Foodies, antiquarians, Italophiles... lend me your ears!

Posted by Marie Scarfo on Thu, May 04, 2017

Last week, author Crystal King's debut novel, Feast of Sorrow, was released into the world. The novel is centered around ancient Roman foodie and bon vivantApicius, who threw lavish parties for Caesar Tiberius and was the inspiration for the world's first known cookbook. In its first week on the shelves, Feast of Sorrow - set amongst the scandal, wealth, and upstairs-downstairs politics of a Roman family - has been hailed as "a big, fat, juicy read"; "a delight to the senses ... to be savored & devoured"; and "truly a feast for readers."...

Sounds more like a 5-star restaurant menu than a novel, right? Well, it's well-deserved. In addition to being a writer and self-proclaimed Italophile, Crystal is also a total foodie who, during the writing process, took a deep dive into ancient Roman cookery and came out on the other side with not only a successful debut novel, but also a personally curated cookbook of recipes from the original ancient text, Apicius, re-created by (and for) modern-day cooks!

ATasteOf_FeastOfSorrow_cropped.jpg<-- This very special text will be provided - free of charge - to anyone who attends our very special Modern Taste of Ancient Rome event with Crystal King and Chef Patrick Campbell on May 9!

Some of you have already gotten a sneak peek at Crystal's recipe for Chicken in Dill Sauce (not on our e-mailing list? Click here to sign up!), and you'll find her recipe for Honey Fritters in this great NPR article. But we at the BCAE want to offer something for the more adventurous foodie. From A Taste of Feast of Sorrow, edited by Crystal King, we present:

bloodsausage pine nut.jpgBlood Sausage with Pine Nut Puree and Apician Salad*
by Chef Patrick Campbell
*This recipe will not necessarily be served during the program.

Chef Campbell has been delighting diners in Boston for years, most notably at No. 9 Park and Café Art-Science. This recipe is definitely for the more adventurous chef! Blood sausage can be found in the Apicius cookbook (2.3.2) but, strangely, the ancient recipe also includes hard-boiled egg yolks. For this version, he went with a more modern blood sausage recipe, with an accompanying pine nut puree and a salad vinaigrette of which Apicius himself would have been proud.

For the blood sausage

❧ 2 lbs. ground pork
❧ 2 lbs. pork fatback
❧ 1 cup fresh pigs blood
❧ 1 onion
❧ 1 egg
❧ ¼ cup heavy cream
❧ 20 grams (approx. 3 ½ tsp) sea salt
❧ 5 grams (a little less than 3 tsp) black pepper
❧ 1 tablespoons cornmeal
❧ Pinch nutmeg
❧ Pinch cinnamon
❧ Pinch mace
❧ Pinch clove
❧ hog casings

All of the hard spices should be toasted and ground into a powder. They should, combined, equal about 2 teaspoons.


1.To make the sausage, roughly chop the onion and pork fat, add to a pot and cover with water. Salt liberally and simmer for ten minutes until tender. Let cool completely and pulse in a food processor to result in a coarse paste.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix ground pork, fatback and onion mixture on low until well incorporated.

3. Add sea salt, corn meal and spices. Once mixed, slowly incorporate the egg, pigs blood and cream until well combined.

4. Using a sausage stuffer, stuff the hog casings that have been soaked and rinsed in cold water. You can either form links or leave in large string. Carefully pierce the sausage casing about every half inch of the sausage and poach in very gently simmering water to 160 degrees, remove from water and allow to cool overnight.

For the Pine Nut Puree

❧ 1 cup pine nuts
❧ 1 clove garlic with the germ removed
❧ 1 tablespoon preserved lemon
❧ ½ cup grated pecorino romano
❧ salt and pepper
❧ extra virgin olive oil





1. Put the nuts in a small sauce pot and add olive oil until it reaches half way up the nuts. Toast on
medium until light golden brown.

2. Season with salt and pepper, add garlic clove and bring off the heat.

3. Once the oil has cooled for 2 mins cover the nut mixture with water and bring back to the heat. Boil until the nuts have softened and the water has reduced by half.

4. Puree in a high speed blender with preserved lemon and pecorino, season with salt and pepper
and let cool.

For the Apician Salad

❧ Assorted chicory leaves such endive, puntarella, frisée, radicchio, or escarole, picked through,
thoroughly washed and dried.
❧ 1 large artichoke cleaned to the heart and place in acidulated water
❧ (water with a small amount of vinegar or lemon added)
❧ picked herbs such as dill, fennel, parsley, marjoram
❧ anchovy fillets
❧ 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
❧ 1 tablespoon aged sherry vinegar
❧ 2 tablespoon colatura or fish sauce (Thai Nam Pla or Vietnamese Nuoc Nam Mhi)
❧ First clean all the greens and pick the herbs and set aside.
❧ To make the vinaigrette combine all the ingredients, whisk, and set aside.


1. Sear the sausage in a heavy pan and place in a pre-heated oven 375º until hot in the middle
(approx 8 minutes).

2. Smear a plate with the pine nut puree and place the sausage on top of the puree.

3. Dress the greens, herbs, and toss with the artichoke that has been shaved on a mandoline and
lightly dress and arrange in a neat pile in the middle of the plate.

4. Top with anchovy fillets and serve.







Join Crystal King and Chef Patrick Campbell for a culinary walk through Ancient Roman history!

A Modern Taste of Ancient Rome
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | 6:00 - 9:00pm
Tuition*: $65.00    |   Member Cost: $55.00
Materials Cost: $30.00
*Attendees will also recieve a complimentary copy of Crystal's cookbook, A Taste of Feast of Sorrow!

Copies of Feast of Sorrow will be available for purchasing - and signing! - at the event.



Topics: Boston food, BCAE Recipe, Boston chefs, Boston cultural events, Boston dining, recipes, Boston classes, Boston event, Boston publishing, BCAE Tasting classes, BCAE Book signings, Book signings, literature, history, special event, Ancient Rome, Lectures, Boston books, Boston book signings, Boston food events, food and wine

BCAE Instructor Spotlight: Marianne Staniunas

Posted by Marie Scarfo on Mon, Mar 20, 2017


Our Instructor Spotlight Series continues! The latest instructor, featured in our May/June catalog, is Marianne Staniunas, BCAE Tasting instructor and expert on all things cheese, wine, and honey! Catch the full interview right here, and stay tuned for more awesome details about our even more awesome instructors.

BCAE: First off, welcome to the BCAE! Tell us a little about yourself.
MARIANNE: I am an attorney who decided to seek out a different quality of life, almost four years ago, when I left private practice for the cheese and wine world - which had always fascinated me - beginning work with Formaggio Kitchen South End.  I still use my legal training to do pro bono legal work and volunteer work on the side and feel that I have achieved more of the balance in life I was looking for.

BCAE: What do you love most about teaching?
MARIANNE: My favorite thing about teaching, is being able to share information, flavors, experiences about and with things that I love with others.

InstructorSpotlight_MarianneStaniunas-1.jpgBCAE: So, you’re a cheesemonger, wine buyer, honey expert & beekeeper. How did you get into these trades?
MARIANNE: As I mentioned, I started out as an attorney with an interest in wine and cheese and food generally.  I had become an attorney because I wanted to help people, but after working in several different roles over more than eight years, I realized that I wasn't using my degree to help people in the ways that I had hoped.  I became disillusioned with the whole attorney life and lifestyle, and decided to make an abrupt shift on my career path. 

Working at Formaggio opened up so many opportunities for me to learn about all kinds of artisanal foods - from wine, to cheese, to honey - and for me to become more knowledgable in all of these areas.  I am the Honey Buyer for the South End Shop (as well as a buyer of several other products), a cheesemonger, and assistant to the Wine Buyer.  Working at Formaggio also has allowed me to pursue other interests, from using my legal degree to do the kind of pro bono legal work that is meaningful to me, to do additional volunteer work, and to pick up some other hobbies. 

I got into beekeeping as a result of my endeavors to learn more about the production side of honey - both in my role as Honey Buyer, and as part of some of the volunteer work I do for a non-profit in Uganda that was starting an apiary.  I was fortunate to get connected with The Best Bees Company here in the South End; I had a beehive last season, and the folks at Best Bees manage several additional hives for both the South End and Cambridge Formaggio shops.  My bees did not make it through the winter, but I am excited to try again this season.

BCAE: What’s your favorite thing about beekeeping? What do you find to be the most challenging?
MARIANNE: I still consider myself a novice beekeeper - I think it takes years and years of practice to move on from that status! - but my favorite thing about beekeeping is the bees.  Bees are incredible and the functioning of the beehive as a super-organism still boggles my mind.  There is so much to learn about how bees work, the challenges they face, and there are so many difficult decisions to make as a beekeeper, regarding when and how to intervene, and when to just observe.  The biggest challenge for me, is trying to figure out that intervention piece.

BCAE: Unfair question, but we have to know: what’s your favorite cheese?
MARIANNE: My favorite cheese??  Cheese is made by living organisms, and so every wheel is a little different - even when you use the exact same recipe, and provide the same aging conditions.  For me, that means that various cheeses move in and out of my "top five," depending on the flavors, textures, etc. of a given wheel.  That being said, one cheese that I always come back to as a standby is Colston-Bassett Stilton - a rich, earthy, musty, mouth-wateringly delicious cow's milk blue from Nottingham in England.  


Take a class with Marianne!

Inside Honey: The Bee's Cheese

Spring Cheese & Wine

Spanish Cheeses & Sherry

Honey Tasting & The Basics of Beekeeping

Artisan Olive Oil & Vinegars: A Tasting Tour



Topics: BCAE classes, wine, spring, things to do in Boston, wine education, Wine classes Boston, Spring activities in Boston, boston things to do, wine class Boston, wine tasting, Boston classes, beekeeping, urban beekeeping, Spring Classes at the BCAE, Wine & Spirits, BCAE Tasting classes, Boston Tastings, Boston Tasting classes, cheese, honey, BCAE Tastings, things to do in Spring in Boston