Food News

The royal wedding menu: the details to date

It's the most anticipated feast of the year, and right royally so.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

As we inch toward Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s much-anticipated nuptials this Saturday 19 May, more details of the day are beginning to unfold from the ceremony minutiae to the wedding party invitees.

However, aside from confirmation of the wedding cake flavour (lemon and elderflower, made by pastry chef Claire Ptak of London’s Violet bakery), Kensington Palace is keeping mum on the specifics of the menu – and unfortunately the full details are not something we’re going to find out until well after the celebration rice is thrown.

The Palace hasn’t left us completely in the dark, however, sharing pictures of how preparations for the royal feast have been shaping up on their official Instagram page. This has not only given us a glimpse into the working kitchens of Windsor Castle, but also a taste of how this soirée might play out on the night.

The set up

Kensington Palace has confirmed the newly wedded couple will hold two separate receptions after the ceremony: one for all of the 600 guests present at the wedding, which will be hosted by The Queen at St George’s Hall, and one for 200 of the couple’s closest friends and family, hosted by Prince Charles at Frogmore House. The first reception is likely to include canapés and drinks, while the second will be a formal dinner.

Royal wedding dinners usually consist of canapés or hors d’œuvres, a first course or an entrée, a main course, dessert and a post-dinner selection of coffee, tea and cheese.

The head chef

This week Kensington Palace announced Mark Flanagan, head chef of The Royal Household, will be taking the lead for the menu on the day. Working out of the kitchens at Windsor Castle, Flanagan and his team have been devising the menu since March, shortly after the engagement was announced.

“All the staff are delighted to be involved on the day. We’ve even had old staff contacting us if we need some extra support,” Flanagan says.

Mark Flanagan, head chef of The Royal Household. Image courtesy of Kensington Palace.

The ingredients

As the bride ran her own food and lifestyle blog, The Tig, up until recently, it’s no surprise she’s taking a keen interest in the finer details of her reception menu. Markle, who’s written about the importance of eating organic, has reportedly had a hand in steering the catering towards local options.

“Luckily the seasons have just fallen perfectly and that’s become the main focus in the decision-making of the menus,” Flanagan says of the seasonal produce on offer, which will be sourced from Her Majesty’s estates and farms across counties such as Kent.

Some shots released of the kitchen’s preparations have shown staff working with potatoes, tomatoes and asparagus, indicating a vegetable-heavy bill of fare.

The royal couple have been heavily involved in the menu’s creation, attending several tasting trials held in Windsor Castle’s kitchen where they sampled possible dishes.

“They were all their decisions,” says Flanagan. “We purely made suggestions and they’ve tasted everything. They’ve been involved in every detail.”

The dessert

Pastry chef Selwyn Stoby will be working his magic on the day. While not confirmed, a favourite sweet served at receptions throughout the year at Windsor Castle are chocolate truffles, involving a fine chocolate shell filled with a “special chocolate sauce”.

Windsor Castle has hinted this popular sweet may make an appearance on the royal wedding day.

Chef Selwyn Stoby. Image courtesy of Kensington Palace.

The drinks

For the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s 2011 wedding, the Palace served three French wines during dinner – a 2009 Domaine Guyot-Javillier Meursault, a 2004 L’Hospitalet de Gazin Pomerol, and a Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne. This was in addition to the event’s official Champagne by Pol Roger.

As of yet, there’s no word on which house Harry and Meghan will choose for the official bottle of bubbles but there’s likely to a high-quality selection of drinks on offer including spirits, cocktails and wine.

The kitchens at Windsor castle. Image courtesy of Kensington Palace.

With mere days until the event kicks off, the heat is on in the kitchens. So how do the staff cope with such pressure?

“You approach every Royal event with the same care and attention to detail,” explains Stoby. “But you don’t get many opportunities to do a royal wedding in your lifetime, so this is very special.”

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