Medieval Feast in Durham © Blackfriars Restaurant

Fast and Feast – a Taste of Easter Past

The intriguing world of medieval Easter will be unearthed at a new virtual course staged by Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle in conjunction with Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Last Supper. By Giotto Bondone, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua. Source: Wikipedia
Last Supper. By Giotto Bondone, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua. Source: Wikipedia

Building on the success and global reach of their previous two virtual courses, ‘Fast & Feast: A Taste of Easter Past’ will be broadcast from 22-26 March 2021 from Blackfriars’ Cookery School, housed within the 13th-century former Dominican friary. The digital experience will include live cooking demonstrations, question and answer sessions, and pre-recorded films from professional chefs and scholars. .

‘Easter’ conjures many images – bunnies, eggs, and chocolate, as well as its central place in Christianity. Some, but far from all of these, would have been familiar in the Middle Ages. Easter and Lent hold a special place for medieval European society, with a wide range of culinary traditions and dishes to satisfy all manner of different tastes.

Professor of High Medieval History at Durham, Giles Gasper, who will co-host the course, commented “I’m absolutely thrilled to co-host this, our third online course. It will bring European medieval food to your dining table. And in this case the traditions of medieval Easter – a moveable feast on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. Lent and Easter show how inventive medieval chefs could be when faced with the challenges of food regulation with Fasting and Fish Days in Lent, and a huge feast, including meat, at Easter.

“Delegates will learn to create eggs which are not eggs, meat dishes with no meat, as well as spectacular roasts, vegetarian sides, and wonderful puddings. The course will take the original recipes and present them for the modern palate and introduce the historical period as well. What were the origins of the Easter bunny? When were Easter Eggs first mentioned? What was Collop Monday? Was lamb always associated with Easter?”.

Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars said “With the help of professional chefs, participants will receive top tips on how to prepare the dishes, cooking techniques, and balancing flavours. This is all about learning how to bring a taste of the past to life! By the end of the week delegates will have a set of recipes for their own medieval feast they can cook at home. Our academic experts will take them through the history of the period and reveal just how much we can know about the past through its food. This course will appeal to anyone curious to find out more about this great world cuisine. With our expert guides you’ll be able to eat medieval with confidence.

“We have been working with Giles and his team at Durham University for over a decade now exploring medieval food and bringing it to life within a modern restaurant with medieval cookery classes, banquets and lectures. In this new Covid-world, virtual online courses seem a natural diversification. We are incredibly excited by this new course and we’d love to share our passion for eating medieval with as many people as possible,” tells Andy Hook.

The five-day course from 22-26 March costs £125 and delegates will receive a full shopping list before and joining instructions before they attend.

For information and to book a place

Fast & Feast: A Taste of Easter Past

Medieval Newcastle website: