Q and A with food designers Josh Pollen and Mike Knowlden, from Blanch & Shock, who are crafting the food for our Roman Feast this Sunday.

What can we expect to eat at the Midsummer Roman Feast?

The menu will include: garum made from fermented herring guts, posca which is a kind of sour, herb infused wine drunk by Roman armies plus a nod to one of the most famous dishes on the Roman table - stuffed dormice.

There will be some Italian ingredients - plenty of Lazian, olive oil, and Sicilian lemons, and we will be grilling some of the main course over olive wood.

Food Designers Josh Pollen and Mike Knowlden

How has our Rome season of plays inspired the menu?

Our feast coincides with the RSC's current production of Titus Andronicus, (which starts on Friday), the grotesqueness of which, although not directly referenced, certainly informs the serving of our main course. There are a number of accounts which have informed the design of the menu and the theatrical elements and we will use sleight of hand to give guests a sense of the spectacle.

The three-course meal imagines what the Romans might have eaten in Stratford-upon-Avon at the time of the Roman Empire. How did you decide what to include?

The food for our dinner is guided by one of the earliest and most famous cookery texts, Apicius, which has given us ideas about sauces, herbs and seasonings that would have been prolific in Roman cuisine. We will also be using vegetables and wild food from around Stratford as the invading Roman armies were known to forage to supplement their rations. 

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