DOWNTON ABBEY COOKING CLASS NEW MILFORD-With the end of season three of PBS' popular Masterpiece mini-series, "Downton Abbey," fans must now wait until January 2014 for their next fix of crisis and intrigue. Fortunately, The Silo Cooking School at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford is offering one more chance to experience some of the fun, culinary tastes and tradition of the post-Edwardian era depicted in the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. Daisy and Mrs. Patmore may be on an "in-between-seasons" break, but that isn't stopping The Silo from prepping and sharing some of the food that the British drama has made famous.
On Saturday, March 23, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., the Silo is inviting both novice and experienced chefs to join chef Michael Chase of The White Horse Country Pub & Restaurant for "Downton Abbey-Silo Style." This demonstration class will feature an "Upstairs/Downstairs" menu based on the Downton Abbey series using recipes adapted from Emily Ansara Baines's "The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook," which will be available for purchase at The Silo. Participants will dine on all the prepared courses. The menu starts with a "Greeting" featuring a Champagne Cocktail and classic cucumber sandwiches. While the Americans were mired in Prohibition, Europe and the Downton Abbey family, who gathered each evening in the drawing room, had discovered that the newly introduced drinks-cocktails-were one way to temporarily forget the horrors of war. The "Upstairs First Course" will consist of classic Oysters Rockefeller. Creator and chef Jules Alciatore named it thus because he wanted to convey the richness of the sauce by associating it John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in America at the time. He took the original recipe with him to his grave. The "Upstairs Second Course" will highlight classic Beef Wellington. This favorite meal, consisting of a solid filet of beef covered by pate and surrounded by a pastry crust, would have been a staple for many festive dinners at Downton Abbey. The "Downstairs Dinner" main course, of "Toad in the Hole"-a "comfort food" meal of meat smothered in Yorkshire Pudding batter-would have been a diet staple of most Downton Abbey servants because of its low-cost and simplicity. The meal ends with "Downstairs Dessert" Treacle Tart (Cockney slang for "sweetheart"). This confection is a classic British dessert that Branson and most of the staff at Downton Abbey would most likely have enjoyed-although one wonders if the Dowager would have partaken. The cost of the class is $90 per person. For more information and to register, call 860-355-0300 or visit www.hunthillfarmtrust.org. Registration is also available at The Silo during regular business hours. The Silo gallery and store are open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. The Silo Cooking School, the first recreational cooking school in Connecticut, is located at Hunt Hill Farm, 44 Upland Road in New Milford. The school is part of the Smithsonian Institution affiliated Hunt Hill Farm Trust, a non-profit organization, which provides the public with diverse opportunities to explore the arts amid historic farm buildings and protected open space in the heart of Connecticut's Northwest Corner.