If you are a fan of Downton Abbey as I am, you will recall it begins when an heir to the Crawley family dies on the Titanic and the family is left to ponder how they will handle the inheritance of their magnificent estate by their distant cousin, Matthew Crawley. Last weekend at Hamanassett’s cooking school, the students were able to prepare and enjoy most of the dishes served in the first class dining room on that faithful night of April 14, 2012. At 11:40 PM that night the Titanic hit the iceberg. Fortunately our guests didn’t suffer the final outcome of the guests of the ship but did enjoy a fabulous lunch and dinner.
Under the tutelage of Chef Melissa Walsh and our own resident chef, Glenn Mon, the students reproduced the Titanic’s marvelous food. This is surely the best way to experience a bygone era of luxury and leisure. This last dinner provides a wonderful window into the social life of the Edwardian age. The Luncheon menu consisted of asparagus salad with champagne-saffron vinaigrette, chicken Lyonnaise and peaches in chartreuse jelly. (I learned from our Chef Melissa that the color chartreuse was named for this dish). Hamanassett used to serve wine with the lunch dishes but quickly learned it wasn’t a good idea to have student chefs half in the bag wielding sharp knives, mandolins, and hot pans.
After an afternoon of instruction and cooking Hamanassett’s student guests dined on a dinner menu of consomme Olga. This is a clear broth that was spooned over sliced scallops. The consomme was followed by poached salmon with Mousseline sauce. Next came punch Romaine which combines champagne, white wine, orange juice and rum plus a bunch of other ingredients. It is more like a sorbet than a punch that we think of today. Now for most of us, this would have been a complete meal but the Edwardians were just getting started. Our guests next dined on Filet Mignon Lili served with foie gras (goose liver) medallions with artichoke hearts and black truffles. The filet was accompanied by potatoes Anna and minted green pea timbales. Dessert was Waldorf pudding. Think you’re finished? The final plate was an assortment of fruits and cheeses. All of the dishes were served with an appropriate wine.
Our guests thoroughly enjoyed the day cooking and the evening’s repast. Around 5 PM they were excused to relax and change for dinner and Chefs Melissa and Glenn put the finishing touches on the meal. The full meal took several hours to enjoy and our guests returned to their rooms happy and full.
Hamanassett has several more cooking classes planned for this year. The cost is only $225.00 per person plus the cost of your room. To learn about them and dates http://www.hamanassett.com/cookingschool.html