Saturnalia, A Roman “Christmas” Feast

December the 9th is a Saturday aka Saturn’s day and The Philosopher’s Stove are getting in the mood for Christmas! We’re inviting you to Saturnalia, the Roman precursor to Christmas, long before anyone knew there would ever be such a thing!

Saturnalia was described by the first-century AD poet Gaius Valerius Catullus as ‘the best of times’; an extravaganza of food and drink, an inversion of social roles, a more relaxed dress code, an exchange of small gifts, an expression of oneself through singing and gambling. Sounds like the last days before the Fall of the Roman Empire…

It started as a one day celebration, December the 17th, but gradually became what the first century AD philosopher and dramatist Seneca used to complain about: ‘December used to be a month – now it’s a whole year’.

In Isle of Olive’s communal table, we’ll discover and taste the culinary habits of the past by combining famous Roman Saturnalia dishes with a modern day touch. Join our banqueting feast!

saturnalia menu


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