On 10 December each year, Stockholm City Hall transforms into the venue of a lavish dinner in honour of that year’s Nobel Prize laureates. With military precision, 1300 guests are waited on by 200 waiters, with five people employed just to uncork the wine and another 28 spending eight hours just setting tables. Swedish princes and diamond-bedecked princesses charm ageing professors who have changed our understanding of the world. And each year the menu is kept as secret as the names of the winners. In 2005, when Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won the prize for physiology and medicine, they chowed down on crayfish panna cotta with fennel-baked Arctic char, grouse baked in mushrooms with caramelised apples, and lemon and yoghurt mousse with Arctic bramble marmalade, all washed down with Pommery (1995), Penfolds RWT (2001) and a saucing of French sauternes. Peter Doherty, taking his place at the Nobel table in 1996, was treated to crème of cauliflower jelly with caviar, guinea fowl with potatoes, and berry sorbet with vanilla ice cream, washed down with a selection of France’s best. If you want to try your own Nobel Prize dinner, a restaurant in the city hall’s cellar will – if given enough notice – whip up a menu from any Nobel dinner. JH
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