Dinner With Louis

If you were lucky (?) enough to be invited to feast with the ravenous King Louis XIV, what would you be expected to eat?



Well, here’s a peek at a Sun King party menu that was recreated by chefs at the Palace of Versailles in 2010. A word of advice for those who dine: wear your stretchiest lockdown pants.

First Service

Les Hors d’œuvre

Royal ballotine of pheasant

Petit pâté en croûte à la bourgeoise

Fresh deep-sea oysters

Lobster aspic chaud-froid


Les Potages

Beef madrilène with gold leaf spangles

Pureed chestnut soup with truffles from the Court of Italy

Bisque of shellfish from our coasts with a boletus infusion

Pumpkin soup, fresh from the royal vegetable garden


Second Service

Les Rôts

Scallops with oyster liquor

Wild duck cromesquis à la Villeroy

Hare stew

Roast beef, carrots and smoked eel

Wild salmon au sel


Réception du Grand Condé par Louis XIV (Versailles, 1674). Jean-Léon Gérôme. 1878


Third Service

Les Entremets

Green and fresh herb salad in gold leaf

Rice salad à la royale

Morel soufflé

Iced cheese

Hard-boiled egg

As you stumbled towards Last Service, you might spy the unusual, last (phew!) dish: an Edible Candle. First, though, you’d need to select your dessert from the Fruit course.

Much of the ‘Fruit’ for Louis XIV was harvested from his thousands of palace trees. One of his favourite ways to serve it? In jams spooned carefully into a long row of carved silver dishes. But which flavour jam to choose? Orange, apple, pear, fig, grape…?

As you can imagine, and as science confirms, all this jam choice could be overwhelming. Indeed, in a 21stCentury study, Stanford University’s Mark Lepper and Columbia’s Sheena Iyengar found that too much choice can be overwhelming and demotivating.


From Woven Gold. Tapestries of Louis XIV @ The Getty Museum.2015


In their well-controlled field experiments, Lepper and Iyengar found that people were significantly more likely to buy gourmet jam when they were limited to 6 choices than when they were faced with 24 to 30 varieties.

‘Study 1 showed that although more consumers were attracted to a tasting booth when the display included 24 flavors of jam rather than 6, consumers were subsequently much more likely to purchase jam if they had encountered the display of only 6 jams.’

These limited jam choice buyers also reported being more satisfied with their purchases.

So, know you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed when Louis expects you to somehow choose between silver-nestled jam after jam after jam.

Header: Louis XIV et la famille royale. Jean Nocret. 1670




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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton