Belated congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their amazing nuptials last month; we can’t have been the only ones preparing our whole Saturday in advance, so we could take in the entire occasion on our TVs. And we weren’t disappointed were we?
We now know everything about the dress, the flowers, the guests (all 600 of them), but here at the Green Owl Canteen, we wanted to know about the food. We were delighted that the wedding reception was a buffet. We all like a formal dinner now and then, but let’s face it, the mix and mingle just can’t happen as the happy couple is captive at the top table, and only those nearby have a look-in. This departure from the royal norm enabled Meghan and Harry to spend a little time with more people.
Guests were served an assortment of bowl food including 10-hour slow roasted Windsor pork belly with apple compôte and crackling, and fricassee of free-range chicken with morel mushrooms and leeks. The canapés include Scottish langoustine wrapped in smoked salmon with citrus crème fraîche, grilled English asparagus wrapped in Cumbrian ham, garden pea panna cotta with quail eggs and lemon verbena, croquette of confit Windsor Lamb, roasted vegetables and shallot jam. The wedding cake, a lemon and elderflower sponge, was made by Claire Ptak.
When Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005, this too was an informal stand-up-and-wander-around affair. As you would expect, the theme was quintessentially British with egg and cress, smoked salmon and roast venison sandwiches, mini Cornish pasties and grilled vegetable tartlets. How different this was to his first marriage to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. It was very formal and their menu in keeping with the traditions of previous royal weddings. Dishes were named after members of the monarchy including ‘Supreme de Volaille Princess de Galles’ and ‘Princess of Wales chicken supreme’.
In 1947, when Charles’s parents, Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, were married the wedding breakfast although very formal, reflected a post-war Britain. Partridge casserole, green beans and an ice cream bombe would still have been regarded as gourmet food, but the menu demonstrated economy and restraint.
The most recent royal wedding, and the one that has drawn the most comparisons, was that of Harry’s brother, Prince William, to Catherine Middleton in 2011. Some said their menu was like a boutique gastro-pub meal, but having seen the selection of Lyme Bay crab, wild Hebridean langoustines, Highgrove spring vegetables and Saddle of North Highland Mey, we’d quite like to visit that gastro pub now!