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The King’s Ransom: What Medieval Kings Ate

These days, it’s relatively easy to find a medieval theme restaurant no matter what city you’re in. These are the establishments that usually offer dinner and a show, which can run the gamut from jousting and poetry to a play with audience participation. In all medieval theme restaurants, there is one constant: the food. No matter if what location you’ve decided to visit, the meal will generally revolve around hunks of hearty bread, waxy wheels of cheese, and a dripping joint of largely unflavored meat.

While kings did in fact eat all three of these items on occasion, they were heavily supplemented with lighter and more elegant fare. Dishes were designed to have the sophistication befitting royalty, and were rarely savage or overly rustic. If you were attending a royal medieval feast, here are some of the dishes you could expect to be served.

1. Fruit

stencil.blog-post-imageBecause medieval fruit trees had not yet undergone as much genetic engineering as modern trees do, yields were rather small and seasonally limited. This meant that fruit was in a constant state of scarcity, making it the perfect food for a king. Fruits like apples and peaches were often enjoyed unaltered.

 

 

2. Meat

stencil.blog-post-image (1)While kings did in fact eat a lot of meat, their selection of types of preparations was vast. Meats could be seafood, livestock, or game, and they could be prepared by roasting, stewing, and even frying. Special occasions were marked by rare meats like peacock.

 

 

 

3. Sweets

stencil.blog-post-image (2)Because Europe had limited trade with tropical climate countries, sugar was a great commodity. For this reason, sweets were frequently served to kings as a delicacy. Tarts, pies, and cakes were all often presented throughout the meal.

In other words, kings mostly ate anything that was tasty as well as rare. Their diets varied with the location of their domains, but could always be counted on to represent the finest quality of ingredients and cooking.