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Food Tips for your Ancient Roman Party

Who's coming to dinner?

Who's coming to dinner?

What on earth can we give them to eat?

So you're about to have a Murder Mystery Party set in the decadence of Ancient Rome. You've sent out the invites, chosen your costume for the occasion and you've practiced a couple of ways to do your hair.

What's next?

The food! You need something that's simple to prepare in the modern kitchen yet could have come from the Emperor Nero's own table. Not a problem. Here are some suggestions.


Set the Mood

Tart up your House

Get hold of some cheap plastic tablecloths in bright colours like purple and crimson. Shower Curtains in bold. bright colours can be hung over doorways.

Gold crepe paper can be tacked around walls, and place any statuary or suitable prints you have around the room.

Decorate with any potplants you have, bring them from outside if necessary, and have vases of flowers wherever they will fit. You're making your room look as exotic as possible.

With eight people to feed, it's easier to have a long buffet table against a wall for the food, and comfy chairs for the diners. Or have everyone seated around a large table. Keep in mind that this party will go on for some hours so guests have to be comfortable.

Are your Guests comfortable?


Buy This Dancing and Drinking in Ancient Rome Poster at Allposters.com

Turn a Wall into a Room with a View - An Ancient Roman view

The Menu for your Roman Murder

Ancient words - Modern ingredients

Gustatio, Fruit and Cheesecake is all you need, but here are some meat suggestions as well.

1. Gustatio, for starters.

Lay out on your table bowls of salads, olives, oysters, braised mushrooms, sliced cucumber with melon and hard-boiled eggs.

2. Caput Cenae. The main course

1. Pork Sausages. The most popular type of sausage was the lucanica, a short, fat, rustic pork sausage now found as Portuguese and Brazilian linguica, Greek loukaniko, Spanish longaniza, and Italian luganega. If you can't get these, any spicy pork sausage will do.

2. Roast Pork and/or Roast, braised or poached duck

3. Barbecued Chicken (takeaway is fine)

3. Dessert

1. Any grapes (have lots of grapes), figs, dates,apricots, peaches, cherries or plums.

2. Cheesecake was as popular in ancient Rome as it is today.


The Wine to accompany your Ancient Roman Food

Roman wine is pretty heavy for modern drinkers. Fortunately you don't have to serve it to your guests. Use your favourite wine but call it an Ancient Roman name.

Red wine - vinum atrum

White wine - vinum candidum

A most prized wine was Falerno, from Campania, and always served first at banquets. Finish up with the rough red the Romans knew as Veietano from Etruria.

I usually say that the wine I serve is Falerno, from the lush volcanic soil of Campania. Sadly, all production of Falerno ceased when Vesuvius erupted in 79. LXXVIV.

If you wanted to be really exotic, you could try Mulsum, a honeyed wine (add your own honey).

Beer was regarded as a barbarian drink but perhaps your guests have exotic tastes. Perhaps your guests are barbarians.

Rome HBO

One of your Guests is a Murderer


Rome HBO

If you want to put on a culinary show, something more than hardboiled eggs and olives, here are a couple of recipes which fit the bill.

Based on the translation from Patrick Faas

Cook Time

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 6 mins

Serves: 6 - 8


  • 100 g fresh mint
  • 50 g fresh coriander
  • 50 g fresh parsley
  • a sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 small leek
  • 200 g salted ricotta cheese - salata ricotta
  • vinegar
  • pepper
  • olive oil


  1. Put in a mortar the herbs, sliced leek or salad onion, lettuce and rocket leaves.
  2. Add ricotta. Crush together. Stir in a little peppered vinegar.
  3. Put this mixture on a plate and pour a little olive oil over it.

Simple Roast Duck

Call this Assum Anatis

Cook Time

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 3-4 hours

Serves: Depends on duck size - a nibble for 8 guests


  • 1 duck
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 apple
  • 1/4 of a peeled onion
  • bacon slices
  • Instructions


  1. Salt and pepper inside of duck to taste.
  2. Cut apple into quarters and stick inside duck.
  3. Stuff the onion inside duck.
  4. Place duck in roasting pan and place bacon slices on top of duck.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for roughly 30 mins per pound at 350 degrees.
  6. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and cook an additional 2 hours.
  7. If duck is not browning well, remove the foil. You may also need to add a little water to the pan.

Spicy Roman Pork Chops

Porcina in craticulam

Cook Time

Prep Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 4 hours to marinate, 1 hour to cook

Serves: 6 - 8


  • 8 thick pork loin chops
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 3/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • small cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar


  1. Place chops in single layer in a large, deep bowl.
  2. In a saucepan mix all other ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour sauce over pork chops, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, arrange chops in a single layer in a large shallow baking dish or roasting pan and bake, uncovered, at 350 for an hour or so until chops are tender.
  5. You can also cut into finger-food size pieces.

© 2014 Susanna Duffy

Leave a Comment for the Ancient Cook

RomeFan on July 30, 2014:

I love pork chops. I think I really got to try your Spicy Roman Pork Chops. Another great lens from your susannaduffy!

Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on June 23, 2014:

This looks like the beginning of a really fun occasion!

MaggiePowell on June 23, 2014:

Sounds fun! I haven't hosted a role-playing party in a while... might be time to dust off my skills

Susanna Duffy (author) from Melbourne Australia on June 23, 2014:

@Lorelei Cohen: Summer time is probably best - tunics and togas aren't particularly suitable as cold weather clothing

Lorelei Cohen on June 23, 2014:

Hmm, is there a specific time of year that is best to host a true Roman style party? I used to hear many times when I was young of toga parties but not so much as of late so it would be nice to bring them back again. The dress is definitely simple enough to manage. Food - plenty of it I would think. I believe they did an awful lot of feasting back then. Murder - gasp!

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