MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival Honors James Hemings

Enjoy a five-course meal with 10 wines, all paying tribute to the man who introduced mac and cheese, whipped cream and French fries to America.

Thomas Jefferson is often credited for bringing a very American delicacy, the French fry, to the United States. It is reported that for a dinner in the States in 1802, he requested “potatoes, fried in the French manner.” Those potatoes would ostensibly have been fried by James Hemings. “History on a Plate: A Tribute to James Hemings” is a MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival dinner in New Castle, consisting of five courses and 10 wines on May 14 at Oberod. The dinner honors chef Hemings, born in 1765, whose considerable and historic influences on American food and culture include the introduction of macaroni and cheese, ice cream, whipped cream and French fries to America.

Author and chef Ashbell McElveen reports that Thomas Jefferson has long been wrongly attributed with creating these dishes, which were actually Hemings’ genius adaptations of French haute cuisine. McElveen will be joined by French chef Alain Ivaldi from Marseille, African-American chefs Darryl Harmon and Dana Herbert, and Hari Cameron, who will each prepare a Hemings recipe. French winemaker Claude Boudamani will pour Chateau Lagrezette wine, and Roxanne Wolf will pour wine from Eagle Eye Winery. They will also pour Seppeltsfield Estate, Reichsrat von Buhl, Domaine Kikones, Dieu Donné Vineyards, Savage Wines, Bodegas Franco-Españolas and Rioja Vega. It’s just one of the history events that will take place during this year’s MAWFF May 13-17. The Historic New Castle Festival Lunch Tour also happens during A Day in Old New Castle on May 16 in five different homes: The Kensey John Van Dyke House, The Tafel House, Waterhill, the home of John and Marilyn Cochran at 59 The Strand, and the home of Chris Keene and Michael Westman at 114 E. Third St.

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The houses range from some of the earliest examples of Federal style to almost brand-new reproductions. The chefs are Asha Gomez of Atlanta, Juan Nales of Spain, Tommy den Hartog of Amsterdam, Gyanendra Gupta of India and Gorvey Henry of the British Virgin Islands. Lucila Pescarmona will pour Bodega Lagarde, Warren Randall will pour Seppeltsfield Estate, Claude Boudamani will pour Chateau Lagrezette, Melina Tassou will pour Domaine Kikones, Kerry Damskey will pour Sula Vineyards, Michael De Loach will pour Hook & Ladder Vineyards and Winery, and Eduardo Sáinz will pour Príncipe de Viana and Rioja Vega. Ee’Z will also be poured. No matter where you eat and drink, it’s one fantastic weekend. For more, check www.mawff.org.

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