it’s good to be the queen

72634611June 2 1953, Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London. Six decades on, England is celebrating her 60-year reign with a range of events across the country, from river pageants and big lunches to concerts and a royal appearance by a miniature monarch. As if I needed another excuse to visit the UK, here are just a few of the celebrations fit for a Queen. The Coronation Festival, Buckingham Palace, July 11 – 14: This one-off event in the gardens at Buckingham Palace will see over 200 companies with the prestigious Royal Warrant of Appointment exhibiting. By day, visitors will be able to explore the Buckingham Palace Gardens, which will feature four areas showcasing the very best of Food & Drink, Design & Technology, Homes & Gardens and Style, Pursuits & Pastimes. By night, visitors will be taken on a musical tour of the Queen’s 60-year reign, with performances by the National Youth orchestra, the English National Ballet, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Katie Melua, Laura Wright and The Feeling. Rowing Regatta, Windsor, June 15 – 16: Her Majesty The Queen has given permission for a unique regatta to take place on the River Thames at Windsor Castle to celebrate the Coronation anniversary. Rowing crews will race side-by-side over a distance of 1,000 meters between Prince Albert and Queen Victoria bridges, and spectators will be granted entry into the normally private grounds of the castle to watch the race. This special event will be the first regatta on the Thames at Windsor for 44 years.

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Mini Me, Windsor and Manchester, May 25 – 27, Windsor; May 31 – June 2, Manchester: The Queen of Miniland will put on her real crown jewels in Windsor before taking a carriage north for a guest appearance in Manchester. Visitors can watch the tiny 10 cm high LEGO model of Her Majesty The Queen, complete with a 48 tiny cut diamond encrusted crown, twinkle as she waves from the balcony of her miniature Buckingham Palace, alongside minute figures of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Coronation!, Westminster Abbey, May 1 – September 30: A new exhibition of archive pictures of the 1953 Coronation is now on display at Westminster Abbey through the end of September. The Abbey has partnered with Getty Images to include some of the best black and white news pictures of the time alongside some never-seen-before pictures illustrating the pomp and magnificence of the joyous celebrations that swept the nation. Coronation River Pageant, Henley, June 2: To mark the 60th anniversary, the Coronation River Pageant will showcase 130 classic and traditional boats on the River Thames at Henley. The boats will be moored at Marsh Meadows and will travel upstream to Phyllis Court Club before making the journey back. Boats will be dressed for fun with plenty of bling, colorful characters and historic look-a-likes. Gloriana, the Royal Opera House, June 20 – July 6: Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana was commissioned by the Royal Opera House to mark the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. This year marks the centenary of this great composer and to mark the occasion, Richard Jones is directing a new staging of the opera, which explores tensions between affairs of the state and of the heart.

Ox roast Brierley Hill 1927

Ledbury Ox Roast, June 1 – 2: In June 1953, the townspeople of Ledbury in Herefordshire rallied together to hold a huge Ox Roast to celebrate the coronation. Now, 60 years on, the community has come together again to recreate this special event. And you don’t have to be local to attend: everyone is welcome. The Big Lunch, Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, June 2: Dust off your bunting and start packing your picnic as Broad Street in Chipping Sodbury prepares to welcome one and all for The Big Lunch. The market town also plays host to a three-day jazz festival from May 31 – June 2 to keep everyone in celebratory Coronation spirits.

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fête (& food) for a queen

In honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, a menu of right royal pedigree is reigning supreme inside London’s Roux at The Landau. Through June 9th, Executive Chef Chris King – with the input of father and son chefs Albert and Michel Roux Jr. – is showcasing a Jubilee option at the celebrated eatery, marked by a crown on each of the daily lunch and pre-theatre menus, reflecting traditional dishes with blue-blood backstorys that have been given a twenty-first century spin. I recently got a glimpse of three of the dishes, but I’d expect there’s going to be a few more sovereign surprises up this King’s sleeve.

In 1952, the year of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, Albert Roux moved to London from France and worked as an apprentice at Cliveden, the illustrious Berkshire country house where he often served soft Cotswold Legbar Hen’s Egg à la Reine  to the likes of Lady Astor. Sporting the title à la Reine, meaning “to the Queen,” the dish is a combination of chicken and foie gras poached in Madeira then bound with truffled mayonnaise and used to fill a traditional brioche a tete. A soft-poached Cotswold Legbar hen’s egg is perched on top and garnished with slices of summer truffle. Roux went on to earn three Michelin stars at Le Gavroche, yet still recalls the dish as one of his most refined – and who can blame him.

Often referred to as the “King of Chefs and the Chef of Kings,” the great Chef Escoffier was born in France but resided in London for many years. He took great delight in naming his dishes after famous people or places, but one dish in particular proved to take the fancy of royalty: Gewürztraminer Poached Var Salmon Royale. And not just because of the royal honorific – when any of Escoffier’s fish dishes ended with the word royale it meant the garnish was crayfish. In this version wild Var salmon is poached in an aromatic Gewürztraminer court bouillon and served with a kingly version of Escoffier’s original garnish – shelled crayfish tails, tiny quenelles of herbed salmon mousseline, and a parisienne of potatoes flavored with crayfish essence.

Hereford Strawberry Queen of Puddings sounds like a champion bitch at the Westminster Show but it’s actually a dessert made famous by Queen Victoria – Britain’s longest-serving monarch – following a trip up north to Manchester. The local residents felt their custard and strawberry jam pudding was too plain for the Queen so they added meringue to dress it up. Her Royal Highness loved it so much it became a staple. The Roux version is much lighter than the original recipe yet calls for rich custard thickened with brioche crumbs. It’s offset with a lightly-set fragrant jam of Hereford strawberries from Oakchurch farm and a mound of glazed Italian meringue.

Roux at The Landau  is in the legendary Langham, which opened in 1865 as Europe’s first Grand Hotel. The hotel also happens to serve one of the swankiest afternoon teas in town in collaboration with luxury goods brand Asprey – yet another excuse to toast British heritage and 60 years of The Queen.

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live blog: smoked out

The Burren Smokehouse is a family run business started by Birgitta and Peter Curtain to keep up with the demand which had built up around the house-smoked salmon served in the family’s Lisdoonvarna pub, The Roadside Tavern. Leaders in the local Slow Food movement, they carefully source quality raw materials like trout, mackerel, cheese, and salmon direct from the wild west coast of Ireland to produce award-winning specialties like Burren’s Hot Smoked Organic Salmon with Honey, Lemon and Dill, which won 2 gold medals at the Great Taste awards and was recently served to Queen Elizabeth II as part of a state dinner at Dublin Castle. While widely available via mail order now – as well as at Dean & Deluca – there are few locations as atmospheric in which to enjoy their ruby-red salmon than nearby Burren Wine and Food. The sign in the window promises home cooking and that’s exactly what you’ll find inside the century-old stone coach house. Nestled in the Burren hills, owner Cathleen Connole grows or sources most of the food she serves from local farmers and traders, including fish from the Burren Smokehouse and Liscannor crab. The only exception is the organic house wine. The Galway Bay label is produced in the Languedoc by her brother, Noel.

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