Food is the aromatic and mouth-watering element that completes the feast for the senses of a madrigal dinner. Caterers can develop, prepare and serve the courses or volunteers can split up the recipes and re-create traditional dishes in kitchens near the entertainment. Some menu ideas include:
- hearty breads and nuts
- soups using winter vegetables such as squash
- egg dishes such as quiche or fritters
- roasted vegetables including carrots, potatoes, turnips, cabbage and onions
- savory beef or veal, baked or stewed fish, calves liver, and dark meat fowl, turkey, or baked chicken
- cheese courses or samplers
- fruits and puddings, including the traditional, white figgy pudding made with figs or spiced pumpkin or other sweet baked breads
Madrigal dinners can vary from two courses to seven or more and you can serve them banquet style on long tables, or one course at a time delivered by servers who act and speak in a manner that suits the Renaissance mood. How many servers to hire or to round up as volunteers can depend on the number of guests, how much was charged for tickets ($25 to $60 or more is common) and your budget.
Some madrigal dinners keep the silverware to a minimum and encourage eating with your hands as was common during the original dinners, so you might even save on silverware.