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Fashion and food in focus at Nobel banquet

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Fashion and food in focus at Nobel banquet
Nobel banquet: Slippery petals, banned pigs and sartorial hits
10:27 CET+01:00
The annual Nobel banquet in Stockholm is an exercise in culinary creativity, fashion, and logistics, as staff try to get more than 1,300 starters to tables in a stately hall filled with some of Sweden's best dressed and most influential people.

Throughout the day on Monday, a huge team is scrambling to make sure that 1,316 starters on the tables at Stockholm City Hall at 7.25pm, sharp.

And the waiter who a few years back dropped the food when he slipped on rose petals is still on board as the Nobel banquet preparations come to a head in the final hours before Monday's Nobel banquet.

Thirty-nine chefs are preparing the food for 2012 Nobel banquet but the menu is kept a secret until 7pm when the laureates sit down with members of the Royal Family, top politicians and other distinguished guests.

Tail-coats are mandatory for the men at the white-tie event.

The sartorial rules for women are rather more free as long as the skirt, or even the trousers, reach the floor, according to Magdalena Ribbing, etiquette queen at the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

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Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth scored sartorial points with many fashion journalists two years ago when she wore a tail-coat dress, and is seen, alongside the foreign minister's Italian-born wife Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, as one of the more daring fashion darlings at the prestige event.

Adelsohn Liljeroth wore a tartan dress in 2011, despite professing no affiliation to any Scottish clan.

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She is likely to take a customary turn on the dance floor after dinner, and the event's chefs know it is best to avoid too heavy a meal, lest the politicians, princesses, and prize winners slip into food coma.

This year's chef, Andreas Hedlund, was assigned the honour-laden task this spring and presented two alternatives to the Nobel Foundation, who have tasted and sipped its way to the still close-kept secret menu.

"We never serve pork, for religious reasons, and we don't serve deer either as the royal family always serves venison the day after when they host a dinner," culinary consultant Fredrik Eriksson told Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

The idea is also to show Swedish cuisine at its best. A challenge in December when snow storms have lashed most of the country.

"It's not the best season for our produce, so it's been a challenge," head chef Andreas Hedlund told SvD.

The food will be served on a special tableware designed in 1991 to honour the Nobel Prizes' 90th anniversary.

Swedish ceramics designer Karin Björquist, who worked for four decades at Gustavsbergs porcelain factory, was given the honour. Parts of the dinner set, which is now made by Rörstrand, are available for purchase in selected stores.

Whether the china is sturdy enough to survive any number of calamities possible as hundreds of waiters bring the food out is a different matter.

A few years back, a waiter slipped and fell on rose petals, bringing the food he was carrying crashing down with him. He is still on this evening's team, Sveriges Radio (SR) reported on Monday.

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