Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Jubilee Picnic at the Palace ... held on 4th June 2012

Wet lawn, manicured gardens, palace background, atmospheric dampness uneasily lingering awaiting its signal once again to release the lifeblood of our world ... but not that day ... let the Picnic at the Palace begin.
Buckingham Palace, the gardens
and road layout in 1897

I just hope the 5,000 lucky ticket holders, each bringing one guest, had waterproof rugs to sit on ... it looks like there were some garden chairs  ... but it was a real picnic setting ... while I’m sure their adrenalin rush had settled in and they’d have enjoyed the occasion any which way ...

... an invitation into the gardens at Buck House, a delicious picnic, a grandstand seat for the Jubilee Concert afterwards, and then all those unique memories that none of the rest of us will have had.

Waitrose lorries being security
checked in The Mall
Waitrose supplied that picnic – and this is their story ... a special convoy of lorries set off from Bracknell (just west of Windsor) at 3.00 am, driving north to the depot in Leicester! ....

.... picking up the 13,000 picnics, and driving south again to Buckingham Palace ... Waitrose say it was a carefully co-ordinated operation ... but to me seems slightly cracked! – driving north to drive south ... but who am I to wonder!
Waitrose's message to the Queen

The convoy job was over-subscribed ... then 17 of their drivers were finally chosen ... a prestigious job that comes along only once in a lifetime as one driver noted and who felt he was honoured to have been chosen.

One of the big challenges was keeping the lorries in the correct order on the roads, as they had a special message for Her Majesty typographically set atop the vehicles .... probably not seen by many ... what a great idea: ... the eight lorries had the words interspersed with one ‘emblematic’ lorry ...

Ø Congratulations
o   Emblem
Ø to Her Majesty on
o   Emblem
Ø her Diamond Jubilee
o   Emblem
Ø from Waitrose
o   Emblem

Her Majesty the Queen
with Katherine Dewar

The 11 year old, Katherine Dewar, from Chester, designed the winning Diamond Jubilee Emblem.  The top 30 children, from a submission of 35,000 entries, attended a special tea party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate their achievements.

Katherine Dewar's design

The winning design will be seen by millions on everything from posters to commemorative tea cups for many years to come.  It features a crown poised above the Union flag with columns of diamonds down either side.

The Diamond Jubilee picnics were donated by Waitrose, and created over six months by world-renowned Michelin chef, Heston Blumenthal, in conjunction with the royal chef, Mark Flanagan, who had catered for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding – remember that!?

Mark Flanagan & Heston Blumenthal

... there were 10,000 lucky ticket holders, while the other baskets would go to the organisers and technicians working behind the scenes, before we were entertained with the Diamond Jubilee Concert.

Picnic Basket, poncho and some contents

Wicker Hamper ... chilled country garden soup, followed by tea-smoked Scottish salmon and Diamond Jubilee chicken. Dessert was a strawberry crumble crunch, crown-topped chocolate cakes and a cheeseboard served with chutney – a picnic fit for the Queen – washed down with Moet champagne, beer and/or water.

The contents of the picnic (enlarged)

Steel drum, pan
The Queen had tried every dish – the royal seal of approval had been given and all diners were able to enjoy their fare to the sounds of a steel-pan band from St Vincent and the Grenadines (one of the Commonwealth countries) contributing to the picnic atmosphere.

A number of Royal purveyors are offering ‘take-away’ picnics or products eg Fortnum and Masons; Paxton & Whitefield’s (Cheesemongers) offer this ‘Fit for a Queen cheesecake’ made with cheeses with a royal association, for example Auld Loghnagar, made in the shadow of Balmoral Castle.  (Oh! and I’m not sure this cheese was included ... but the photo quite delighted me ... so that is here!)

Paxton and Whitfield Cheesemonger's 'Jubilee cheesecake'

Heston’s decision to stick to traditional style simple foods with a twist met with general approval ... the contents were ...

ü Garden soup made with plum tomatoes, cucumber, mint, oil and vinegar
ü The potted salmon includes Lapsang souchong tea-smoked Scottish salmon with crème fraiche, lemon and fresh chives
ü Fresh bread rolls and butter

ü Diamond Jubilee Chicken featuring a blend of spices*
ü Vegetarian option: mushroom parfait
ü Crudités of celery, carrots and red peppers

ü Two cupcakes: lemon and caraway Madeira; and chocolate indulgence cupcake decorated with a chocolate crown ... and sprinkled with popping candy

ü  Strawberry compote, meringue, cream, elderflower cordial and rosewater  (the organic Florence strawberries were grown on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, harvested and frozen last year in preparation for the picnic – very forward thinking and probably a good thing in the circumstances of our weather this year)

ü Cheeseboard with West Country farmhouse cheddar and Red Leicester crunch (I knew there was a reason to go to Leicester!) ... served with Duchy Originals (founded by the Prince of Wales in 1990) – oaten biscuits and harvest chutney

ü Drinks: Moet & Chandon champagne, Cobra beer or Hildon water (natural mineral water from beneath the chalk hills of Hampshire)
ü Extras: 12 hand wipes; clear plastic cutler; napkin; poncho and flag

Enjoying the picnic regardless of the weather
There was a drinks table ... where the champagne, beer and water could be collected ... and I’m sure coffee and tea would have been available too.

* Heston Blumenthal’s first job was in a curry house (per Wikipedia) – which might explain his interest in spices, but not his scientific approach to cooking that pervades his recipes now – as he seeks the future of food.

Well life for the rest of us returns to normal ... while for the Royals life goes ... the Queen has been up in Nottingham today, with her grandson and his wife, opening playing fields for the local schools – part of the Diamond Jubilee tour – under the auspices of the ‘Fields in Trust’ charity.

Prince William in giving the speech today said “My grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who very sadly cannot be here today, has been president for 64 years”, while the Queen has been patron throughout her reign.

Picnickers enjoying the fun ... 
The Queen then went on to Burghley House for a Diamond Jubilee Picnic, while her husband remained in London at Buckingham Palace recuperating.

Yesterday the Queen, with other members of the Royal family, hosted a jubilee garden party for 3,500 guests at Sandringham – all of those invited were being recognised for their contributions to local communities.  10,000 macaroons had been baked for the occasion.

The next major event is to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday on Saturday, 16th June, with the Trooping of the Colour, which travels between Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Horseguards’ Parade.  Let’s hope the Duke can make some form of appearance.

And as Alice might have said ... 

They’ve changed the guard at Buckingham Palace –
When Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
They have big picnics now inside the grounds.
I wouldn’t be Queen for a million pounds” ...

                    c/o  When We Were Very Young (1924) by A. A. Milne

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Jo said...

I must have a search and see if I can find some of the recipes. Interesting post Hilary, thanks for all the details. Enjoyed it.

nutschell said...

So cool! So much happening during the Queen's diamond jubilee. And I'm amazed at the coordinated messages on the lorries.

Lynn said...

That jubilee cheesecake looks magnificent and I love the description of the picnic food. And so nice that the Queen approved all the food beforehand. That must be a fun part of her job. :)

Old Kitty said...

Hi Hilary!! The description of each dish are so mouthwateringly yummy I wish I had been able to get one of these gorgeous hampers!!

Take care

Inger said...

Oh, Hilary, the stuff you come up with!!! All the detail was wonderful, but I must say I really fell in love with the emblem and the idea that they had this competition that a little girl won. That's so lovely in the midst of all the pomp and circumstance.

walk2write said...

I would have loved to be an ant at that picnic! You know, the joie de vivre and sense of wonder just overflows the basket in your post on this event. I doubt if there is a description of it anywhere that could come close to yours, Miss Hilary.

Annalisa Crawford said...

The food in the hamper sounds lovely, especially the chocolate cup-cake and cheese board!

MunirGhiasuddin said...

Garden soup and the lemon and caraway cupcakes sound delicious.
Thanks for sharing nice pictures. Here in the US we had a chance to watch some of the events on the television. You take such great pains to post everything and unlike the television it is here for whenever we like to read. Cheers!

Southpaw said...

Oh Hilary! This is grand. I'm glad I ate lunch before coming here though. The food sounds delicious.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo .. thanks

@ Nutschell - there has been so much happening hasn't there .. I loved the co-ordinated lorries (hence the posting)

@ Lynn - I thought the photo of the Jubilee cheesecake looked wonderful .. and finding out about the picnic - at least the Queen was taking an interest, which I think she probably does for all her projects ..

@ Old Kitty - so so do I - I did apply = no luck obviously! It just must have been such a wonderful day - the picnic at the back of Buck House and then the concert around the Memorial in front of Buck House - luck participants.

@ Inger - I so appreciate your comment .. once I'd found out about young Katherine she, with her emblem, deserved a mention in my post.

The Palace and the Royals do their stuff for the populace .. so much probably isn't recognised - I'm going to try and highlight a little more of their support for their public and the extraordinary range of subjects/projects they support.

@ Walk2Write - just delighted with your comment ... so pleased it evokes much to you - you are a star - thank you!

@ Annalisa .. the salmon, strawberries with rose and elder cordial sounds rather good, as too the cheeseboard - mind you the soup reminds me a little of gazpacho! I'll join you .. we can share the cheeses!!

@ Munir - ah! you picked up the garden soup - it does sound deicious .. and we used to make caraway shortbread when I was a kid - and I've always loved that mix.

Glad you've been able to see some of the events on the tv .. I just combine things in a different way - hoping everyone will appreciate my take on the post.. thanks so much ..

@ Holly - great to see you .. glad you've had lunch .. I struggle when I write about food - and always want to cook something delicious - then probably slob out and sleep!

Thanks so much to you all for all your lovely comments - cheers Hilary

Diane said...

As always a great post and with masses of information that I did not know, Thanks Hilary for bringing it all to your blog so I could read about it all in one place. Diane

A Lady's Life said...

ha ha My cousin lives in Bracknel so I know something today from your post. Where do you get so much information?
The picnics sound delicious, truly fit for a Queen.

I love the horses and the parade and her beautiful gold carriage.
That in itself is something worth seeing.

I sure wouldn't mind a tour of the castle to see all the paintings they have there.
It's a passing era and we don't know for how much longer but right now we should enjoy it.:)

M. Reka said...

Great post as always, Hilary

Golden Eagle said...

This just made me hungry. :)

Great post!

Suze said...

Congratulations to Katherine -- that is quite an accomplishment and honor for an eleven-year-old!

This Jubilee has really captured my imagination purely as a result of all of the magnificent Brit blogs inviting me to participate by proxy.

Thanks, Hilary!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Hilary. What fun it must have been for those lucky enough to attend. I have been reading some of the stories on the internet about the Royal Jubilee.

Liara Covert said...

My gracious, what a menu! I first heard about Heston Blumenthal's creative food through Master Chef Australia. What aninnovative soul! The Jubilee event would certainly require elaborate coordination to pack up and deliver 13,000 picnics. Where are Harry Potter and friends with the magic wands? They could be called in next time.

Paula RC said...

I love the fact they had a message on the tops of the lorries. I wonder if the Queen saw it from her window. It's wonderful that so many people have such wonderful memories to keep.

The little Katherine's memories of the day will be passed on to future celebrations.

A great posting, Hilary. Loved the Cheesecake!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane .. many thanks - it's good to have my thoughts in one place - the newspapers, pamphlets etc will have the pictures for all time and too the net - it's the 'eccentricities' that I like to bring here to add to the mix.

@ A Lady's Life - as children we were very near Bracknell - at that stage it was becoming a 'new town'! I pick up snippets and then by looking around I find 'more' .. and just weave it together .. so it's not repetitive of other Jubilee postings.

The picnic does sound delicious doesn't it .. and the horses - I have those posts to do .. the Carriage is amazing isn't it - I saw it 18 months in Buckingham Palace Mews ..

Oddly enough I am going to write about what else is on - there is so much in London alone.

@ Marinela - many thanks ..

@ Golden - glad you enjoyed the thought of the food ..

@ Suze - I'm sure Katherine and her family are still bathing in her success - must been such a surprise moment for her ... very deserving though - the emblem is very cleverly designed.

Glad you've been able to enjoy some parts of the Jubilee ... and that this blog adds to that knowledge.

@ Susanne - yes I would love to have been at the picnic .. and as you say those attending I'm sure will recount their story many times. Glad you've been having a look at some of the coverage of the Jubilee on line .. it's been fun.

@ Liara - a simple, yet interesting menu ... and Heston is certainly stretching food boundaries ... he doesn't do Master Chef here - we have an Aussie and a Brit!! But he has done some amazing dinners through the eras - using and cooking and serving foods as they would have been centuries ago.

Oh yes .. where is Harry Potter .. we need a few Platform 9 3/4s with roaring trains and large chimneys. Next time?? Harry Potter might even be available then .. a few centuries and some imagination away!

Great to see you .. the planning for all these events is truly incredible.

@ Paula - I loved that bit of clever advertising (which I've added to here!) .. but I could so easily have missed picking that bit of info up .. I certainly expect the Queen was told about it.

Chester and little Katherine will be remembered in the years ahead - I'm sure Chester being an important Royal town will record this event in their town's history.

Isn't that cheesecake just so lovely to look at - and eat ..

Wonderful comments, thanks for visiting everyone .. cheers for now on another last sunny day before the storms return! Hilary

Talli Roland said...

I saw an interview on the BBC with Heston about the picnic basket contents. Drool! It looked so good!

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

I love a good picnic. Reveling with 9,999 other picnickers (?) would turn into another Woodstock in the USA. (I'm not saying I'm opposed.)

Laura Eno said...

That all sounds so yummy! I wouldn't like the wet picnic part. It might be better than hot and muggy and full of bugs though.

Deborah Barker said...

If anyone missed the Diamond Jubilee, they can re-live it through your post Hilary! A delightful run-down of events and facts coupled with some atmospheric photographs. I enjoyed this piece immensely. Thank you :-)

Susan Scheid said...

My absolute favorite here is that the Queen tried every dish--a sort of upside down version of the royal taster! Lovely report, once again. (PS: I do have two little photo contributions to the Jubilee festivities in the form of two views of a shop window in Cardiff. I am still regretting not having purchased that jigsaw puzzle!)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I enjoy watching the royal family's celebrations on television. I didn't realize this Saturday would be the Queen's official birthday, so I'll check the schedule to see when we get coverage.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Six months to prepare? That's impressive. So is the fact they donated the picnic lunch.

Karen Lange said...

Oh my, what an event! And that menu - sounds just divine! :) Thank you for sharing the details and whatnot. I learn so much by visiting with you.

Have a lovely weekend,

Anonymous said...

Ah, my dear friend, what amazing posts you have taken the time to put up about the Jubilee. I have seen some of this through the news on the Internet, but nothing can compare to what you've done here for your Blogger friends. I will have to come back and back to savor all of it.

Meanwhile, just wanted you to know that you're not forgotten either (thanks for your newsy letter telling me about you mum, etc.) and I WILL get a letter written to you soon. I have had two more days this week resolving issues with aides and a sister in law, but am finally at PEACE for the first time in many months with Jen doing well, and we have a new wonderful aide that both she and I like very much, and I'm actually moving forward beautifully on the memoir I started ghost writing for my friend almost three years ago! Anyway, you are never far from my thoughts, and I do hope you're enjoying life in your historic part of the globe!! Everything you've posted is indeed, as another blogger said, "grand." That is a wonderful word to describe this--and to describe YOU!

Warm ((((hugs))) from me and Jen!!!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Talli - I'm not sure I saw that interview .. but sounds delicious.

@ Richard - I don't think we'd thought of that Woodstock courtesy of Buck House - now there's a thought.

@ Laura - I can't say I'm enthusiastic about either weather states! But the picnic and occasion would have been so much fun ..

@ Debbie - delighted you felt right there with the picnickers .. lovely comment thank you.

@ Susan - what a great thought the upside down version of the royal taster! I owe you a few visits I know .. I'll check out the jigsaw window ..

@ Patricia - I hope you'll get covereage .. it looks like it might be wet. But the parades are amazing I've written about it in 2009 I see! I might do another post this year.

@ Alex - six months of choosing the menu I think .. and Waitrose picking up the bill - good advertising - but they are the upmarket supermarket and have very good food.

@ Karen - just so glad you enjoyed the visit and can feel some of the vibes around the picnic.

@ Ann - lovely to see you here. Thanks so much for your comment - and that you'll enjoy coming back to re-read. I hope others will too - a good resource for some of the residents up at the Nursing Centre ..

So good that your life is sorting itself out and you feel at peace and that Jen is doing well - the new aide, who everyone likes, and the fact you're getting on so well with your friend's memoir. Well done - you deserve some settled times ...

This historic part of the globe is having an amazing series of events .. and I'm loving it!!

Cheers to you all - have happy Fridays and weekends .. Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

This was quite a feast! It's wonderful that an 11 year old designed the emblem! Julie

Theresa Milstein said...

That kid's picture is so cute! As usual, your photos of food are always so tempting.

It sounds like quite a spectacle. My friend Brigid from Ireland also went to England to attend.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie .. I'm sure it tasted just as good - while Katherine's design for the emblem is wonderful isn't it ..

@ Theresa .. Katherine will be remembered for a long time with her emblem design - clever child! Glad you 'enjoyed' the food ..

I think Brigid came up on your blog - so I'll pop over now ..

Cheers Julie and Theresa .. thanks for visiting - Hilary

Sherry Ellis said...

Those were a lot of picnics! The food sounded delicious. What a celebration!

Denise Covey said...

This is a lovely tribute to the Queen and her celebrations. Being Australian, we are pretty interested in this. Plenty of TV time. We worry about Prince Philip. We love a character! Wish the family all the best. Not that I'm jealous of the damp conditions of the garden party.


Francene Stanley said...

Thank you for sharing the details of the royal picnic food. Your attention to detail is food for the hungry reader.

Juliet said...

Hilary, thank you for all this background. I am so impressed at that British thoroughness and superb organisation. The picnic food sounds delicious. And - good news! - your posts are coming through once more.
PS Love the update on AA Milne.

Sue said...

I think it would be great fun to attend one of those events! Just the once - I wouldn't be greedy! The picnic makes the simple mushroom soup I'm about to make seem a little drab in comparison, but I'll be sitting in front of a cosy fire and not on a damp picnic rug and will be satisfied.

The idea of the signs on top of the trucks was inspired even if it wasn't obvious to many people. How exciting to have won the Emblem competition - I'm sure katherine's family and friends have purchased some of the memorabilia.

cheers Hilary, enjoy your weekend.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sherry - yes it must have been interesting packing them into hampers - great for logistics! Food does inspire us doesn't it ..

@ Denise - glad you're enjoying the bits of the Jubilee and our summer - always lots going on in this little island. I'm sure Prince Philip will be fine - he is a character isn't he... We're still damp and soggy - not the time for picnics!!

@ Francene - so pleased you enjoy the extra snippets .. if I talk too much about food I'll have to have lunch early - it's only 8.15 am now!!

@ Juliet - we are renowned for our organisation - well those up there are!! Always runs to clock work as far as the Queen is concerned ...

.... glad you 'enjoyed' the picnic food ... and great that the posts are coming through again .. and thanks re the update on Alice going down to Buckingham Palace ..

@ Sue - well I tried to attend the concert (and thus the picnic) .. luck wasn't on my side!! Very sad really. I bet your mushroom soup was delicious .. simple home-made soup is so good with some fresh bread (perhaps you made that too) .. cosy fire sounds good - it's still pretty chilly here - the wind certainly is ...

I thought Waitrose's idea was rather fun and needed flagging up - and as you say Katherine and her family will have many memories.

Cheers to you all - thanks so much .. Trooping of the Colour in a couple of hours!!

Happy weekend - Hilary

Bish Denham said...

Oooo, it seems to have a great deal to do with food and picnics and eating and more food... YUM!

Lydia Kang said...

Oh, I wish I had a picnic basket full of that stuff to enjoy on a sunny patch of grass! It's raining here though. Oh well!

Anonymous said...

This has been one big party for England! Enjoy the time. I get mixed up on Duchesses and Dukes and Earls. I need to take a refresher course so I can understand who is who when it comes to British royalty.

TALON said...

Hilary, how I wish I could have tucked into that gorgeous picnic! :)

Susan Scheid said...

Hi, Hilary: BTW, you needn't feel obliged to comment over my way just because I note something to you (although I do always enjoy it, it's not my intention to generate a "quid pro quo"), it's just that I did think of you when I saw that window and the jigsaw puzzles and thought you might enjoy seeing it!

Patsy said...

The Jubilee really seemed to catch public imagination and brightened the lives of so many people.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bish .. this was Royal guest picnic time .. yum as you say.

@ Lydia - the sunny patch would be nice ... with that picnic - it is sunny today here for a change. You've got rain and wildfires going on ..

@ Stephen - thanks .. there's so much going on - it's difficult to keep up! I guess you're giving me a hint as to another post on Royalty ..

@ Talon - wouldn't it be lovely to have a Blogger party picnic with food such as this.

@ Susan - no worries - I just need time to sit peacefully and fully (or partly) take in your interesting posts and recently I've by-passed you on the Reader! I'll get there .. and I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog as I learn or am introduced to much ... I will enjoy the jigsaws ..

@ Patsy - the Jubilee seems to still be with us .. and has as you say brightened many peoples lives .. You've got so much going on with your Wedding fairly soon!

Cheers to you - it is sunny today - yesterday was incredibly windy .. Hilary

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Hilary, is that you wearing that splendid hat? Looks awesome. I would have loved to be there, rain or no rain. Which reminds me, it's been raining here since April 1st. At least it feels like that. I dug out my umbrella and dusted it off. Goodness, haven't used it in several years.

Great photos. Thanks!

Robyn Campbell said...

You've made me sooo hungry! I love the way you wrote about the Jubilee, Hilary. It was almost as if I was there. (I love dry picnics!) The photos are awesome. :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joylene - nope .. not me! Some lucky punter at the Palace party. Sounds like you're having much the same weather as us .. must be quite damp though if you've dragged your umbrella out! Glad you enjoyed the photos et al ..

@ Robyn - like you .. I'd rather have dry picnics .. and glad you enjoyed my pic selection - seems a long time ago now! Time is flying ..

Cheers Joylene and Robyn .. good to see you - Hilary