Eat Medieval: 12th Century Sauces from the Land of the Prince Bishops
4th-8th October 2021
Come and explore the earliest collection of culinary recipes from Medieval Europe. These are a set of sauce and relish recipes originally from Durham Cathedral Priory, now in the library of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and advertising themselves as from Poitou in western France. Dating from about 1170 these recipes were discovered in 2013 by Faith Wallis and analysed by her and Giles Gasper. This course presents medieval gastronomic instruction from its beginnings. We’ll also be exploring recipes from contemporary records and figures, with our signature blend of talks from experts, podcasts, and medieval music. Join us for more Eat Medieval!
Our new 5-day online course: Eat Medieval: The First Medieval Recipe Collection
4th-8th October 2021
We delve into the Durham Sauce collection, and additional recipes from Henry of Huntingdon and Alexander Neckham – all from around 1170 or so. We have recipes on meat, fish and game as well as sweet dishes and spiced wine. We’ll explore the first medieval gastronomic collection, with sauces heavy with herbs, pepper, and garlic, and a ginger-honey sauce dripping with spices.
We’ll take the original recipes and present them with the help of Blackfriars chefs for the modern palate and introduce you to the historical period as well through films, podcasts explaining the period, the history, and how medieval people lived. We also have live Q&A sessions and a lively Facebook page to show-off your own creations!
Preview what we offer – Our Courses will show you what to expect!
Medieval Food. Modern Chefs. Online.
Medieval food was one of the great cuisines of the world. Uncover the roots of modern culinary tastes in the company of chefs and scholars and be inspired to try something old to create something new.
The north east of England is home to a rich medieval heritage and a lively food scene. Combine the two and something very special happens. Eat Medieval is a flourishing partnership between Blackfriars Restaurant, Newcastle, and Durham University, UK.
Modern food concerns have much more in common with medieval culture than we might think: seasonality, sustainability, and provenance were as important in the 12th century as they are in the 21st.
Our partnership seeks to explore the medieval culinary past – its traditions, its sources, and its broader cultural messages – through a modern lens. Together, we’ll re-discover old flavours, re-trace ancient trade routes, and re-vivify centuries-old dishes for modern palates.
Scholarship and Gastronomy
Combining the expertise of a restaurant and a university is exactly what Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars Restaurant and Giles Gasper, Professor of Medieval History at Durham University have done.
With chefs and scholars from both places, and friends from further afield, we’ve been working together for the last ten years, supported by Durham’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. .
Join us in our passion for food, history, culture, and sharing stories.
What we do, and what you can do with us
The website will tell you about the nature of the partnership. The unusual combination of academic research and practical application provides a creative edge. Knowing what medieval recipes say is one thing, knowing how they might have worked, needs the practical experience of professional chefs.
Why not try one of our online courses? These run every 3 months or so, with repeats (so you won’t miss out). Join us as we move across the European medieval recipe collections, from the 12th to the 15th centuries, and through the seasons and festivals. Log-in from wherever you are – this is global!
Live Talks and Tastings
When life runs as normal we hold a twice-yearly lecture and lunch at Blackfriars. We also run food tastings and experience days for university students and the public, in the UK and abroad. Andy and Giles ran Eat Medieval events in 2019 at the Culinary Institute of America, at Copia, Napa, California.
Our project is built on new ideas. Scholars, chefs, and anyone with a taste for the past, we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.
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