Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Royal Gastronomy

Royalty have their image on stamps and commemorative items. Some more notable royals have buildings, docks, and streets that bear their names. At one point it was even fashionable to honor royalty, by naming a food dish after them. Although some of the stories behind the names of these items are unsubstantiated, here are some examples I've located:

Many dishes are named for Queen Victoria: Victoria Pea, Victoria Plum, Victoria Apple, including sole, eggs, salad, a garnish, several sauces, a cherry spice cake, a bombe, and small tarts. The Victoria sponge cake (or Victorian Sandwich, Victorian Cake) was so named because the Queen was known to enjoy a slice with her afternoon tea.

Prince Albert: Albert Sauce, Filet of Beef Prince Albert, Prince Albert Pea, Cobourg Loaf and the Prince Albert Apple. The Apple, thought to have originated in Berkhampstead, Herts, raised by Mr Thomas Squire, as a cross between Russet Nonpareil and Dumelow's Seedling and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who reputedly visited Berkhampstead on the very day that Mr Squire planted his seedling in his garden. He initially named the apple tree Victoria and Albert. However it was renamed Prince Albert some time later when it was grown commercially.

Like his parents, Edward VII had several foods named for him: Poularde Eduoard VII, King Edward VII Potato, and the King Edward VII Apple. Possibly the most famous example is Crepes Suzette. Said to have been created for then-Prince of Wales Edward VII on 31 January, 1896, at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo. When the prince ordered a special dessert for himself and a young female companion, Henri Charpentier, produced the flaming crepe dish. Edward reportedly asked that the dessert be named after his companion Suzette (reportedly the daughter of a friend) rather than himself.

Battenburg Cake: Supposedly named in honor of the marriage of Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt to Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. A two colored, chequered sponge cake, four quarters of sponge honour the four Battenberg princes, Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis. During the war with Germany the family decided it should anglicize its name in the face of anti-German feeling and the Battenberg family name was changed to Mountbatten, thankfully the cake kept its original Battenberg name.

Pizza Margherita: This pizza is dedicated to Queen Margherita of Savoy. She was interested in the popular dish that her French chefs could not prepare so the famous "pizzaiolo" Raffaele Esposito was invited to court and suggested three pizzas, this one reflecting the colours of the Italian Sabauda flag, the Marinara and a white cheese pizza. Garlic, considered improper for the delicate palate of the Queen was avoided. So on the 11th June 1889 Pizza became a dish fit for Royalty.

Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother: Queen Mother's Cake. The story is that Jan Smeterlin, the eminent Polish pianist, loved to cook. And he collected recipes. This is one that was given to him on a concert tour in Austria.When the Queen Mother was invited to tea at the home of the Smeterlins, the hostess baked the cake according to Smeterlin's recipe. The Queen Mother loved it and asked for the recipe. Then--as the story goes--she served it often at her royal parties. Including the time she invited the Smeterlins to her home.

Some other examples of food named for royalty:

Queen Alexandra: Gâteau Alexandra, consommé Alexandra, soup, sole, chicken quail

Consommé Princess Alice: Named for Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters.

Christian IX (of Denmark) cheese: also called Danbo. Named after the "Grandfather of Europe"

Queen Charlotte (wife of George III): Apple Charlotte, named in her honor because she was a supporter of apple growers.

Queen of Sheba Cake (or Reine de Saba)

Consommé Marie Stuart: Named after Mary, Queen of Scots

Queen Mary (consort of King George V): Twinings Queen Mary tea

Prince of Wales Twinings tea

© Marilyn Braun 2006


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. I was amazed to know that there were so many food items named after Edward VIII. He is perhaps my most favorite character in British Royal family.

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting article, thank you for sharing.

I always find it interesting to learn about a food's origin-- I never knew that was the reason for the name "Pizza Margherita". I always thought it had somehing to do with a location in Italy.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm... any posts about food are good posts indeed.

I actually stopped by yesterday and saw this post... and it inspired me to write about the Crepe Suzette over at my blog (

Now I'm dying to try that Price of Wales tea. I thought I'd tried every flavor out there, but I guess not yet...

Bk30 said...

The Battenberg Cake, what an interesting way to leave a legacy and cause me to crave something sweet. Mayhap I can wash it down with some "Earl Grey", my favorite of the twinning line.

Bill Fullerton said...

Okay, Marilyn, now you've gone and "flung a craving on me." Fascinating (and well written) bits of tasty history. Bayou Bill

Anonymous said...

I had no idea just how many foods had been named after royalty. Thanks for the info!

Now off to find a snack...

Fourteen Year Old Writer said...

Wow. There are many royal foods. Seeing as I'm a picky eater, I don't eat any of them, but interesting nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

That pizza looks sooooo good. I had no idea it was named after royalty. I also thought it was a location or something.

Oh man, now I want pizza. Unfortunately, while we can get "pizza" here, it's hardly Pizza. *sigh*

Mad Scientist Matt said...

Wow. The only one on that list that I have tried is the Pizza Margherita, and like D.T. Kelly, I had no idea it was named for royalty. Looks like I need to try some more of these - would you happen to have any recipes by any chance?

Marilyn Braun said...

There are LOTS of recipes on the internet. I haven't tried any of them so I can't vouch for a particular one. If I was going to try something it would probably be the Battenberg Cake. I get hungry just looking at the picture.

Anonymous said...

Oh this post is so not fair! Now I'm hungry LOL. you obviously put a lot of time into this. How fantastic!

Anonymous said...

"Anche Regina Margherita mangia pollo con le dita" --even Queen Margherita eats chicken with her fingers, said in order to excuse that habit at the table. She must have been very popular!