Even at a legionary camp, high-ranking officers lived fairly comfortably in their own houses. One of these is preserved at Vindonissa. Its canteen and the food waste discovered reveal that high standards of fine dining were maintained even out in the provinces.
The residential building of a high-ranking officer with a surface area of some 1,100 m2 was situated directly on the main camp road running from east to west (via principalis). In pre-Roman times a huge trench from a Celtic fortification had been located here. The Romans removed the fortification wall and filled the trench so as to be able to build their camp on it.
As the centuries passed the fill layers in the Celtic ditch gradually sunk down, causing the excavation layers from Roman times to subside as well.
Today, visitors to the Legionary Trail go underground where they come across the exceptionally well-preserved remains of this residential building. The "sunken" Mediterranean-style canteen with its large cooking stove is a particularly spectacular feature. The likewise well-preserved cooking waste and food remains have been archaeobiologically examined and show just what exquisite meals the chefs would prepare for the officer and his guests: roast suckling pig, songbirds, venison, Mediterranean mackerel and oysters were particularly popular - evidence of choice southern European cuisine in the middle of the Helvetian province.
The Romans loved to throw lavish banquets followed by drinking sessions. These were private functions, the aim often being to impress guests by serving expensive, elaborately prepared dishes. But it was important to keep the simple soldiers amused, too - not just the higher-ranking officers. Taverns were provided for this purpose. One such taberna was situated directly adjacent to the officer's residential building. For anyone staying overnight at the camp it was the perfect place to take a nightcap.