The banquet - standing the test of time
Banquets date back to the Ancient Greeks where many of the elements of today's banquets were in evidence - drinking wine, conversation, performances and music. Their popularity remains strong to this day, with many weddings and functions that we cater for involving banquet style catering. But why is it so popular?
The word 'banquet' conjures up all sorts of images but above all, we think of 'plentiful' - that's lots of kinds of food, a gathering of people, flowing conversation and drinks, a backdrop of constant music and everything being in plentiful supply and intended to share. And what's nicer than a party that centres around friends and food?
We probably think of historic scenes of kings and queens when we think of a banquet but this type of catering extends beyond royalty. It's a regular theme in academia, government and politics, the business world and of course all kinds of celebrations. At its most basic level, a value for money pub carvery is a sort of mini banquet! This is ironic really as banquets originally served as a way of displaying wealth!
The Independent newspaper ran an interesting article on the highlights of some of the banquets from days gone by. At Nero's Ultimate Orgy (AD64), the menu reportedly included "dormice sprinkled with poppyseed; sows' udders; a hare with wings attached, to represent Pegasus; a calf boiled whole and wearing a helmet; and more than 50 other Roman delicacies". At the Medici Wedding in 1600 there were more than 50 courses but none so surprising as the songbirds that flew out from under the guests' napkins! Nicholas Fouquet, Finance Minister to Louis XIV was imprisoned in 1661 for spending too much of the governments' more on his infamous banquets! As recently as 1995 Francois Mitterrand, the French President, organised a last supper a few days before he died. He included Ortolan in the menu - a tiny endangered bird, no larger than the size of your thumb. It is illegal to eat and diners traditionally cover their heads for the shame of eating it. Marinated in Armagnac and roasted, the bird is eaten whole, bones and all. Mitterand ate two! He died 8 days later.
Now, we promise that our banquets are less dramatic than these accounts but we loved these stories and wanted to share them (in the spirit of a banquet). From us you can expect amazing food, wide varieties of tastes, colours and textures, beautifully presented and, of course, in plentiful supply. No one has ever left any decent banquet hungry - especially ours!