Feast with the Nobels

“Since 1901, the Nobel Prizes have been presented to the Laureates at ceremonies on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.”

Unknown to the rest of the world is the extravagance behind one of the world’s most prestigious recognition of science achievers. Although the Laureates are announced in October each year, the formal ceremony takes place on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

The Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and Literature are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden. The Prize Award Ceremony takes place at the Blue Hall at the Stockholm Concert Hall, after which they move into the Stockholm City Hall for the banquet. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway on the same day.

In fact, it’s such a big deal, the Nobel Prize ceremony is televised in Sweden. The Swedish Royal Family also attends the event with His Majesty the King of Sweden presenting each of the Laureates their medal and diploma.

The exclusive ceremony is only limited to 1300 guests, amongst them 200–250 lucky students.

It’s a numbers game from here on.

  • The required staff: a catering manager, banqueting hall manager, head chef, 8 head waiters, 210 waiters and waitresses, 5 wine waiters, 20 cooks and about 20 people responsible for washing up and transporting food.
  • The shopping list for 1,300 covers would well and truly empty your local supermarket. At one time it included 2,692 pigeon breasts, 475 lobster tails, 100 kilos of potatoes, 70 litres of sweet and sour raspberry vinegar sauce, 67 kilos of Jerusalem artichokes, 53 kilos of Philadelphia cheese, 45 kilos of lightly smoked salmon, the list can be made longer.
  • With all the formalities, you wouln’t be able to forgo the finest 6,730 pieces of porcelain, 5,384 glasses and 9,422 pieces of cutlery to complete the banquet.
  • Every year, more than 23,000 flowers are used as decorations in connection with the Nobel festivities. These include lilies, orchids, gladioli and roses. The flowers are delivered all the way from San Remo in Italy, where Alfred Nobel spent the last years of his life.

But I’d be lying if the food didn’t grab my attention. I’m just as interested — if not more — in the menu. The menu is a huge deal. It goes through a process of taste testing three different menus, several months before, in September each year. The selected menu is then kept secret until the actual day of the Nobel Banquet.

The general theme is a “touch of Scandinavia”. Drool over the 3-course 2015 menu which featured:

  • Turbot (a type of fish) and scallop with sea plants, brown butter and bleak roe
  • Ember bed roasted veal wrapped in mushrooms with celeriac and apple, roasted celeriac jus and potato pithiviers
  • Coffee and almond flavoured cherry blossom

Now that’s one Instagrammable-looking dessert.

How could you not be excited by LITERALLY A DESSERT PARADE?

It will be interesting to see what the 2016 dinner will feature. Statistically I have a better chance of attending the award dinner as a guest than winning a Nobel prize..

I’ve since discovered, whilst doing research for this blog, that there is a famous Nobel ice cream at the Nobel Museum’s Bistro that has suddenly made it onto my non-existent list of ice cream to eat. It was served as the dessert at the Nobel Prize Banquets 1976–1998. Some may have a science travel bucket list, but I have a science food list.

Whilst you’re there, all the chairs in the bistro are signed by past Laureates. So if you ever have the chance to visit, flip your chair over to see who has signed it!

Once again, congratulations to all the science winners:

  • 2016 Physics Prize — one half to David Thouless and the other half jointly to Frederick Duncan M. Haldane, John Michael Kosterlitz “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter”.
  • 2016 Chemistry Prize — Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”.
  • 2016 Medicine Prize — Yoshinori Ohsumi “for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy”.

The Nobel Prize ceremony will be livestream online here.

Originally published on Australia’s Science Channel: http://www.australiascience.tv/blogs/feast-nobels