The Gothick Table
Dining at Gibside
Food historian Ivan Day will be making a number of the foodstuffs which would have been consumed in a banqueting house of this period. There will be a particular emphasis on dessert foods, particularly those with a neo-gothic decorative element.
It may come as a suprise, but gothic revival elements were as popular in cuisine just as much as they were in the decorative arts and architecture. Ivan will demonstrate the creation of a number of gothic-revival dessert foods, including sugarwork and jellies that would have made Pugin feel hungry. Ivan will also be explaining the history and purpose of banqueting houses throughout the two days. For more details visit the Landmark Trust website.
COOKING IN EUROPE 1650-1850
A new book by Ivan Day to be published by the Greenwood Press in November 2008. £25.95 ($45.00).
Recipes include examples from France, Italy, England, Austria, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain, and Scotland, from the simple Salad of Pomegranate from La Varenne's 1651 cookery book to the elaborate 1833 Boar's Head in Galantine by Carême. This unique book is a culinary treasure trove to complement all European History library collections.
THE HISTORY OF JELLY
Come to see food historian Ivan Day unmould the fascinating history of the jelly in a series of remarkable demonstrations at Brodsworth Hall Jelly Festival.
Tiny gilded jelly fish floating in a pond of sweet dessert wine made from original 1750 moulds.Click on the image to hear Ivan making jellys for Jenny Murray on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour.
A blancmange pineapple made in a mould from the time of Jane Austen. This beautiful dessert dish looks as if it has been made from porcelain.Click the image to hear Ivan talk about the history of gelatine on the prize winning American podcast Eat-Feed.
Pineapple flavoured jellies are difficult to make, because the juice contains an enzyme that prevents gelatine from setting. However, Victorian cooks used other setting agents like isinglass (sturgeon's bladder - true!) to set the jelly. Click the jelly above to see the mould.
This mid-nineteenth century tiered cone jelly was designed to wobble in a most provocative way. Many a straightlaced Victorian diner must have cried with mirth when they saw this little fellow going through its paces. Watch a strawberry flavoured version of this naughty Victorian jelly misbehave itself outrageously in the video opposite. The jelly was made in a mid-nineteenth century ceramic mould designed and manufactured by Copeland. This is just one of the many remarkable dishes that were recently made on an Historic Food Victorian Cookery Course.
A Brunswick Star Jelly and mould. When this remarkable jelly was sliced it revealed a white blancmange star (left) going all the way through the centre. It was designed to celebrate the marriage of Edward Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. It was a pendant to the Alexandra Cross Jelly, which had the Danish Flag running through the jelly. Both jelly moulds were provided with a special liner that allowed blancmange to be poured into a cavity in the centre of the jelly.
The Jelly Festival takes place in the beautiful gardens at Brodsworth Hall. Click the image to go to the Brodsworth Hall website. If you want to know more about this event, there are also more details on the website of English Heritage. This will be a fun event for all members of the family.
A Jelly in the form of a playing card. These moulds were also used for making ice cream. Whole sets of cards couild be made. Although these date from the nineteenth century, the idea is much older. Sugar playing cards were made in the sixteenth and seventeenth century and there are records of whole edible chess sets.
Above - a Victorian milk jelly made in a pipe mould and filled with summer fruits. Below - an asparagus cream garnished with savoury ballettes.
A Chocolate Extravaganza
Pass your mouse cursor over the image above and click to go to Harewood House website for more information on this event. The image shows a Georgian chocolate pot with its mill and Batavian ware Chinese bowls. The rollover image is an early eighteenth century Italian manuscript illumination.
Seventeenth and eighteenth century chocolate was sold in ready prepared tablets, which could be grated to make drinking chocolate. These usually contained sugar and were sometimes spiced or perfumed. Confectionery and baked goods whichg were flavoured with chocolate started to appear in the late seventeenth century, but true "chocolates" did not arrive on the scene until quite later.
The first chocolates were called Diavolini or Diablotins - little devils and were described in a recipe in Les Soupers de la Cour in 1755. Like a lot of good things they seem to have been invented in Naples.
The photograph opposite shows an eighteenth century epergne and some sweetmeat glasses filled with various items of historical chocolate confectionery, including diablotins (1755), chocolate drops (1789) and the Queen's Chocoladoes - in the central bowl of the epergne. These were candied immature cacao nuts and date from the 1660s. Ivan made these for the ground breaking exhibition In Praise of Hot Liquors held a few years ago at Fairfax House in York, a city with historical links to chocolate and its production.
A selection of eighteenth and nineteenth century ices made by Ivan in the old kitchen at Harewood in 2007. This year he is going to demonstrate the skills of the chocolatiers of the past, making moulded chocolates like the cockerel and hen on the right and a whole range of other forgotten chocolate delights. If you are a chocoholic who wants to learn more about the history of your addiction, come to this uniqe event at beautiful Harewood House.
SUGAR FLOWERS FOR AN EMPRESS
This winter, museum goers in New York City were treated to a very special re-creation of an Imperial Russian dessert table, complete with authentic eighteenth century style sugar architecture and fragile pastillage flowers. This unique display was a feature of Fragile Diplomacy, a major exhibition of Meissen Porcelain held at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhatten. Exhibition curator Maureen Cassidy-Geiger, probably the world’s foremost authority on Meissen, had managed to persuade the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg to lend the exhibition a remarkable dessert service made at Meissen in 1745, known as the St. Andrew’s Service. This was one of the most important ever made at the manufactory and was given as a gift by Augustus III, the Elector of Saxony to Elizabeth, Empress of Russia. Mrs. Cassidy-Geiger invited the British food historian Ivan Day to use the service to re-create a mid-eighteenth century dessert in its full glory.
As well as all the plates, dishes and tureens used for serving the food, dessert services often came complete with a set of porcelain figures for decorating the middle of the table. The St. Andrew’s service includes a group of beautiful glazed white porcelain figures which represent Apollo and the Muses. By the middle of the 18th century, white ceramic figures of this kind were beginning to replace the elaborate sugar sculpture which had graced high status banquet tables for the best part of two hundred years. Meissen, Europe’s first porcelain factory, started this trend in the 1730s.These figures were usually arranged on a raised plateau or surtout de table, made of mirrored glass, which ran down the centre of the table.
EVENTS DIARY AND NEWS 2008/9
GIBSIDE BANQUETING HOUSE
Landmark Trust Open Days
13th-14th September 2008
COOKING IN EUROPE 1650-1850
A new book by Ivan Day
Publication Date - 11th November 2008
Some illustrations of pastries from Cookery in Europe 1650-1850
Brodsworth Hall and Gardens - 25-26 July 2008
5 miles north west of Doncaster off the A635.
Spectacular slices of Brunswick Star Jelly
Early Victorian Asparagus Cream Jelly
The mysterious Belgrave Jelly with its spiral columns
One of the rarest of all jelly moulds - an oval Belgrave with its pewter lining
This event is kindly sponsored by Nestlé UK