Use these authentic Renaissance dessert recipes to make your own Renaissance sweetmeats. It's surprisingly easy, inexpensive, and loads of fun.
You'll soon be creating your very own sugar pastes, cakes, biscuits, pastries, leaches, candy, marmalades, and royal marchpanes — cornucopia of delicious historical treats to enjoy.
This site is your invitation to re-creating the authentic 17th century desserts and beverages of Merry Old England. These historical treats are perfect for serving at Renaissance fairs, banquets, and parties with an Elizabethan, medieval, or Shakespearean theme.
The original sweetmeat recipes were first published over three centuries ago in 17-century confectionery books, but most are much older.
The Renaissance Era was the transition period between the Medieval Era and the modern world, the time of Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, and John Milton. So, if you're searching for Medieval food recipes or Elizabethan cooking recipes, you will find several in the collection linked to above.
The originating authors claim to have once been employed as royal chefs in the household of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria of England. Some Renaissance dessert recipes are believed to be from the queen's personal recipe collection. Imagine a treasure-trove of treats truly fit for a queen!
If you're a dedicated history buff and would like to attend Renaissance fairs, and fun historical re-enactments, the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an international organization dedicated to researching and accurately re-creating pre-17th century European history.
Also look for Medieval and Renaissance festivals held in your local area. You might be in for a surprise. For instance, Blades of Glory is an educational and entertainment company that operates a small theme park near the Village of Hastings, Ontario.
As you can see in the above YouTube video, the historical costumes, authentic foods, workshops, mock battles, and demonstrations of knightly combat with the participants dressed in full armor can offer a great day of fun for people of all ages.
Considering the age of these Renaissance dessert recipes, it will surprise you to discover how straightforward the instructions are and that the recipes often call for surprisingly large amounts of sugar.
Read my brief article on The History of Sugar and you'll be amazed at the amount of sugar that was commonly used from the beginning of the Medieval Era and throughout the Renaissance Era.
These recipes extend to us a fascinating peek into the type of desserts and confections people were eating over three centuries ago, and the recipes and ingredients they used to prepare them.
Renaissance cooks wove ingenuity into their recipes, as they could only use the ingredients and equipment they had available. It is quite an experience to taste the actual treats our ancestors once enjoyed!
"The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet." —William Shakespeare (1564-1616), King Richard II, Act i, Sc. 3