Palacio de Fernán Nuñez – a romantic hidden palace.
Palacio de Fernán Nuñez – a secret of Calle Santa Isabel 44.
Palacio de Fernán Nuñez is one of the most romantic palaces in Madrid. Also it is one of the most well kept secrets of the city. It located in the heart of Madrid where everyday hundreds of people pass by without realizing what a treasure is kept behind the doors of Calle Santa Isabel 44.
A little bit of history.
It was built in 1753 as a house for Blas Jover, a member of the Council of Fernando VI. Later the palace has changed many owners and served many purposes. My favorite part of its history starts when Felipe Osorio María de la Cueva, the 7th Count of Cervellón, who married María Francisca de Asís, the 2th Duchess of Fernán Núñez inherited it. The couple started the major renovation and the remodeling of the place in 1847 and turned it into one of the superior palaces in Madrid. Their daughter, the 3th Duchess of Fernán Núñez, was one of the most famous ladies of Madrid aristocracy and hosted the most elegant parties. The palace became the center of social and cultural life of Madrid and gathered the royal family, noble members of the Spanish society as well as important foreign guests.
Nowadays we can visit parts of the palace and enjoy looking at some of the authentic pieces, such as sofas, mirrors, rugs and tapestries from the Santa Bárbara Royal Factory, Murano and Baccarat crystal chandeliers, silks and other decorative elements that tell us a story from the past. Unfortunately not all original interiors were preserved, some of the pieces of furniture and decorations was sold when the palace was acquired by RENFE. Now the service part of the palace is being used as offices of the company.
My imaginative story of Palacio de Fernán Nuñez.
Every time when I visit an old mansion or a palace I picture sciences from the past in my mind. Splendid parties, beautiful guests, musicians playing in a hidden balcony… Or perhaps something less official – a duchess having a friend for tea in her rose room. On the little table there are a sophisticated egg shell china tea set, a little rose bouquet from the garden and sable biscuits for example. Of course it is only my phantasy. Visits like this always make me want to learn more and inspire to recreate some of the beautiful impressions at home. Even if it just baking sable biscuits for the afternoon tea.
130g plain flour
100g butter, cut into small cubes
60g icing sugar
pinch of salt
1 big egg yolk
zest of lemon (optional)
edible dried roses or other flowers
Place the flour, butter, icing sugar and salt into a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks, zest and mix until a dough forms. Form into ball, wrap with plastic film and transfer to refrigerator for 1 hour to chill. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a thickness of about 0.5cm. Cut out shapes using a cutter. Place the sables on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes at 160C, or until light golden-brown and crisp. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool. In medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate, remove bowl from heat, and stir occasionally until smooth. Pour into small bowl. Decorate every biscuit with some chocolate and flowers and leave to set.
Recipe by Elena Pisareva