HOW TO HOST YOUR OWN MEDIEVAL BANQUET…
When planning to host your very own Medieval Banquet there are a few essential ingredients that are not difficult to do and yet will create an experience out-of-time that will wow your guests.
Firstly, the table setting…. What “goes” and what are the “nos”?
When setting a table for a medieval banquet here are a few ideas to enhance the look:
- Use a plain white table cloth.
- Candles! Candles are a must because they create a wonderful ambience. Cream coloured candles (sometimes called “church” candles) are available from many discount shops.
- Wrought iron candlesticks or candelabras look fabulous.
- Knife – steak knives with wooden handles work well
- Spoon – an essential (remember there were no forks in Medieval Europe)
- Plate – now for a plate you may wish to use a simple terracotta platter or even better why not use a trencher. “A what??,” you say! A trencher is a large flat plate made out of bread, like a large flat bread roll cut in half.
- Don’t forget a LARGE cloth serviette… there is a lot of use of fingers when eating a medieval banquet, so a large serviette is essential.
- And finally small dishes (pottery) for pepper and salt.
Now the table is set and looking impressively medieval we need to turn our attention to the menu. Foods that should not have a place on a medieval menu are POTATOES… also corn (maize), tomatoes and pumpkins. All these foods were products of the Americas and were not introduced to the European table until the very end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance.
So what can be included in your menu to make it uniquely medieval? Why not try venison pies, or baked lamb shanks in a rich red wine gravy, or spiced roast pork with pomegranate gravy. Or you could try baked fish with a white wine parsley sauce…
For vegetables you could include candied carrots with cinnamon and honey, baked stuffed mushrooms, buttered cauliflower, green peas cooked in a broth or honeyed parsnips or turnips.
Other suggestions include mushroom and cheese pies, vegetable pastries, asparagus egg tart and assorted cheeses, nuts and fruit.
Forsooth! I forgot the sweets! What delicacies did they eat in the Middle Ages? How about treacle tarts with rose water? You may wish to try pears cooked in honey, wine and spices or baked apple and custard pies.
And finally, what do you drink? There are all sorts of drinks for a banquet – wine, beer, ales, mead, elder wine and cider.
But firstly, before they’re sold out, why not book yourself a ticket to the medieval banquet for the real experience, and then have fun recreating the scene in your own home!