Our Courses

Inspired by the medieval past

Designed by a team of master chefs and academic experts, our courses explore the cuisine and culture of medieval Europe (c.1150-c.1500). A time-travelling journey of discovery.

Current Courses

Fast and Feast: A Taste of Easter Past

Explore the culinary world of medieval Lent and Easter with recipes from English, French, and Catalan traditions spanning some 300 years. Fish, game, meat, vegetables, pies, pastries, and, spiced wine, as well as eggs that are not really eggs, all await. And these come with films and podcasts on the history of the period, the collections from which we draw the recipes, and the society and culture of medieval Europe. We have medieval music as well. All of this is introduced by Andy Hook, the owner of Blackfriars Restaurant, and Professor Giles Gasper, Durham University.

The course takes place over 5 days: 22nd-26th March and is delivered online, with a picture of live and pre-recorded events including Zoom question and answer sessions. Tickets are £125 a head (and discount codes apply). Booking is through the Blackfriars Restaurant system, and couldn’t be easier. Book now!

How we put our courses together

Showcase: Our aim is to showcase the extraordinary culinary wealth of medieval Europe . And to bring these records of past food to life with the skills of contemporary master-chefs. University research combines with culinary art.

Collaborative: The team work from the original sources, with lots of discussion, before moving to the first, literal, exposition of a particular recipe. The chefs then work up their own interpretations using their experience and professional training. This is not re-enactment cuisine (for which there are many excellent courses), but something different, with recipes faithful to the old, but for modern palettes, and expanding culinary norms.

Flexible: The courses are set over 5 days – and are designed to be flexible. You can follow day by day but you don’t have to, and you should follow at whatever pace suits. We leave access to the courses open for 3 weeks after the finish date to allow you to go back and over anything you’d like to.

Responsive: After you sign up you’ll receive a welcome message and a code for pages on this website about 2 weeks before the course. This will give you access to your ingredients list, and advice on sourcing ingredients especially spices and herbs, and substitutes – not everyone, for example, can furnish themselves with wild boar! A second message and code will come for the main pages and the start of the course. You’ll be able to contact the course leaders throughout the course for advice and comments, and we have lively Facebook and social media groups for extra support, sharing pictures and experiences.

But don’t take our word for it…here are some examples of what we do….

To give you a flavour of our historical materials, this short film from Professor Giles Gasper takes you through Blackfriars in the Middle Ages:

its origins,

its history,

and its notable visitors.

Watch Blackfriars Head Chef Chris Wardale’s version of a recipe from the earliest medieval culinary collection, a set of sauces from Durham Cathedral Priory c.1170:

simple,

for sausages,

and absolutely delicious!

And here Blackfriars Cookery School Chef Craig Nicholson demonstrates an elegant pastry from a collection in Anglo-Norman French, from England, c. 1300 – Tardepolene.

It has many versions in later medieval recipe collections.

All of them as tasty as this one.

Our previous courses include:

‘A Taste of the Past’ exploring 12th century recipes and the earliest culinary collections from medieval Europe

‘A Taste of Christmas Past’ with a time-travelling menu from the 13th to the 15th century – Christmas with all the medieval trimmings – Goose, Partridge, and a Boar’s Head

I really enjoyed the course and I think that the team really thought of everything, even the timings and letting us have access to the platform 2 weeks after it was over (since it is a lot of information). I consider that this kind of courses are a great way to make history accessible through food and something as passionate as cooking, with people all around the world. Congratulations!!

Marlene, Mexico

The over-all organization of the course went really well. I liked having the educational videos spread out throughout the week, and the live zoom sessions were fun!

Emma, USA

This was an awesome class. I look forward to keeping in touch and
future classes you may hold. This gave us a lot of ideas to source
historical recipes and find ways to bring them to life once again.

Erik, USA
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