Monaco wedding feast of fish and local vegetables
Renowned French chef Alain Ducasse prepared what he described as a "finely-crafted festive menu" of local seafood and vegetables for Saturday's royal wedding banquet in Monaco.
Albert II and Princess Charlene hosted 800 honoured guests for a meal that sought to flatter the prince's reputation as an environmentalist. The meal was described as a "sincere, appropriate cuisine that pays tribute to a rich and generous land."
As a land, the tiny principality of Monaco is almost entirely built over with 1970s concrete apartment blocks, gaudy casinos and luxury hotels, but Ducasse ransacked kitchen gardens and nearby waters for ingredients.
The first course was a Monaco family favourite, traditionally eaten with the fingers, "barbagiuan". Served warm in a fabric presentation box, it is a stew of vegetables, egg, sheeps milk and cheese served under rissoles.
The guests then enjoyed a dish of marinated golden mullet served on an oval dish of tomatoes, olives and tender vegetables known as Potargue or Bottargo.
Carbohydrate came in the form of small spelt, an ancestor of wheat still grown in the Provencal highlands looming behind the principality, and cooked with carrots, onion, celery and mushrooms.
Local fish were served in a delicate bouillon over new potatoes in saffron broth and wraped in "sunshine-covered spice" from the same hills.
Milk from the local Rocagel district had been transformed into creamy ice cream and served with strawberry jelly and wild red fruits.
The wedding cake was redcurrant and vanilla, and many of the wines were from Charlene's native South Africa.
© 2011 AFP