Chef Staib's historic ship comes in

France Hermione Lafayette
(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The French came to the American colonists' aid during the War for Independence.

In 1780, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in Virginia abord the three-masted frigate L'Hermione. He had men, guns and the assurances from King Louis XVI that France was behind the colonists.

On Saturday, April 18, a re-creation of L'Hermione set sail from Port des Barques, bound for the States, in a re-enactment of the voyage.

One Philadelphia tie-in: Chef Walter Staib of Old City's City Tavern is culinary ambassador to the voyage. Since filming an episode of his PBS show A Taste of History on board, Staib has been enamored of the "freedom voyage."

Staib researched the favorite foods of Lafayette, the Continental Congress and their guests. He will host dinners at various ports of call and give lectures and cooking demonstrations.

On May 4, 1781, the Hermione’s captain, La Touche-Tréville, invited Samuel Huntington, former president of the Continental Congress, and the whole congressional delegation for lunch on board. They all stayed for hours in what turned into a boisterous affair. On June 26, 2015, as the Hermione is moored in Independence Seaport, a re-enactment of the feast will take place at City Tavern, where Lafayette first met Washington.

On July 11, as the ship is moored in Boston, Staib will present a dinner with historically accurate cuisine at the Boston Athenaeum and guests will later dine aboard the ship, an exclusive experience available to very few patrons.

The Hermione Voyage 2015 will take the Hermione to Yorktown, Va., where it took part in the blockade that led to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his army. It will then move up the coast, close to Washington, D.C., at Mount Vernon and Alexandria, then stop in Annapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Greenport New Port, Boston, Castine, and then Lunenberg/Halifax, Nova Scotia, before heading back home to France.

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