I think we will all agree that breakfast is better with champagne. Sadly, for most of us, the reality falls short of the fantasy, in terms of the frequency with which we enjoy such a meal. For those of royal blood, champagne breakfasts may be rather more regular event. Certainly, when Prince Henry of Prussia visited the United States in 1902, he was served champagne – Moët no less – at many of the official dinners he attended – and at least one of these was a breakfast.
The Omaha Daily Bee of May 12, 1902 carried a large display advertisement which included ‘reproductions of menus of banquets where Moët & Chandon was used exclusively.’ The advertisement was placed by Geo. A.Kessler & Co., - ‘Sole Agents in the United States and Canada,’ and the menus were for events attended by Prince Henry of Prussia, who was at that time on an extended visit to the USA. Here is a menu for the most important meal of the day:
H.R.H. Prince Henry of Prussia.
Wednesday, February 26th, 1902
Oeufs à la Néva
Carré d’Agneau de Printemps
Pointes d’Asperges Pommes Rissolées
Glace Mousse aux fraises
Johannisberger Cabinet ‘93
Moët and Chandon ‘92
Surely this was a late brunch rather than a breakfast?
I wanted to give you the recipe for Oeufs à la Négva, as it is the most likely dish from this menu that I would have chosen for my own breakfast (it should go without saying that I could not have attempted the whole list of dishes, although the strawberry mousse might have been tempting.) Sadly, I have been unable to find a recipe, which is not surprising really, as it was quite common to tweak an existing classic and re-name it for an honoured guest. The following recipe sounds good enough to take its place however:
On delicate slices of toast, spread a layer of caviar, and place a fresh poached eggs [sic] on top; pepper, salt and a few drops of lemon juice are added and a garnish of parsley; serve at once.
Fort Wayne Sentinel, March 21, 1911.
I found "oeufs a la Neva" in a June 1940 Photo-Journal - in French only, however:
Faites blanchir a l'eau bouillante et salee des petits pois, des haricots verts, des carottes, des pommes de terre coupees de la grosseur d'un petit pois. Laissez refroidir ces legumes et melangez-les a une bonne mayonnaise. Coupez en deux des oeufs cuits dur, enlevez le jaune, remplissez chaque moitie avec les legumes. Mettez refroidir sur la glace. Dressez les oeufs au milieu d'une couronne de persil.
I had thought it would be some sort of scrambled eggs with caviar ("Neva") or even better, smoked Teutonic Knight, but it seems to be hard-boiled eggs filled with chilled vegetable mayonnaise, garnished with parsley. Not very exciting. But maybe this is just one recipe.
James Barber included a recipe for Russian egg salad which was hard-boiled eggs cut into eighths, topped with a sauce of freshly sauteed walnuts, olive oil, and dill, then covered with a hot pepper relish. (or perhaps jelly) Not sure if that helps.
But asparagus for breakfast sounds wonderful.
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