Recently I was honoured to be asked to create an Elizabethan sugar banquet for The BBC. The banquet features in one of a two-part series: Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family.
Danny Dyer invites his family including his daughter Dani who was crowned the winner of Love Island, Summer 2018.
So what is an Elizabethan Sugar Banquet?
Sugar was hugely expensive in Tudor times and considered an expensive luxury and was very much a statement of nobility, wealth and power.
A high status commodity being more expensive than honey was used to showcase elaborate dishes and also combined with almonds made into a paste called Marchpane (marzipan is the modern version). This was coloured and moulded to emulate savoury dishes like our bacon & eggs, pictured in the gallery below.
Tables were laid out with miniature parterre gardens (pictured below), an abundance of fruit, biscuits, milk jellies, preserves and many other delicacies, many of which were gilded with gold leaf. The banquet would always have a huge carved sugar centrepiece from pastillage, replicating a pillared manor house. For our banquet producers used a swan.
This programme was filmed in the height of Summer, so not only did the Dyers enjoy the feast, but also a huge army of hundreds of wasps! Many challenges were faced, but the results were stunning.