The Georgian Chocolate Party

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.

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The parlour

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.

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Dining Room

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Castle Howard, 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.

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Roasted Cheese

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.

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swordplay

 

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.

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The Ladies

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Griddle Scones

Today I demonstrated hearth cooking at a local museum for a group of senior citizens. I talked to them about the log cabin I was cooking in, and the types of cooking that happens at the museum. Samples of scones were handed out, and I was honored to hear some of the stories the guests shared about their memories of food and cooking elicited by the smell and taste of the scones. We also had guests from different cultures who said that people still do a fair share of cooking over open fires in their countries of origin. We talked about the similarities between scones, bannock, roti, and naan and commented on how universal breads are to people across the ages.

Shaping the dough.

Shaping the dough.

Scone on the griddle.

Scone on the griddle.

Griddle scone ready to sample.

Griddle scone ready to sample.

Dancing Through The Ages

The first weekend of July swung into action with two back-to-back days of costumed dancing. On Saturday I time traveled back to the mid -19th century at Pickering Museum Village to dance Schottische’s, Quadrille’s, and of course A Grand March. Not my usual English Country Dance fare, but an interesting change with an outstanding caller, David Smuckler,  and delightful musicians. I enjoyed viewing the wide variety of costumes worn by attendees, with fashions ranging from the early to mid-19th century.

Ladies in hoops.

Ladies in hoops.

My favorite outfit of the day.

My favorite outfit of the day.

Here is a image of me participating in one of the dances. Of course I am the lady in the Regency Gown.

Here is a image of me participating in one of the dances. Of course I am the lady in the Regency Gown.

The dancing continued on Sunday, travelling even further back in time to my beloved Regency period. The Jane Austen Dancers hosted a public demonstration at The Toronto Harborfront Centre. The day included some demonstration dances plus the opportunity for spectators to step up and learn a few simple dances. Lemonade was served, free hand fans were handed out, and the public seemed to have a great time learning a little about the type of dance that Jane Austen would have participated in.  Best thing overheard was a teenage girl walking past me holding hands with her boyfriend saying “How can you not be into this Jane Austen stuff?”  I wholeheartedly agree.

Regency dancing at Harbor Front Centre.

Regency dancing at Harbor Front Centre.

Jane Austen Dance

Jane Austen Dance

2015 – A New Year of History – The Regency and Beyond!

Hello my lovely creatures! Did you enjoy a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends? Mine was busy, busy, busy and has not quite stopped as I have yet to see any of my siblings. Lady E and Lord R are popping over today for a pre-NYE lunch since we missed them over Christmas, and then tomorrow Lord A and Lady B are coming by to celebrate the beginning of 2015.

Sadly, after January 11th all the War of 1812 events will be over, they are coming to a close at the Battle of New Orleans. Lord G and I spent a week in the Big Easy in December and I have a ridiculous amount of historical pictures and facts to share. Look for that in January!  I know some fellow reenactors who will be heading South and I cannot wait to see the pictures. Over 1400 reenactors are supposed to be in attendance! 1400!!

Though the Regency will live on long after our War of 1812 events are over, I have decided that I shall attempt not only to make Regency attire this year, but something a little bit later as well. You could say I am broadening my horizons! For Christmas, Lord G gave me two lovely patterns – a corset pattern for late 19th century and a Burda dress pattern from 1880, complete with bustle. I have to say I am very excited to attempt this project, as late 19th century offers a wider range of colours and fabrics and will be a challenge that I think I am up to!

 

Well I must run, dearest friends, but I shall write soon!

Yours always,

Lady Jen

Spencerville Heritage Fair – Recap!

So as Devon mentioned in our last post, we had an absolutely great time at the Spencerville Heritage Fair!

We spent Friday morning getting ready for the day, and also Devon and I had a chance to stroll through Kathy’s garden/yard and pretend we were in a BBC drama. The best part is that this picture was candid, I really was making that ridiculous face.

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Here are the Good Time Regency Girls’ Pictorial Top Ten from the Spencerville Heritage Fair:

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Thank you Spencerville

We would like to take a moment to thank all the folks who worked so hard on the Spencerville Heritage Fair. Also a big hello to all the new friends us Good Time Regency Girl’s made on the trip. Over the next few days we will be sorting out all the pics and the best of moments (ok well the whole thing was one big best of but you know what I mean..) and start posting up. Keep an eye our you might just see yourself. Also feel free to let us know how the fair was for you or any of the other 1812 events that you made it to this weekend.

Spencerville Heritage Fair 2013

Just a quick fly by post to say Lady Jen and Lady Devon are heading to Spencerville for the Spencerville Heritage Fair! It’s going to be an amazing weekend and we’re really looking forward to it! Can’t wait to post about it when we return!