Some months ago a few friends discussed how nice it would be to assemble one afternoon to visit over cups of drinking chocolate and a few sweets. However, when you have three ladies who love to sew, cook and dance, nothing remains simple for long. Before you know it, our little Georgian chocolate party turned into a formal costumed dinner party with dancing.
One of our number happens to have decorated her home in the Georgian style which provided the perfect backdrop for the evening. Before dinner we assembled in the parlour. We admired each other’s gowns, and made note of how dapper all of the gentlemen looked, and engaged in otherwise pleasant conversation over glasses of spiced Negus and cider.
Given that many of the guests are extremely talented seamstresses, the clothing was a feast for the eyes, and that combined with the beautiful period appropriate setting, you could almost imagine that we had actually travelled back in time as we raised our glasses and toasted the King before being called in for dinner.
The dining room was as beautiful as the parlour, and very much reminded me of a picture of the dining hall located in Castle Howard in Yorkshire.
There were two servants on hand to ensure that all ran smoothly, and due to space constraints and to ensure that everything could be served at an optimum temperature, it was decided that we would pop slightly into the 19th century to dine service à la russe. Some weeks before the dinner, I researched period recipes to consider serving at the dinner. The recipes were split up between those of us who love to cook, and when we arrived at the party our prepared dishes were immediately taken into the kitchen for the servants to manage. Once we were all seated the wine was poured and spectacular dinner commenced.
We started with a course of roasted cheese, beets, and olives. Roasted cheese was one of Jane Austen’s favorite dishes, and this Good Time Regency Girl could have eaten this one dish and have been content. That is until the other dishes started arriving.
The main meal consisted of roasted chicken, ham, roots a’la crème, green beans ragooed with potatoes, and an almond and rose water flummery.
Following the main course, the dessert course was laid out and consisted of syllabubs, mince tarts, blown almonds, shortbread, and a Georgian chocolate tart.
After dessert, the ladies lingered in the dining room while the gentlemen headed back into the parlour to rearrange the furniture to make room for us to dance. I brought along a laptop loaded with English country dance music, and called a variety of dances that worked well in a confined space. We have already discussed how lovely it would be to bring in a musician the next time we host one of these dinner parties, but the recorded music did suit our purpose for the evening. During a break in the dancing the men happened across a selection of reproduction swords and some silliness broke out shortly after.
The evening concluded with us all sitting in the parlour, agreeing that while this was the first such party it will most certainly not be the last.