(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Berkshire-sourced ingredients, enduring farm recipes, and Shaker music and cultural traditions form the heart of Hancock Shaker Village’s Shaker Suppers. These community meals – which will take place on Friday, October 26, 2012, at 4pm and Saturday, November 24, 2012, at 4pm, in the Village’s 1830 Brick Dwelling — feature classic dishes such as hearty chicken pot pie, dilly beans with watercress salad, and Sister Mary’s favorite bread pudding. The Suppers are popular family gatherings and include live music, costumed interpreters, a guided tour, and yesteryear ambiance, along with the lovely autumn landscape.
The evening begins with a private tour, led by guides in Shaker garb; dinner guests get to see Village work areas and living quarters and gain insights into Shaker life. Appetizers are served in the Brick Dwelling’s kitchen with cider and cheese (beer and wine available for purchase) and supper in the Believers’ Dining Room, where courses are served by candlelight.
The menu features fresh herbs and vegetables from the Village garden prepared by Chef Michael Roller, currently of the Lenox Club and formerly of the luxury resort Blantyre in Lenox. A variety of soups, entrees, accompaniments, and desserts are served buffet style and evoke farm-fresh Shaker flavors.
The 1830 Brick Dwelling was home to 100 Shaker Brethren and Sisters in the late 19th century. Today, the Dwelling houses much of the National Historic Landmark museum’s premier collection of Shaker furniture and artifacts.
Typical Bill of Fare: Vermont Cheddar Cheese, Crackers, and Orchard Apple Cider, Lentil Soup, Cranberry Pot Roast, Chicken Pot Pie, Carrot Pudding, Green and Red Cabbage, Scalloped Parsnips, Dilly Beans with Watercress Salad, Sister Mary’s Favorite Bread Pudding with Lightly Whipped Cream.
The majority of the items served are included in the cookbook The Best of Shaker Cooking by Amy Bess Miller (available for sale in the museum’s store). A vegetarian entree is available by advance request. Families and friends are seated together at communal tables to enjoy this unique meal. The evening concludes with a moving 20-minute program of a cappella Shaker music.
The Shaker Suppers cost $65 per person or $60 for members of Hancock Shaker Village. This price includes the guided tour, reception, dinner, and music. Reservations are required at Hancock Shaker Village or call 413.443.0188.
Situated on a picturesque expanse of farm, field, and woodland in Pittsfield, Mass., Hancock Shaker Village is an outdoor living history museum and center for the study of principled living in the 21st century. The fully restored Village includes 20 historic buildings, heirloom medicinal and vegetable gardens, 22,000 examples of Shaker furniture, crafts, tools, and clothes that depict daily life at the Shakers’ City of Peace through its 220 years, as well as heritage breed farm animals and spectacular hiking trails. Visit and enjoy daily tours, craft and cooking demonstrations, lectures and workshops, and a variety of activities for children and families, as well as a Museum Store and Shaker-inspired cuisine at the Village Harvest Café. The Discovery Room offers hands-on opportunities for kids of all ages to try their hand at chair seat weaving, working at a loom, trying on Shaker-style clothing, or milking a life-sized replica of a cow. An interactive audio tour (free with admission) is available in English, French, Italian, and German. Additionally HSV offers an executive every-other weekend Master of Science in Design & Historic Preservation program in collaboration with UMASS Amherst.
Hancock Shaker Village is located on Route 20 in Pittsfield, Mass., just west of the junction of Routes 20 and 41. For GPS purposes, the Village is located at 34 Lebanon Mountain Rd., Hancock, Mass. 01237. Or, enter 1843 W. Housatonic St., Pittsfield, Mass. 01201 then proceed 1/2 mile further west on Rt. 20 to the parking lot.