At the Tampa Bay Hotel, and other Florida resorts, meals were not simply about eating, but instead were a fine dining experience. Thought and care were put into food choices, decorations, place settings, music selection, and of course, menu design. Dressing for dinner often took over an hour, and meals could be a full ten courses. Meals for special events and holidays were even more elaborate. Included in the exhibit are menus from holidays such as Independence Day (1898), George Washington’s birthday celebration (1901), Thanksgiving (1905), New Year’s (1912) and Christmas (1911, 1912).
These rarely exhibited menus draw visitors into the conversation of Victorian food, the source of food, its preparation, etiquette, fashion, and utensils that blend together to create the Victorian epicurean experience. We will briefly touch on menu art and children in the Hotel dining room. This exhibit displays original artifacts, including menus, photos, clothing, and utensils from the Tampa Bay Hotel and other Florida hotels.
The menu is map that guides diners through their dining experience. It lays the foundation for what they anticipate their experience to be based on the elaborate dishes served, the number of courses, the detail and extravagance of the menu design, the international elements, and dinner entertainment. Blended with these obvious dining elements are the subtle ingredients of fashion and etiquette and the behind the scenes components of where food comes from and how it is prepared. We hope you will savor this exhibit.
Menus: The Epicurean Experience opens on March 17th and runs through December 23, 2017. Entrance to the exhibit is included with admission to the Museum. Please join us on March 17th at 7:00 pm for a lecture by Patrick Dunne, proprietor of Lucullus antiques in New Orleans. The shop has been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, and The New York Times. Dunne is the author of The Epicurean Collector, and has both written for and served as a contributing editor for a number of interior design and lifestyle magazines. The lecture is free and open to the public.
This exhibit has been graciously underwritten by Greenberg Traurig, LLC, The Knox Family Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Garth Drewry, and Regions Bank.