The Sugar Kingdom: Cyprus and the Transformation of Medieval Cuisine, with William Woys Weaver

Program Description

The sumptuous Lusignan Kingdom that ruled medieval Cyprus and the Kingdom of Jerusalem sat at the crossroads of East and West. A multiethnic entrepôt for trade and influences among the Islamic world, the Byzantine East and the Latin West, the Kingdom was agriculturally rich with an enviable plantation system for luxury crops such as sugar and ripe, sweet wines. Historian William Woys Weaver has spent 25 years researching the court cuisine of the Lusignan Kingdom, using court documents, merchant records and accounts, diaries of religious pilgrims, tax lists, and quite surprising, a large body of culinary material. He has meticulously analyzed the medieval foodways of the Kingdom, digging into the linguistic challenges of Gallo-Cypriot to discover , and has experimented with many of its recipes, using Cypriot plants that he has nurtured in the gardens at Roughwood in Devon, Pennsylvania. This lavishly illustrated presentation is a preview of his forthcoming scholarly book on this fascinating and understudied period in culinary history.