We’re just a week away from the royal wedding of Prince Harry to actress Meghan Markle (a former Toronto resident!) and speculation is rife as to how their nuptials will unfold. Who will be on the guest list? Any surprises or snubs? What will the bride wear? We can surely count on the usual regal pomp and pageantry. But most importantly (at least in our view), what’s going to be on the royal wedding menu when dinner is served at Windsor Castle?
Unfortunately, only a tiny handful of lucky guests will be there to find out.
But that doesn’t mean that we’re completely lacking details. According to the Royal Family’s official website his Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and his American bride will enjoy a lemon elderflower cake prepared by Britain-based American pastry chef Claire Ptak. Wedding invitations were produced by the printer Barnard & Westwood, while elite British catering firm Table Talk is reported to be handling food catering for this season’s most anticipated event.
The exact details of the menu remain a secret, but the website Quartzy reports that when the couple became engaged, they were allegedly enjoying a quiet night in and roasting chicken for dinner. Is this a hint that poultry will fly its way onto the menu?
Previous royal weddings have included refined dishes such as marinated salmon served with crab, wild langoustines and a fresh herb salad in the case of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 nuptials, according to Food and Wine magazine. That starter course was followed up with an entrée of organic lamb with spring vegetables, English asparagus, potatoes and Windsor sauce.
The website notes that Prince William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II feasted on “Perdreau en Casserole avec Haricots Verts et Pommes Noisette (braised partridge) and Bombe Glacee Princesse Elizabeth (ice cream with strawberries).” In case you’re wondering, it’s a royal tradition to name dishes after the couple-of-honour. That’s the reason why the 1923 wedding of Prince Albert to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (our current queen’s mother) “included a menu of Suprèmes de Saumon (salmon) Reine Mary, Côtelettes d’Agneau (lamb) Prince Albert, Chapons (rooster) á la Strathmore and Fraises (strawberries) Duchesse Elizabeth,” according to Food and Wine.
OK, so you may not have access to some of Europe’s finest chefs and pastry wizards to pull off your own culinary extravaganza—either for a workplace viewing party or if you prefer to take in the festivities with friends at home—as you sit down to watch the latest royal spectacle unfold on May 19th. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat like a commoner! On the contrary, a little thought, kitchen elbow grease and a touch of Britannia-inspired culinary flare can turn your viewing party into a mouth-watering masterpiece. Or you can leave the food preparation to us and focus on entertaining guests while embracing your inner Briton.
Either way, we suggest a version of the high tea party menu we recommended for baby or wedding showers in this recent blog, but with a modern twist, if you so choose.
First, the traditional fare.
These parties are the perfect time to start topping up your tea kettle, dusting off the ‘good’ china and focusing on a little loving formality. How? Adorn your serving dishes with delicious finger sandwiches made of crispy fresh cucumber, accompany them with bites of sockeye salmon and cream cheese, then mix in flavourful turkey or ham finger sandwiches. Complete your service with sweet treats such as scones and jam, rich clotted cream and tender crumpets.
Prefer to take this traditional menu into the 21st century? Substitute prosciutto for the ham and turkey, or add in grilled zucchini, peppers and squash with crumbled goat’s cheese for Mediterranean-inspired sandwich delights. We also love the idea of including savoury bites such as sausage rolls, mini quiche tartlets and smoked trout blinis on the menu, while pairing English crumpets with Franco-inspired faves such as petit fours and macaroons—much to the delight of your sweet-toothed guests.
Of course, you could also seek informal inspiration from the Royals themselves. Food and Wine reports that Prince Edward (the Queen’s fourth and final child, in case you’ve lost count) and his wife Sophie Rhys-Jones opted for a buffet dinner for their 1999 wedding, complete with smoked haddock in pastry, beef stroganoff and a simple-yet-elegant dessert of raspberries in cream. The minimalist menu even eschewed the traditional wedding gateau for devil’s food cake. And they even managed to avoid scandalizing the family name while doing it!
There are many ways you can approach a royal-themed party. As we always recommend, be sure to live and love the moment, enjoy spending time with friends and loved ones and cross your fingers. Maybe your name will appear on the guest list for the next royal wedding!
Fia Pagnello, founder
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