Regency Food

by Michele Ann Young

Labeled Food, this article falls under the drinking part of eating.

The Georgian era was a time of gargantuan appetites for the men of the nobility.

These men rode 40 miles hunting a stag, raced phaetons from London to Brighton, ate massive breakfasts and gargantuan dinners. They had a love of life and little more to do than enjoy it.

Needless to say their health suffered as a result. The Prince of Wales in his twenties suffered much from the effects of over-indulgence and often ran a fever, the remedy for which was bleeding.

What did they drink with all this food?

Claret was a very popular drink of the nobility.

And a favorite of the Prince of Wales. Here is his portrait as a young man.

The Prince of Wales brother Frederick could easily consume six bottles of claret at a sitting. Claret is a red wine from Bourdeaux.

In the 18th century drinking claret helped the rich distinguish themselves from those below them. Port a more traditional drink with the gentry, and far cheaper. For example: John Hervey, the first Earl of Bristol, spent four times as much on claret as on port, whereas the tradesmen who gathered in the Barbers Hall in the City of London spent a mere £2 on claret as against £850 on port.

In “Every Man His Own Butler,” published in 1839, Cyrus Redding, a wine merchant and author, wrote “claret for a bishop, port for a rector, currant for a curate and gin for the clerk”

Another of the Prince's brother's was considered a moderate drinker, since he would only drinking a pint of sherry at dinner.

Other drinks served at Carlton House were:

Maraschino -made from marasca cherries.

Introduced to widely to Europe in the 18th century it was a sweet liqueur and a favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte after dinner or supper. George IV sent a naval fleet to collect a hundred Maraschino cases for the Royal court in London and for the governors of Malta and Corfu.

Cedrate: for which I have yet to find a description other than to know it relates to lemon or citrus fruits.

The Prince of Wales joined the Beefsteak Club in April 1784

As the The Times
said "he was known to be remarkably fond of rumpsteak" The club met at Covent Garden Theatre to "grill steakes over the original grate furnished for the purpose by the founder and to drink port, porter, punch and whisky toddy."

The Prince generously shared his own punch recipe with many of his contemporaries, and here it is.

* 1 bottle champagne
* 1 bottle burgundy
* 1 bottle rum
* 10 lemons
* 2 oranges
* 1 1/2 lbs. sugar

Chill the liquor before mixing.

Enjoy. But perhaps wait awhile for going off to ramble the countryside.
Until next time.