Once in Valhalla

On January 25, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

An endless locavore feast amongst the Aesir Gods and Valkyries in Odin’s mighty hall

By Harry Kane


The once a year Viking culinary feast brought locals to the Armory this past Saturday for a ten-course meal. Upon entering Valhalla, dinner guests (the newly deceased) were greeted by gnomes for this inaugural banquet.

A garden gnome named Flower was stationed by the threshold of Valhalla, ushering the newly deceased into the hall.  Flower explained that in Norse Mythology people who have died nobly in battle are brought to Valhalla to party with the Gods.

Personal Chef JJ Gonson, a.k.a Flower, runs a company called Cuisine en Locale that catered the one night culinary event. Gonson gets the food from all over. “I have a relationship with several farmers, we talk to each other frequently.”  Gonson has read a lot about Viking food and tries to create the types of meals that would have been served during that epoch. “We make local food with super super super super fresh local ingredients and it’s not super fancy.”

The menu for the feast included a smorgasbord of foods: Liverwurst, charred veal liver, fresh ME butter, elderberry cured mackerel, fermented black radishes, pickled fiddleheads, brined watermelon radishes, and clear flour volkenbrot.

Next came fire roasted stillman leg of lamb, red fire beets and Sophia’s yogurt. Then cider maple glazed VT ham and cheesy onion oat porridge. After that, green river ambrosia mead poached new deal pollock with butter sauce and chioggia beets with thyme. And the, slumbrew Porter Sq porter braised VT Beef cheeks stew and rather crafty oatcakes.

There was also a boat of island greek oysters with green apple minionette, a parsnip bisque soup and for desert there was Sophia’s yogurt, honey and blood of the gods.

Joseph Mulkern, a.k.a. Rogoshak the Viking warrior was drinking out of his cow horn. “Rogoshak is now thirsty,” he said as he marched off to find the alcohol.

The show also encompassed a bit of a theater and speeches from the Gods. The Director Allegra Libonati was thrilled with the turnout. “We had such a great response, and it was fun seeing the audience. A lot of people came in costume and had their hats from last year,” Libonati said.

Costumes were made by Mary Rooney during the previous event and were adapted for the cast this year.

“One of the difficult parts is deciding which parts of the Norse mythology to include because it’s so vast and the stories are so rich. I feel like it’s a really great use of theater to pair with this meal and this dinner. It’s an amazing communal event that’s a joy to work on and create,” Libonati said.


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