As you know (or not) the French television network, TF1, will be airing the upcoming princely wedding in Monaco between H.S.H. Prince Albert II and Miss Charlene Wittstock for those living in France on July 1 and 2, 2011 (sorry, at this time it is unknown if the network will open up their online stream to those living outside of France.)
Recently, TF1 aired a report about all those lovely souvenirs on display, and for purchase, throughout the principality. Anyway, the network interviewed several Monégasques as well as tourists asking their thoughts about the upcoming princely nuptials. Click here to watch the news report. The link may work for some, but not others, so please keep that in mind. 🙂
Finally, the American newspaper, San Francisco Examiner, ran a story this afternoon about the princely wedding’s chef extraordinaire, Alain Ducasse. Mr. Ducasse spoke to the press on June 8, 2011, whereupon discussed his first meeting with H.S.H. Prince Albert as well as some of the food the royal, noble, and VIP guests will be feasting on during the new Prince and Princess of Monaco’s religious wedding reception at the Salle Garnier. Here is a snippet of what he had to say:
… the veteran cook admits his blood pressure is rising ahead of next month’s royal wedding in Monaco, where he will prepare a multi-course gala dinner for Prince Albert, bride-to-be Charlene Wittstock, and their 500 A-list guests.
“I’ve done gala dinners before, but never an official meal for a head of state. It’s a first for me,” Ducasse told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday in Paris.
Asked whether he was feeling daunted by the task, the chef nodded, although he vowed to “share my stress.
“I’m going to pass it along to those I work with,” he said, laughing.
While being careful not to divulge exactly what’s on the menu for the three-course meal, Ducasse revealed just enough to make the mouth water.
“Prince Albert is very interested in protecting the Mediterranean, its flora and its fauna. It’s something of an obsession,” Ducasse said. “We decided to do something sustainable, local and ethical.”
“It’s going to be like the essence of the Mediterranean Sea, its tastes, its smells and its colors … fresh line-caught fish, garden vegetables and fruits for dessert,” he said.
Besides the Champagne, which comes from the eponymous region of northeast France, and a South African red wine honoring the bride’s roots, nearly all ingredients will be sourced from a 6-mile (10-kilometer) radius from Monaco — a tiny concrete hive of high-rises, Art Deco casinos and five-star hotels.
The honey will come from Monaco’s very own urban bee hives and the fish — all local species, none of them threatened with extinction — are to be line-caught hours before they’re served up, Ducasse said.
The vegetables, a sun-drenched medley of local staples including tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, are being grown at the prince’s own farm, and will never suffer the indignity of refrigeration, being harvested just hours before the dinner.
Ducasse said Prince Albert invited him to prepare the gala dinner in a mystery-cloaked meeting in the Monegasque embassy in Paris last February.
“I didn’t know what it was about, but I was hoping it was about the wedding,” said Ducasse, who was born in France but officially became a citizen of Monaco three years ago. “I told him, ‘my lord, I took the liberty of already preparing a menu, so as not to waste time.'”
The menu got the princely stamp of approval: Both Prince Albert and Wittstock, a former Olympic swimmer, sampled the meal and “they liked it, which is a relief,” Ducasse said.
He said he’ll also be in charge of preparing the post-festivities brunch on July 3, in conjunction with Monaco’s other celebrity chef, Joel Robuchon.