While many of the poor people who worked on the land and in castles had basic meals of bread, vegetables and a bit of meat, the rich and powerful enjoyed vast feasts. They included all sorts of exotic dishes cooked in the castle’s kitchens, brought out on platters by servants and eaten with their hands (as they didn’t use forks). The guests would have drunk the finest wine as they enjoyed entertainment from jugglers and musicians.
Lord Lovell is holding a banquet at Old Wardour Castle, so feast your eyes on the menu! Click below to download a colouring sheet, and use pencils, pens or paints to create your own version of the scene.
What's on the menu?
The centrepiece was the main event of any grand medieval feast. It was often a wild animal that had been hunted by the lord or his men as sport. It wouldn’t be unusual to see a whole pig or a salted stag presented.
All sorts of meats were enjoyed by rich people, including beef, mutton, pheasant and even swan. The meat was salted so it would last longer and was cooked with expensive spices, to show off the lord or lady’s wealth to guests.
Pies and cheese
Food at feasts included crumbly cheese like Wensleydale, as well as lots of different pies and tarts. Diners only ate the tasty fillings of pies, and after the meal, soggy pastry was sometimes given to poor people or was thrown away.
Everyone, rich or poor, used lots of bread. In wealthy households, diners placed small amounts of meat, fish or pottage – a kind of thick stew made from vegetables and grains – onto a thick slice of bread or a hollowed out loaf, called a trencher.
Dessert wasn’t a separate course at medieval banquets like today. Instead, guests were served sweet pastries, cooked spiced fruits such as apples and dates, and nuts like almonds to eat at the same time as the savoury foods.
While poor people drank beer, the rich drank expensive wines that were imported into England from Europe. Wine was poured from huge jugs into decorative cups, with servants available to make sure guests’ drinks were kept topped up!
Make a magnificent medieval pie
Have your own medieval meal at home, by following our recipe to create a delicious pie with a crust shaped like castle battlements!
Click to download your recipe, and don’t forget to ask an adult to help you in the kitchen. You'll be feasting like the lord or lady of the castle in no time.Download the recipe
Over to you...
Imagine you could travel back in time and join a medieval feast. Which food do you think you would enjoy the most – and which would you try to avoid?
Fit for a feast
The lord and lady are hosting a grand feast, and have asked you to make the centrepiece! Design a spectacular dish to present to them and their guests.