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The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe
College of the Pacific Faculty Books and Book Chapters
  • Ken Albala, University of the Pacific
Document Type

A history of cooking and fine dining in Western Europe from 1520 to 1660

The importance of the banquet in the late Renaissance is impossible to overlook. Banquets showcased a host’s wealth and power, provided an occasion for nobles from distant places to gather together, and even served as a form of political propaganda. But what was it really like to cater to the tastes and habits of high society at the banquets of nobles, royalty, and popes? What did they eat and how did they eat it?

In The Banquet, Ken Albala covers the transitional period between the heavily spiced and colored cuisine of the Middle Ages and classical French haute cuisine. This development involved increasing use of dairy products, a move toward lighter meats such as veal and chicken, increasing identification of national food customs, more sweetness and aromatics, and a refined aesthetic sense, surprisingly in line with the late-Renaissance styles found in other arts.

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Publication Date
University of Illinois Press
  • Food Studies
Citation Information
Ken Albala. The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe. Urbana, IL(2007) p. 1 - 223
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