What Foods Did Romeo and Juliet Eat?

William Shakespeare’s play, “Romeo and Juliet,” mentions in Act 4, Scene 4, “They call for dates and quinces in the pastry.” This is the only specific mention of food in the play resembling the typical diet of upper class Italians in the 16th century.

Like more modern cuisine, a typical 16th century Italian meal consisted of meat or fish with pasta in sauce. Wild game was also a common meal and most meals were accompanied by bread and wine. Feasts would include several courses of risotto, pastas, seafood and meats, finished by sweet biscuits.

From the 16th century on, Italian and European cuisine in general was influenced by new ingredients and foods, such as tomatoes and potatoes brought back from colonial voyages to the Americas.