Renaissance banquet

From the mid-fourteenth century to the early seventeenth century, the idea of banquets as a particular form of festivity flourished in Renaissance Europe. It began as a specifically secular celebration. As a lavish, ceremonial meal in honor of an individual or occasion, the new banquet observed no periodicity and its consumption tended toward a demonstration of wealth and power.

Renaissance banquet

The banquet, as a particular form of festivity, flourished in Renaissance Europe from the mid-fourteenth century to the early seventeenth century. As a lavish, ceremonial meal in honor of an individual or exceptional occasion, such as a wedding, the new Renaissance banquet observed no such periodicity, and in its conspicuous consumption tended toward a blatant demonstration of wealth and power.

It was distinguished not only by its extravagance and ostentatious scale but also by its theatricality and use of symbolism.

About Renaissance Banquet

Usually held on a relevant saint's day, these were not only a ritual celebration but also a demonstration of goodwill. Origins and Etymology Renaissance banquet, extravagant, ceremonial meals had been offered before the adoption of the word "banquet.

Nevertheless, the "banquet" must have differed in some way if a new word had to be brought into the language. Initially, it appears, the banquet was a lavish meal presented in a different style, with various dishes set out on a long table, as would be a buffet today.

Both the term and the event had their origins in fourteenth-century Italy. The Italian word banchetto derives from banco, 'a long bench or table'.

The French term banquet, which entered common usage around the middle of the fifteenth century, and the Spanish banquete documented early sixteenth century were both borrowed from the Italian; in England the word "banketti," derived directly from the Italian, predated the French term banquet, adopted early in the sixteenth century.

Renaissance Banquets

By this time the form of the banquet had evolved considerably, according to the accounts of Christoforo di Messisbugo, and included theatrical and musical performances.

In his capacity as steward at the court of the dukes of Este, Messisbugo orchestrated many banquets and in his book, Banchetti: Compositioni di vivande et apparecchio generalehe describes, in unparalleled detail, the management and staging of these lavish, formal, ceremonial feasts, from the setting of the tables with several tablecloths and ornamental figures of sugar or marzipan to the accompanying music and the dances performed during the course of the meal.

In sixteenth-century England the banquet evolved in two different directions. As well as an opulent and stage-managed feast, it became an elaboration of what had previously been the final course of a grand dinner, the dessert, an array of sweetmeats often served in purpose-built banqueting houses in the parks of great houses, or in an outside arbor or summerhouse.

Renaissance banquet

Banquet Food One of the most striking features of banquet food was the presence of sugar, for both visual and symbolic effect, the lavish use of this expensive ingredient underlining the host's magnificence. The banquet menus appended to the printed edition of the Viandier of Taillevent c.

Originally compiled in the fourteenth century and attributed to the royal chef Taillevent, Le Viandier represents one of the few records of the cuisine of medieval northern France.

The late-fifteenth-century printed edition contains additional material not included in the early manuscripts. The chapter titled "Banqueting and made dishes with other conceits and secrets" in Gervase Markham's The English Hus-wife is composed of recipes for essentially sweet dishes such as fruit tarts, marmalades, preserves, marzipan, and jelly.

Sugar was used in dishes such as jellies, blancmange, and quince paste, and on dishes such as fritters and pies Italian torte. It was an essential ingredient in the candied nuts and spices offered at the end of the meal, in jewel-like glazed fruits often hung on miniature trees of silver, and in decorative marzipan figures and in sculpted sugar table ornaments.

For a banquet given by don Ercole, son of the duke of Ferrara, to a group of nobles including his father, Messisbugo ordered a sugar model of Hercules and the lion, colored and gilded, to decorate the table; with the final course of confetti came more sugar models representing Hercules defeating the bull, together with Venus, Cupid, Eve, and other mythical figures.

Because the banquet was itself an exceptional meal, banquet food had to be out of the ordinary out-of-season asparagus, gilded and silvered calves' heads.

This typically translated as the most prestigious, most expensive ingredients—meats such as veal and capons—prepared in the most elaborate, spicy ways so as to emphasize the art and skill of the cooks which, in turn, reflected glory back on the reputation of the family.

It also meant many services, each usually composed of several dishes, although it was not expected that everyone would eat something from every service—dishes were to be admired as much as consumed.Centrally located in the beautiful and historic St Katharine Docks alongside the River Thames, just a two minute walk from Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

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