Thursday, June 16, 2011

Titanic's Nine Course First Class Dinner Recreated in Northern Ireland

The Titanic Dinner at Rayanne House in Northern Ireland



An exact recreation of the last supper served to first class diners on the Titanic was a meal that left me sinking with fullness.

On May 31, 2011, Belfast, Northern Ireland marked the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Titanic from the Harland and Wolfe Shipyards. Eleven stories-tall and four city blocks long--the Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world when she slipped down the ways in 1911.

Conor McClelland, chef at Rayanne House near Belfast, developed the Titanic menu from a book of old recipes he found on a shelf in his guesthouse.

“It had the original dinner menus from the liner — everything the first class passengers would have eaten before the ship went down,” he said. “They had 13 courses, but a few of them wouldn’t have suited diners today, so I’ve gone with nine."

Diners at the Rayanne House in County Down


Only two first class menus were recovered from the wreck of the Titanic, which sank after hitting an iceberg
in the early morning of April 15, 1912.

On my visit, menus designed to look like boarding cards and pink roses and white daisies decorated the County Down restaurant, decked out to look like the fine dining saloon aboard the luxury liner. So, it seemed fitting that my group would have a night to remember and feast on extravagant dishes from a menu served to first class passengers. 

First Course Canape- Baked Scallop





 First Course: Canapes a L'Amiral
The actual first class menu didn't describe the first course in detail only "hors d'oeuvre varies." We were served a classic French garlic and herb scallop in a shell which arrived perfectly cooked- tender and succulent.





Cream of Barley Soup with Bushmills Whiskey and Cream


Second Course:  Cream of Barley Soup finished with Bushmills Whiskey and Cream
The original menu had a choice of two soups; a clear consommé and a cream of barley soup. Diners at the Rayanne House were served the barley soup topped with a splash of whiskey and cream.








Asparagus and Watercress Salad and Roast Game

Third Course: Asparagus and Watercress Salad with Roast Squab
The asparagus salad and squab were served as separate courses on the Titanic, but Chef McClelland believes they work wonderfully together and I agree.  However, he substituted wild pigeon for the squab-- maybe I'm glad I didn't know that before I ate it!

Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce
Fourth Course:  Poached Salmon with a Mousseline Sauce
Lightly poached Atlantic salmon topped with a rich Mousseline sauce and garnished with sliced cucumbers and fresh dill. The Mousseline sauce is a class hollandaise to which fresh cream was added.  I ingested daintily on this beautiful salmon as I was already getting full.

Rose Water and Mint Sorbet
Fifth Course:  Rose Water and Mint Sorbet
Rose water first became popular in the 17th century, and was a familiar dessert flavor for Edwardian diners. This gorgeous rose colored sorbet was served to cleanse the palate although I found the essence a bit strong.


Filet Mignon -- the entree
Sixth or Main Course:  Filet Mignon Lili
This dish deliciously epitomizes the excesses of the Edwardian era. Filet Mignon topped with foie gras and truffle, served with the classic French buttered potatoes Anna, creamed carrots and zucchini. A rich red Bordeaux wine accompanied the entree. This sumptuous course tasted divine and reigned as the pinnacle of the feast.

Spiced Peaches and French Vanilla Ice Cream
Seventh or Dessert Course: Spiced Peaches with Chartreuse Jelly and French Vanilla Ice Cream
A jelled dessert before the creation of instant gelatin was very labor intensive, so serving it in 1912 meant the meal was very special. Chartreuse is a French liqueur made by monks and is rather poignantly known as the "elixir of long life." Thankfully this dessert was not overly dense or heavy.

Chef Conor McClelland

Eighth Course:  Cheese and Fruit
The denouement of a lavish meal, cheese and fruit were served with Champagne or alternately a sweet dessert wine.

Ninth Course:  Coffee and Liqueurs
After dinner, coffee, cigars, port and liqueurs were typically served away from the table.

***
For more information on the Rayanne House and Titanic dinner
please visit:  http://www.rayannehouse.com/TitanicMenu.aspx

For information on Northern Ireland
please visit: www.discoverireland.com

Chef McClelland trained in Galway before working in both the Black Forest and New York. He returned to Northern Ireland with his wife seven years ago to open the 11-bedroom Rayanne House.



1 comment:

Lisa S said...

I was going to say this article reminded me of my last transatlantic culinary experience- airplane food, but to be honest instead---

Clever piece and delectable photos!

Did he tell you what the three Titanic courses were that he wouldn't serve today?

Cheers Debi!