centre piece supplied by McVitie and Price, of HobNobs fame. It is not known whether there was a gin and Dubonnet free bar!
PRINCESS ELIZABETH (the current Queen Elizabeth) TO LIEUTENANT PHILIP MOUNTBATTEN 1947
The wedding breakfast was held in the Ball Supper Room at Buckingham Palace, an homage of courses commencing with Filet de Sole Mountbatten, then Perdreau en Casserole (braised partridge) and finally Bombe Glacée Princess Elizabeth.
PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA SPENCER 1981
After the ceremony in St. Paul's Cathedral came the famous balcony kiss at Buckingham Palace and a traditional royal wedding breakfast for just 120 family members and friends. Dishes included brill in lobster sauce, chicken breasts garnished with lamb mousse and strawberries with Cornish cream, all served on golden plates and washed down with finest claret and port.
The groom's ceremonial sword was then used to cut the first slice of a five-tiered wedding cake adorned with emblems from his Naval days, sugar doves, and a confection of roses, lilies of the valley, fuchsias and orchids accenting an ornamental 'C' and 'D'.
Charles & Dianna's Wedding Cake
THE FORMAL WEDDING CAKE
Little known master baker Fiona Cairns has been appointed to construct a whopping, seven tier traditional fruit cake, with a contemporary twist. It will be adorned by hand crafted sugar confections that speak "the language of flowers", a mode of communication much favored by the Victorians who were not renowned for their openness when it came to emotion and expressions of love! The bridal rose represents happiness, the acorn strength & endurance, the lily of the valley humility & sweetness. It will indeed be sight to behold. MORE INFORMATION
THE EVENING DISCO PARTY
Once the formalities of the daytime celebrations are out of the way, the tiaras will come off and William & Kate's evening disco party featuring the music of the 80's will begin. Again little is known about the menu (which is assumed to be in casual buffet style), but we do know that William has commissioned biscuit manufacturer McVities to make a special Chocolate Refrigerator Cake. Made to a Buckingham Palace recipe, this is reputed to be a favorite of Williams. MORE INFORMATION
Here in the UK, the event is being celebrated with an additional Public Holiday on Friday 29th April......which means that we can all enjoy this momentous celebration in the way that we choose. But of course no large scale British celebration will be complete without the traditional 'tea party' - and they are cropping up everywhere! Public parks, streets and other venues will be playing host to to the happy couple. It's all a very British affair, but wherever you are in the world, I hope that you too will enjoy this wonderful occasion!