Best Parties in the City

Cornelis Mahu. Dessert. Copy. 17th century. National Museum in Warsaw

These days, the Radvila family would be called party animals and programmes would be created about their parties. The balls that took place in the Palace of the Radvila family in the 16th century would surprise even today’s party-lovers. Dishes were prepared in an elaborate way. For instance, if fish was made, one part of it was roasted, the second – boiled, and the third – steamed or pot-roasted.

But guests were often most impressed by the mountains of sugar. The nobility quickly grew fond of expensive sugar; it was used to season both wine and meat – everything. Was it delicious? Not necessarily. But it was indeed unforgettable. The English diplomat Horsey described one of the balls organised by Radvila the Orphan: “Bizarre statues of lions, unicorns, eagles, swans and other were made of sugar and their bellies were filled with wine and spices. You could get bored if you had to name all those various dishes and rarities.”

Pastries were used to make rocks, almond palaces, even armies of Crusaders. Even today, you would want to take a photo of these decorations and wouldn’t forget the ball for a long time. It’s hard to identify which of the Radvila Family palaces were mentioned in the descriptions; this also may be the cardinal’s residence at Pilies g. 23, where a new building was built by the Soviets after WWII.

Pilies g. 23
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