March 10, 2006
CW's tavern offer new menu selections direct from the 18th century
Colonial Williamsburg’s taverns have found new ways to give guests a taste of the 18th century. A culinary team consisting of the Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Foodways staff and chefs from the Foundation’s dining taverns re-created 21st-century recipes from colonial cookbooks. Ale Sautéed Beef Tips, Chicken the French Way and Salmon Slices of Mr. Clouet’s Way take the guest’s taste buds back in time.
“You couldn’t offer these dishes anywhere else,” said Bill Wandersee, food and beverage manager of Historic Area Operations. “It’s a one-of-a-kind offering.”
“It’s opening up several avenues for the taverns to be in a better position to give the guest the true 18th-century experience,” said Chef Hans Schadler, executive chef and culinary director for Colonial Williamsburg Hospitality.
The Historic Foodways program, founded in 1984, was established with two major goals. The first is to research, re-create, and preserve the processes of 18th-century food preparation by using documentary research and historically accurate tools and techniques to prepare and serve the foods consumed in Colonial Virginia, especially Williamsburg. The second is to interpret the significance of those foods and processes, and all things associated with food procurement, preparation and presentation in the daily lives of 18th-century Virginians.
Each dish that is introduced enhances the atmosphere of the tavern. King’s Arms Tavern, an 18th-century chop house, features Ale Sautéed Beef Tips with a Shitake and Ale Reduction.
Named after the tavern’s 18th-century proprietress, Mrs. Vobe’s Tavern Dinner begins with Chicken the French Way, a recipe from the 18th-century cookbook, “The Art of Cookery” by Hanna Glass. A lightly breaded chicken breast is served with sauce comprised of white wine, lemon and raisins over Smithfield Ham and savory Cornbread Stuffing.
The most recent additions to tavern menus have taken place at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern. Long known for its sumptuous seafood, Campbell’s Tavern features Salmon Slices of Mr. Clouet’s Way, which is prepared from William Verral’s 1750 cookbook. Mr. Clouet was a French chef at the White Hart Tavern in England. The salmon is marinated and served with a prawn and wine sauce. For a first course, guests may choose a salad based on Founding Father Thomas Jefferson’s recipe. The Chilled Pea Salet combines green peas, celery root, Granny Smith apples, mint, lemon and eggs.
Wandersee hopes to continue to serve a part of the 18th century on a platter for guests. “We want to continue to offer 18th-century dishes that are developed by the Foundation’s Historic Foodways staff,” he said.