Recreating a 14th-Century Feast Fit for a Czech King

What did King Charles IV eat? The Czech National Culinary Team will show us at this year’s Prague Food Festival

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 17.05.2016 10:05 (updated on 17.05.2016)

The 700th birthday of the greatest Czech ever was Saturday, but a wealth of commemorative exhibits will take place throughout the year, giving us a glimpse into different aspects of the life of King Charles IV from what he built to how he looked.

What he ate, too: At this year’s Prague Food Festival the Czech National Culinary team will recreate the Holy Roman Emperor’s eating habits, a treat for fans of 14th-century gastronomy.

The meal will be “inspired by the important ruler” but modern in design, using contemporary ingredients to capture the spirit of the era, says team manager Tomáš Popp.

Recreating a 14th-Century Feast Fit for a Czech King

From their stand in the Royal Gardens, this group of the nation’s top chefs will serve a medieval menu of roasted fallow-deer loin with carrot purée, venison blood sausage, and lots of crayfish including terrine of crayfish and a grilled pike-perch with crayfish foam. Sea buckthorn ice cream is for dessert.

When asked exactly what Charles IV and his entourage would have dined on at court, Popp says:

“Cuisine of the reign of Charles IV could be called European. Thanks to several years of staying at the French court and frequent visits to Italy, receptions organized by the emperor were reflecting components of both of these cuisines.”

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Recreating a 14th-Century Feast Fit for a Czech King

He adds that meat, venison, and fish specialties such as crawfish, comprised a typical 14th-century feast. Bread was the most common side dish.

A characteristic feature of the cuisine of the era was an abundant use of spices as salt and sugar were scarce.

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A wine pairing is planned as well. “The emporer was a wine lover and expert who established vineyards in Prague in 1358,” says Popp.

Recreating a 14th-Century Feast Fit for a Czech King

Beer was an equally popular medieval beverage. It was weaker than today and flavoured with raspberry, wormwood, and pimpernel. Water, if served at all, was laced with wine in an effort to combat contamination.

The Charles IV feast can be found at the Czech Tourism booth at the Prague Food Festival (May 27-29), now in its tenth year. The Czech National Culinary team will also present their Charles IV menu at the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, this October.

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