Hands-On Cooking Classes

All classes will take place at the UW-Green Bay Viking House using our fire pit and clay oven. Registered students will help prepare all the food for each class, which will end with a group meal, included in the cost of the class.

About the Instructor

Daniel Serra of Sweden discovered his interest in historical food when he started to study archaeology in the early 90s. As a student he experimented with ancient Roman, Medieval and Renaissance recipes. After graduating he and a friend started a medieval catering company in which they served both food and facts. In 2003, he was accepted as a PhD student with the aim to research the Viking Age food culture. Parallel to his ongoing work on a doctoral thesis in the subject he has been working actively with experimental archaeology in order to get a better understanding of the cooking methods and culinary possibilities of the Viking Age and Medieval cuisine.

Daniel is now a leading expert on Viking Age food and highly sought after for lectures, workshops and other arrangements. His research has so far produced two cookbooks. In 2009 the medieval cookbook ”En sås av ringa värde” based on a Danish 13th manuscript was published. In 2013 much of his research and interpretations on the Viking Age cuisine was presented in ”An Early Meal – a Viking Age Cookbook & Culinary Odyssey”. The book was nominated best historical cookbook at the IACP-awards in Chicago 2014 and has been popular with museums, foodies and re-enactors alike.

Daniel's trip is a partnership with the Viking Connection.


Everyday Food in the Viking Age

Friday, September 21
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: $60

Whether they were fighting off the bone-chilling cold that crawled through the cracks in the doorway or resting their salt-stung faces after a day of rowing through the doldrums, Vikings required the type of sustenance that promises to sit heavy in the gut and pack a powerful nutritional punch. Restricted to the hearty ingredients available in medieval northern Europe, the Vikings relied on heavy combinations of proteins and starches to fuel the challenges of farming, fighting, and exploration.

In this course, Daniel will guide students in a hands-on demonstration of the preparation of some of the foods commonly consumed by the early medieval people of the north. Students will work together in teams to prepare dishes authentic to the age and region, and they will be invited to dine on the products of their efforts when they’ve finished. Taste the smoke and the open flame on the sausage, bread, and fish. Take home the knowledge of  Viking food preparation and practices so that meals that fed the Vikings can now feed you.




Ritual Food in the Viking Age

Saturday, September 22

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: $60
The great fire has been stoked, and the invited make their way inside the long hall from the bitter cold outside. The mud and sweat and blood have been washed away, and each viking has donned their finest furs and linens. The heavy wooden benches have been pulled away from the long, sturdy table and everyone sides into place. Bellies growl with hard earned hunger, and the scents of hot meats and hearty soups fill the nostrils of those in attendance. Today is a day of abundance, a day of celebration. Nordic life could be hard in the 10th century, so making it through one season and into the next could be cause enough for raucous celebration. Lore and tradition, food and festivities developed to make special days as well as the changing of the seasons around which the Scandinavian life revolved.

Team up with other students in this course to create and enjoy a variety of special dishes that would have been prepared by the vikings to celebrate the changing of the seasons in the 9th - 11th centuries in Scandinavia. Daniel Serra, an expert in the culinary and cultural practices of the old Nordic civilizations, will instruct groups of students in the preparation of these authentic dishes featuring meats, cheeses, soups, and vegetables. He’ll also regale the class with tales of the history and lore of these proud, colorful people. When the course is over, you’ll come away with a satisfied belly and a working knowledge of a handful of Scandinavian festive delights you can recreate at home whenever you like.



Open-Pit Fire and Clay-Oven Cooking: Late Medieval Foods

Sunday, September 23
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: $60

All across the world, tucked away in cozy kitchen cupboards and slid lovingly onto family bookshelves are cookbooks handed down through families for generations. They give us the opportunity to try to recreate the smell of our grandmothers’ sauce or the taste of the family’s special casserole. Ancient manuscripts allow us to share the same type of experience with medieval and renaissance cultures by bringing the tastes and smells of their meals to life. In this course, Daniel will share the secrets of some ancient Nordic manuscripts, instructing groups of students on the preparation of some of the dishes they contain.

Daniel is currently translating a 13th century Danish cookbook into English, and he will use the information it contains to guide the class is creating and enjoying some of the cold sauces, exotic spices, and chicken dishes it contains. The class will use a traditional clay oven, and a recipe from a mid-15th century text to bake a sweet custard pie preferred by Swedish noble ladies and a recipe from the first printed Scandinavian cookbook in 1616 to make a simple farmers’ kale porridge. Daniel will use the time during class to talk about Scandinavian sources and how things changed following the Viking era. By the time the class finishes, you’ll have gained an understanding of the evolution of the Nordic cuisine after the medieval age and the knowledge and taste of some oven baked Scandinavian recipes.