Food & Beverage

The menu of a Renaissance Emperor

The menu of a Renaissance Emperor
Ignacio Zara
Charles V diet

Charles V diet

Charles V (Gante (Belgium), 24 February 1500 – Yuste (Spain), 21 September 1558) was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his eldest son Philip II of Spain in 1556.

It’s so strange than a king abdicated that we must answer: Why?

The reason he did was he was ill and tired. Charles V suffered from gout because of his excesses in eating. He ate in an exaggerated form for the customs of today but, in fact, he ate as whatever prince of his time.

After his abdication, he went to a monastery in the Southwest of Spain (Yuste) to relax and to prepare his soul to die. Few things, even little jewelry, and no more than 50 servants (including his bodyguards), he wanted to be humble and to gain Heaven. However, he continued eating in a crazy way, dying for his excess and without understanding the reason of his sufferings (dietitians didn’t exist and his doctors never advised him to change his diet).

Letters and more letters existed about the subject. His valet insisted on satisfy Carlos V’s likes.

He liked the ham of Montánchez, and he was constantly eating it, the same as fruit. Then, a pork leg and a big basket of fruits were always near him.

Fish of all the seas, the birds most renowned in Europe, meats, and canned food never missing from the pantry of that monastery. Kitchens worked all day and at night he had great dinner parties.

We know some recipes of this ambient of gluttony. Here, the most peculiar:

Emperor’s Fritters:

You will tread with a fork fresh cheese; you will mix with egg white; you will add flour and pine nuts. Afterwards, small balls of this mass will be fried in hot oil. When you retire the fritters, spread some sugar.

Eel pie:

Wash and skin the eels and remove the heads and tails. Afterwards, let them soak a while in salt water and make the fish stock with the heads and tails.

Cut the eels into pieces and put them in the bottom of a pie dish with the chopped onion and parsley and season with pepper, salt and nutmeg.

Roll the pastry and make a thick lid with a small hole in it and glaze with beaten egg.

Cook until the pastry begins to puff up and brown. Then, cover the pastry with foil just before the pie has finished cooking.

Finally, add lemon juice and pour into the pie before serving hot.

Emperor sauce:

Chicken livers, almonds and bread cooked in water. Afterwards, add oregano, cumin and saffron.

Would you like to taste some of these recipes? Try cooking and you will feel an emperor.

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