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This room was used as the family dining room. Imperial family dinners followed strict court ceremonial, and the table was always festively set with gilded centrepieces decorated with flowers, fruit and sweetmeats. At official dinners French cuisine was served, but for family dinners Franz Joseph preferred traditional Viennese dishes such as schnitzel, beef goulash, boiled fillet of beef or the famous “Kaiserschmarren” (shredded sweet pancakes with raisins). In order to be able to serve the food when it was warm and freshly-made, it was transported from the wing containing the court kitchens to the imperial apartments in heated boxes and kept warm in an adjoining room in warming ovens fuelled by coal and, later on, gas. The emperor sat at the centre of the table, with the empress opposite him on the rare occasions she was present. As Elisabeth often fasted in order to preserve her slender figure she seldom attended family meals. Family dinners usually began at six o’clock in the evening and consisted of three to six courses. The dining service on the table has been loaned by the Imperial Silver Collection in the Vienna Hofburg, where a wealth of treasures in porcelain and silver is exhibited. The exhibits include the gold cutlery and condiment set of Maria Theresa as well as the personal service of Empress Elisabeth, among many other fascinating objects.
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