French quiche to commemorate the British coronation of King Charles III.
King Charles III of the United Kingdom will be coronated on Saturday 6 May 2023. The official coronation dish is the vegetarian Coronation Quiche – a traditional recipe of shortcrust pastry with a cream and egg filling of spinach, broad beans, and tarragon. The Royal Family website describes the Coronation Quiche as ‘a deep quiche with a crisp, light pastry case and delicate flavours of spinach, broad beans, and fresh tarragon. Eat hot or cold with a green salad and boiled new potatoes – perfect for a Coronation Big Lunch.’
But the quiche is French, isn’t it? Quiche is a savoury, open tart dating back some say to 1540 (others say 1605) in the Middle Ages in the German kingdom of Lothringen. The French renamed it Lorraine when the kingdom of France annexed the region in the north-east in 1766. Lorraine borders Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg. But what is its connection to the coronation?
It has long been a tradition in the United Kingdom to announce a new dish with a new monarch, and to have a bountiful banquet. King George IV was coronated on 19 July 1821, and celebrated with a banquest in Westminster Hall for 1,634 guests. The French chef, Antonin Carême, served delicacies such as les filets de poulards, sautés aux champignons(chicken sautéed with mushrooms), les cotelles d’agneau, panées, grillées, sauce poivrade (breaded, grilled lamb chops in pepper sauce), and le paté chaud de caille à l’espagnole (quail pie served hot). And that was just the first course.
King Charles III was four years old when his mother was coronated. When Queen Elizabeth II was coronated on 2 June 1953, her banquet included soupe de tortue (turtle soup), delices de soles Prince Charles (Prince Charles sole), and agneau à la Windsor, haricots verts et asperges (Windsor lamb with green beans and asparagus). She included Prince Charles sole, a fish dish, as an indication that Charles will inherit the crown.
King Charles III is opting for a popular choice, a hearty common quiche – ‘a dish for sharing’ – as the coronation dish. He also adds food from around the world. On the Royal Family website, there are also recipes for Ken Hom’s coronation roast rack of lamb with Asian-style marinade and Nadia Hussain’s coronation aubergine.
Some Lorraine residents would prefer that the Coronation Quiche be called something other than quiche, since it is the regional term. Perhaps Coronation Savoury Flan or Coronation Savoury Tart would be the better terminology.
Nevertheless, one way or the other, since I am in France, I’ll be celebrating the coronation with an eggy quiche-like, tart-like, flan-like specialty of my local boulangerie – mushroom or tomato or even a Lorraine.