When hosting our various walking tours of London, East End Tours love sharing London’s rich and intriguing history with people. There always seems to be something new and fascinating to learn about, and everyone enjoys stepping into the past and seeing what the East End was like in the Victorian era, or how the Krays called the shots in the sixties.
At this time of year, particularly when there are youngsters or inquisitive minds on the tour, we get a lot of questions. What did London’s markets look like in the sixties? What happens to the street art when it snows? What did the Victorians eat at Christmas?
Now, we will wait until we see you on one of our tours to answer some of these burning questions, but there is one we thought we’d address. Today, just like in the 19th century, food and drink is a big part of Christmas.
So, in the spirit of Christmas, we have compiled a typical Victorian Christmas menu. Some of these foods have remained popular choices for modern Christmas menus, whilst others have become less common. But, if you want a better understanding of the Victorian Christmas dinner, or even some inspiration to host your own, these dishes are a great place to start. Visit our website and book yourself onto one of our London walking tours and discover more about the capitals rich Victorian histroy today!
Snacks and Sweets
Fruit, nuts and hard boiled sweets
(Traditionally given as gifts and stocking fillers)
(Originally made with actual minced meat, as per the Tudor tradition)
(A broth-like beef based dish)
(A traditional and simple broth)
Pate de Fois Gras
(A more expensive option for the Middle and Upper classes)
(Became a popular choice for larger Middle class families)
(Popular in the south, served with sage and onion stuffing and cranberry sauce)
(Most popular in the north, served with horseradish or mustard)
Sauces and Stuffing
Sage and onion stuffing
Christmas (fruit) cake
Coffee and cream
Tea and lemon
So there you have a traditional Victorian Christmas dinner menu. In fact, this menu – or at least parts of it – could be utilised for Christmas balls and parties as well. The dishes were popular in their time and have become iconic over time, with many still featuring in classic British Christmas dinners more than a century on.
You may choose a small selection of these dishes to incorporate into your own Christmas dinner, or you may decide to go all-out Victorian this year. Either way, you can give a nod to the Victorians who were instrumental in making Christmas what it is today.
As always, for more on the Victorians, London life and the East End, get in touch and book yourself onto one of www.eastendtours.com London tours.
For now though, Merry Christmas and Bon Appetit!