Renaissance Wedding Feasts

Food and Wine

Feasts would be held to celebrate a wedding, whether the bride and groom were peasants or came from nobility. Guests would eat with their fingers and dine on a variety of fare. Some of the food that could have been served at a Renaissance marriage feast include: Quail, goose, venison, roasted boar (sanglier), fish, roasted peacock, mutton, cheeses, nuts, fresh fruits, oysters steamed in almond milk, stewed cabbage, tarts and custards, and spicy mulled wine.

Apples were the only cultivated fruit, but others could be found. Wild fruits like pears, quinces, and even peaches were served on some medieval tables. Strawberries raspberries, red currants could be found in the woods. Nobility could afford exotic foods like dates and pistachio nuts.

Many kinds of vegetables were known during this era, but few were eaten. Vegetables of this period include: carrots, cabbage, lettuce, leeks, cardoons, onions, shallots, parsley and asparagus.

Wedding parties would drink water, ale, beer, mead, milk, and wine. Fruit juices made from cherries, sloes, and mulberries may have been available, but most of them would have been fermented. Wine was believed to nourish the body, restore health, aid digestion, clarify ideas, open the arteries, cure melancholy and help in procreation.

Flavors of the Renaissance

Food would be seasoned with cloves, cinnamon, saffron, mace, pepper, ginger, anise, and nutmeg. Salt was the most common flavoring, and was also used to preserve foods. Herbs like basil, parsley, basil, and rosemary were used in preparing foods. Sauces could be made from ground spices and herbs mixed with wine. Mustard was the most popular sauce.

Table Etiquette

Ceremony dictated proper ways to service a Renaissance table. Squires learned every aspect from the carving of the meat to correct placement and order of dishes on the table.