''Pario Gallico'' translates as ''The Gallic Cauldron'' in ancient Gaul* language...
Always bubbling, fragrant and inviting,
ready to welcome visitors around a warm cosy fire.
(*Iron Age celts from Gaul, nowadays France)
What do we do?
Our ''specialty'' and favourite time period to present is the Iron Age*
(before the Roman conquest of Britain), both British and Continental.
(* 800BC-43AD, mainly La Tene period / 250BC. We go to Romano-British up to 80AD)
But to understand a period of History it often is a good idea to look at what was before and after it. This is why we work from the Bronze Age to the Saxon / Viking era through the Roman and Romano-British cultures ... with a bit of Tudor / 17th century as well!
Our two domains of expertise are:
- Historical food and cookery (from Prehistory to Saxon... and Tudor)
- Ancient paints and pigments (from Prehistory to Roman)
We offer period-accurate cookery demonstrations, paints and colours displays, historical cookery courses, talks (followed or not by a tasting session), hands-on activities, living history displays, experimental archaeology presentations... for historical and archaeological sites, digs, museums, reenactment groups, historical festivals, LARPs... or your own private events!
- Iron Age, Roman and Viking cookery demonstrations.
(National Museum Wales, Caerleon / Ancient Technology Centre, Dorset / Scottish Crannog Centre, Scotland)
- Iron Age and Saxon cookery courses.
(Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust / Ancient Technology Centre, Dorset)
- Tudor spice trade display, cookery demonstration, ''Tudor gingerbread'' activity, Jacobean feasting, Christmas at Master Shakespeare's table.
(Mary Arden's Farm, Shakespeare Birthplace, Hall's Croft. Warwickshire)
- Roman herbs and spices hands-on activity (National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Wales)
- Iron Age paints display, cooking demonstration, talk and guided tour with tasters (Chalke Valley History Festival 2017/2018, Wiltshire)
How do we work?
Pario Gallico's main goal is to present historical food (from differents periods of History)
that could have been served in Britain, in a middle-class / upper middle-class household.
1) We are very interested in the impact that new foodstuffs, new utensils and new cooking techniques have on a ''traditional'' cuisine and how they change the culinary fashions and tastes of a country (through discoveries and travels, new trades and imports, conquests...). Britain has an amazing tradional and modern cuisine, in which you can find foodstuffs and recipes from Prehistory, trace the impact of the spice trade and the discovery of the New World, realise how colonialism shaped so many of our now ''traditional'' dishes and discover that even the rationing after WW2 changed British cuisine because adaptability is one of its great qualities (No eggs during rationing? Invent the apple crumble!)
2) We choose to present mainly middle-class household's meals because the lower classes diet almost did not change throughout History, always based on grains, root vegetables, native fruits and plants (foraging) alongside not a lot of meat, fish, dairy products. Not that it is boring, tasteless or always the same, don't be mistaken! But to present the differences in food and cooking between various periods of time it is easier for us to present the diet of a household able to afford a bit of everything in respectable quantities as well as fairly expensive treats like imported spices and foodstuffs. Besides, a lot of historical recipe books were written by and for people who were educated enough to read and wealthy enough to afford the sometimes incredible ingredients they mention!
And let's be honest... It also looks fancier to our beloved time-tasters
Photo: Pascale Barnes, 2016.
Plans for the future
- We are currently working on a recreated fully functional Iron Age kitchen
with replica items copied from local archaeological finds by artisans which will allow us to offer high standard demonstrations and living history displays...
as well as a great base for archaeological experiments!
- We love organising cookery workshops / courses in various historical sites to provide a truly ''hands-on'' experience to anyone interested in learning more... or just having a go (from lighting a fire to doing the washing up the ancient way, through cooking a two course meal and eating it together while chatting around the campfire!)
- We also are very interested in Fictional Food and we are able (and willing) to cater food inspired by different universes, books, games or films for LARPs and special events...
A theme we'd love to have a go at? The Discworld novels, by Sir T. Pratchett.
Update: In 2018 we have catered for our first LARPs:
Anarchy period (12th c., UK) and Georgian era (1820's...with fairies). Good times!