June 29, 2015
The Hermione announces its arrival on the Delaware River as it comes to Philadelphia for its June 26-28, 2015 visit. Photograph courtesy: The Philadelphia Tribune
Docked on the waterfront of Philadelphia, the Hermione and all the Tall Ships attracted thousands of visitors. Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
Miles Young, left, President, Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. and, right, Mark F. Squilla, 1st District Councilman, City Council, City of Philadelphia, on board the Hermione on June 26, 2015. Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
The Three Nautical Musketeers on board the Hermione: Francis Latreille, official photographer of the Hermione, left; Benedict Donnelly, center, President of Association Hermione-La Fayette; and Miles Young, right, President, Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc. Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
Left to right: Hermione Captain Yann Cariou; City Tavern Chef Walter Staib; and Jean-Francois Fountaine, Mayor of La Rochelle, who presented Chef Staib with a specially commissioned French porcelain plate from the City of La Rochelle to City Tavern on the occasion of the Hermione Re-Enactment Dinner of June 26, 2015. Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
The salad course, based on an authentic colonial American recipe, is called SALMAGUNDI, which is inspired by Martha Washington’s dinner notations in her private journal, according to Chef Walter Staib. It was the first of four courses enjoyed on June 16, 2015 at of City Tavern. Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
A RAGOO OF OYSTERS was the appetizer served on June 26, 2015 at City Tavern, and based on a popular recipe from Hannah Glasse’s cookbook entitled, “The Art of Cooking made Plaine and Easy,” first published in 1747.Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
The main course, called “VEAL OLIVES,” which contains no olives at all. As Chef Staib explained: “The dish gets its name from the fact that the veal scaloppini look like large olives, which are rolled with [crabmeat] stuffing, , at City Tavern on June 26, 2015. Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
For dessert, one and all enjoyed a classic French sweet called CRÈME BRULEE, at City Tavern on June 26, 2015. Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
General George Washington and Major General Lafayette honored the Hermione Re-Enactment Dinner at City Tavern with their presence, complete with proposing many toasts, huzzahs by these two talented ‘re-enactors’ on June 26, 2015. Photo: Bess Reynolds for Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
On June 26, 2015, the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America (FOHLA) and Moët Hennessy, FOHLA’s Grand Benefactor, welcomed guests to the Hermione Re-Enactment Dinner at Philadelphia’s City Tavern. Curated by City Tavern Chef Walter Staib, each of the four dinner courses were sourced from authentic 18th century recipes by Martha Washington and Hannah Glasse, author of “The Art of Cooking made Plaine and Easy,” published in 1747. Chef Staib is FOHLA’s official Culinary Ambassador for dinner events both in Philadelphia and Boston, when the Hermione visits from July 11-12, 2015.
Preceded by cocktails aboard the Hermione, the Re-Enactment Dinner was attended by 180 distinguished guests and supporters, which commemorated the 1781 visit of the Continental Congress on board the Hermione. Open to tours by the public, who have come by the thousands to the waterfront on the Delaware River, the Hermione visits Philadelphia from June 25-28, before sailing on to New York City, where she will be berthed at the South Street Seaport Museum, Pier 15, from July 1-4, 2015.
Welcomed on board by Captain Yann Cariou, guests toured the Hermione while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and Newton Claret 2012 and Newton Chardonnay 2013, courtesy of Moët Hennessy.
Among distinguished guests present for the Hermione onboard reception was Mark F. Squilla, 1st District Councilman, City Council, City of Philadelphia. Also in attendance on board were Francis Latreille, Hermione’s official photographer during her voyage, and Benedict Donnelly, President of the Association Hermione-La Fayette, who came to the U.S. for the triumphant return of the French Frigate of Freedom along the eastern seaboard. In addition, also present were: Laura Auricchio, author of “The Marquis: Reconsidered,” a new biography of Lafayette, and Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, Vice President of Monticello, and a Professor of American History at the University of Virginia.
Following the cocktails on Philadephia’s waterfront, guests convened nearby in the elegant garden behind City Tavern, itself the historic place where the 19-year-old Lafayette first met General Washington on August 3, 1777. On arriving, dignitaries, guests and supporters were offered a flute of Moët & Chandon Imperial Champagne, again courtesy of Moët Hennessy.
There, Chef Staib was presented with a specially design porcelain plate from Jean-Francois Fountaine, Mayor of La Rochelle.
Also speaking was Brian Patterson, Oneida Nation Representative, who gave a moving account of the sacrifices made by the courageous Oneida warriors who joined the French and Americans in the battle for our independence. Patterson also gave thanks in the Oneida language and was warmly applauded for eloquent words in his bringing a salute of the entire Oneida community of upstate New York to this historic re-enactment dinner.
In the evening’s special menu and letter welcoming Hermione supporters to City Tavern, Miles Young, President of FOHLA and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ogilvy & Mather, wrote: “On May 4,1781, Hermione’s Captain La Touche-Tréville invited Samuel Huntington, the then President of the Continental Congress, and the whole Congressional delegation for lunch on the Hermione. They stayed for hours, dining in what was a classic act of “gunboat diplomacy.” He added, “Funds raised from this grand culinary rep-enactment are earmarked to continue support of the Hermione 2015 Voyage Project.”
On that eventful day 235 years ago, Captain La Touche-Tréville described it thus in Hermione’s logbook:
“Today, I dined on board with the President of the Continental Congress and his Congressional delegation as well as members of the Pennsylvania Council of State, many distinguished citizens as well as military officers. The frigate was all decked out. On boarding, President Huntington was received with full honors as if he were a Marshall of France. I saluted him with five “Vive le Roi” and order 13 cannon blasts. Later I raised many toasts in his honor, accompanied by still more cannon blasts!”
A Dinner To Remember
For starters, guests first enjoyed a Salmagundi, with Raspberry Shrub Vinaigrette, a colonial-era light summer salad of locally grown vegetables inspired by journal recipes of Martha Washington.
During each course, Chef Staib gave a short address explaining the history and culinary background, noting, for example, the Shrub Vinaigrette, is inspired by one of colonial America’s favorite drinks, the Shrub, a blend of high-proof spirits, amply seasoned and spiced in a variety of drink recipes, including berry fruits.
Next up was a delicious dish that would have been instantly familiar to guest aboard the Hermione in 1781: “A Ragoo of Oysters.” As Chef Staib described: “All along the Eastern seaboard, oysters were plentiful, which explains why they were popular in Philadelphia…roasted, fried, stewed, a recipe for oysters shows up in virtually every cookbook of the [colonial] era.”
The main course, called “VEAL OLIVES,” which contains no olives at all. As Chef Staib explained: “The dish gets its name from the fact that the veal scaloppini look like large olives, which are rolled with the [crabmeat] stuffing. Owing to the high cost of veal in colonial days, this recipe appears in only the cookbooks of the upper crust. Accomplished, wealthier cooks like Martha Washington and Hannah Glasse stuffed their veal olive with forcemeat, oysters or seafood, and served them in a rich, spiked cream sauce with truffles.”
For dessert, one and all enjoyed a classic French sweet called CRÈME BRULEE, and as Chef Staib told the assembled diners, “The Founding Fathers and the City of Philadelphia enthusiastically welcomed French ice cream and pastries.”
And believe it or not, both General George Washington and Major General Lafayette honored the Hermione Re-Enactment Dinner with their presence, complete with proposing many toasts, huzzahs by these two talented re-enactors who portrayed each famous historical figure.
A good time was had by all, along with the Champagne, the Newton wines and Hennessy Privilege Cognac, the last libation savored at the evening’s end, thanks again to Moët Hennessy.
For information and support, please visit: www.hermione2015.com