“500 ans de RenaissanceS”: a feast fit for you (and a king)!

The table is set and the beef roasted to perfection... the pie has just come out of the oven and the king will make his entrance any moment now. Welcome to the Loire Valley and Villandry Chateau, where France.fr cordially invites you to a Renaissance banquet. May the festivities commence!

From starter to dessert

In the Renaissance, fruits changed from starters to desserts. They were always beautifully presented and often placed on the table as soon as the meal began.

From starter to dessert

In the Renaissance, fruits changed from starters to desserts. They were always beautifully presented and often placed on the table as soon as the meal began.

Back then, a meal was a true spectacle. The tablecloth, for example, was a way to show off your wealth, as were the number of platters of meat placed on the table, and the metal used in the cutlery.

Pies and vegetables

Renaissance tables overflowed with pies and various pâtés. The Renaissance was also when root vegetables came back into fashion, which up until then had been solely peasant fare.

Spices

Spices – rare and expensive – were also a symbol of wealth. Forks were mainly used to pick food from the platter: it was then customary to eat with the fingers, even at the king’s table.

Spices

Spices – rare and expensive – were also a symbol of wealth. Forks were mainly used to pick food from the platter: it was then customary to eat with the fingers, even at the king’s table.

Delicious poultry

Meat held pride of place on Renaissance dinner tables. It wasn’t unusual to be served several meat courses in a row. Favourites included pheasants, geese, and other large birds which were often presented cooked and then positioned in their natural form.

Bread as a plate

In the early Renaissance, food was served on big slices of bread. This practice gradually gave way to plates. Towels were tied around diners’ necks to protect their collars.

Bread as a plate

In the early Renaissance, food was served on big slices of bread. This practice gradually gave way to plates. Towels were tied around diners’ necks to protect their collars.

Dinner is served!

In the early Renaissance dinner was served on great boards set upon a trestle. This meant that the table could be set up anywhere in the chateau. Gradually, this style of dining inherited from the Middle Ages gave way to real, fixed wooden tables.

The sugar craze

Sugar was one of the Renaissance’s great culinary discoveries. Diners were treated to choux pastry, fruit tarts, stewed fruits, and other compotes. Preserves were also catching on, as seen in the Treatise on Jam by the famous doctor and astrologist, Nostradamus.

Auvergne and Brie Cheeses

Auvergne and Brie cheeses were the most popular. Cheese was eaten at the end of the meal, alongside dessert, fruit, and other sweet dishes.

Villandry Chateau is the last of the great Loire Valley chateaux. It was erected in 1536 by Jean Le Breton, François I’s minister of finance. Its typically French style comes in sharp contrast to its contemporaries, like Chambord or Azay-le-Rideau, which show an Italian influence. But Villandry is best known for its gardens. Indeed, the chateau has six, spread across four terraces, with colours that change with the seasons.