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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MEDIA DINNER: Fortress of Louisbourg 18th Century dinner at Fort York, Nov. 29, 2008

The Time and Date: Saturday, November 29, 2008  6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
The Event: an evening of 18th century food, wine and history at Fort
York, inspired by the wine inventories of the residents of Louisbourg.
The Venue: Fort York
The Target Audience: food historians and wine writers, and their
The Availability/Catalogue: Parks Canada was the major sponsor, and
they did their best to get appropriate wines, bearing in mind that
wines had to be available in the province of Ontario for consumption.
The wines are available through the LCBO. There was one Nova Scotia
wine, Jost Framboise Raspberry Dessert Wine with dessert.
The Quote/Background: Anne Marie Lane Jonah (historian at Fortress of
Louisbourg), her sister Susan Lane (sommelier and Manager of Lane's
Privateer Inn) and Ann Marie Pitcher (restaurant manager of Fortress
Louisbourg Association) had been putting together wine and food nights
at Louisbourg. They had offered several four-course meals with wine
plus tours of the Fortress at night, at an amazing price of $65 a head.
They had just completed their third season, with the dates for the
fourth in 2009 to be announced shortly. They had been researching for
quite a while, and now it was time to take the show on the road – to
show the rest of Canada what awaits them at the Fortress. Their 300th
anniversary is coming up in 1713, and they'd like lots of tourists to
eat there. The meals are set in 1744, based on the wine inventory at
the time. Each course is described by the team, and so is the
accompanying wine. Reproductions of plates and serving dishes are used,
as well as fully costumed interpreters. "We're trying to encourage
people to spend a little more time thinking about the people who lived
in colonial Louisbourg; they came from many regions and had a wide
experience of the world they lived in", said Anne Marie Lane Jonah.
"There was a lot about life in 18th-century Louisbourg that was harsh,
but people have always tried to find pleasures to make life more
bearable. Food is one of those sources of pleasure, as well as
sustenance, and it's also one of the main ways that people define their
culture". Just before we ate, there was a sabre demo on opening wine
bottles, performed by Doris Miculan Bradley…we gave her lots of room.
The Wines and Food: we were given a printed menu with sources for the
preps, and the type of wines that would have been served. Strewn
throughout each course were edible flowers as garnishes. Two musicians
with a harpsichord and a flute provided consummate music. Here's the
menu (with some comments). Sources are listed after each dish – no
source means it is a "traditional" dish with accepted local provenance:
Huitres, Merigomish et Trumpcap de Nouvelle Ecosse – with gougeres and
sauce, lemons. We drank Louise Brison Brut Champagne 2002 (50/50 pinot
noir and chardonnay, a traditional accompaniment to oysters)
Soup - Potage de poisson (La Varenne, 1651) – coarse chopped diverse
fish, such as cod and salmon, served family style. With a "vin de
Nante": Domain les Haute Noelles Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu 2006
(refreshing acidity)
Entremets – gougeres bourguignonnes, pate (after Menon, 1755). With
"vin claret de Provence" Carte Noire Rose Cotes de Provence 2007
(extremely light in colour, useful pairing with the entremets and/or
the soup and salmon below).
Premier service – Saumon aux fines herbes, sauce petite italienne
(Menon, 1755), with rice and salad (mushroom, carrots, cucumber,
lettuces, shirred eggs). With "vin de Florence" Frescobaldi Chianti
Rufina Nippozano Reserva 2005 (long and balanced, paired with salmon
but also useful with the ragout below and the pate).
Entrée – Ragout de boeuf (Massialot, 1691) with carrots, turnips,
potatoes. "Vin de Navarre" Julian Chivite Gran Feudo Reserve 2003
Navarra (lots of wood tones that melded with the beefy complexity of
the ragout).
Dessert – Gateau fin au chocolat avec crème anglaise (LaVarenne,
ca1650). "Liqueur de framboises" Jost Framboise Raspberry Dessert Wine.
The Contact Person: or
The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 95

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