Celebrate the new release of Downton Abbey: A New Era with an Epic Downton Inspired Menu from Orlando’s Top Cooking School
I was invited by Focus Features on behalf of Downton Abbey: A New Era to a cooking class at Orlando’s famed Truffles and Trifles Cooking School and to preview an early screening of the movie for purposes of this review. All opinions are my own. As always, I only share products and experiences I love to inspire you to go celebrate life with family and friends and #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip, and trip at a time.
If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you’re in the right place! Join me as we explore the second full-length feature film spin-off based on the popular British historical drama TV series, Downton Abbey: A New Era. There’s plenty of travel inspiration and delicious fun with a dinner menu worthy of The Crawley’s, created by Marci Arthur of Truffles and Trifles Cooking School in Orlando.
If you haven’t watched Downton Abbey and are not a fan (yet), I highly recommend binge-watching all 6 seasons! Watch the first film adaptation released in 2019. And, then come back for Downton Abbey: A New Era. I think you’ll absolutely love it!
About The Movie – Downton Abbey: A New Era
Release Date: May 20, 2022
Story: From award-winning creator, Julian Fellowes comes the motion picture event DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA. The much-anticipated cinematic return of the global phenomenon reunites the beloved cast as they go on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa. While at Downton, a movie studio takes over the famed estate to film as Hollywood’s silent movies turn to “talkies”.
Cast: Downton Abbey: A New Era reunites the original principal cast. The Crawley family, their trusted household staff, and friends. All our favorites are back! Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham), Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), Dame Maggie Smith (Violet, Dowager Countess), and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Grey). The staff includes Jim Carter (our favorite Mr. Carson), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Raquel Cassidy (Baxter), Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates), Joanne Froggatt (Ana), Kevin Doyle (Mr. Molesley), Robert James-Collier (Mr. Barrow), Sophie McShera (Daisy), Michael Fox (Andy) Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore). Harry Hadden-Paton (Bertie Pelham), Imelda Staunton (Lady Bagshaw), Tuppence Middleton (Lucy Smith), Samantha Bond (Lady Rosamund) round out the cast. Notably absent is Mathew Goode (Henry Talbot) and this is part of the storyline. Joining the cast is Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, and Dominic West.
Downton creator Academy-Award® winner Julian Fellowes wrote the film’s screenplay, with Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning Gareth Neame and Emmy Award-winning Liz Trubridge as producers with Fellowes.
Downton Abbey: A New Era Movie Review
Ever since the first film ended with the royal visit of King George V and Queen Mary, we’ve been clamoring for more. Creator Julian Fellows delivered. We’ve been missing our ever so fashionably dressed friends from upstairs – The Crawleys – and the even more interesting motley crew from below the stairs – the household staff. These characters were all so wonderfully written, true fans couldn’t help but wonder what happened next in their lives. This new film felt like catching up with old friends and loved ones we hadn’t seen in a while, kind of how real-life felt after reconnecting with friends after the pandemic lock-downs.
A Gift For Fans!
The second film is a gift to fans. If you haven’t seen the show, you will miss the important backstory of these characters. In some very poignant moments of the film, it sadly felt like it was a final love letter goodbye. Bring the tissues.
Character stories were wrapped up with a pretty bow. Some, maybe a little too neatly, but I’m ok with that. As they were getting ready to welcome the 1930s, many of them were off to new adventures. I smiled, laughed out loud, and cried unashamedly in a full theater. Something else I hadn’t done since early 2020.
No Spoilers But A Lot Happens!
No spoilers here. But expect a lot of important life moments for these characters. There is a wedding, a birth, and sadly a funeral. Scandal, flirtations, proposals, new loves, and new careers. An exciting trip to the French Riviera, fashionable parties (costume design was stunning!), and a very meta “movie within a movie” storyline that provided some of the most hilarious scenes with tongue-in-cheek, “life imitating art imitating life” winks to the audience. Mr. Molesley (Kevin Doyle) has another iconic scene. If you remember his curtsy to the Queen in the first film, this one is just as funny.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Downton without lots of witty zingers from The Dowager Countess, played by the incomparable Dame Maggie Smith. It’s a fact she steals every scene she’s in. But there’s plenty going on with all the other characters too. I loved seeing the friendship between Violet and Isobel Grey Merton (Penelope Wilton) continue. Lady Edith’s “modern woman” storyline balancing motherhood and a career in publishing was also great to see included.
Will you watch the new movie? Will you love it? Or will you think they overstayed their welcome much like that pesky Hollywood film crew? The two-hour film seems to fly by as the story develops very fast. If you’re a fan of the show, I think you’ll love both the movie and this Downton-inspired cooking experience in Orlando.
In The Kitchen with Marci Arthur at Truffles & Trifles Cooking School in Orlando
Local Culinary Hall of Fame inductee Marci Arthur, owner of Trifles & Truffles Cooking School guided us through a Downton Abbey celebration-worthy menu. Nine of us gathered for a three-hour Downton-inspired cooking class and I can now say I learned how to make a traditional French soufflé! Crossed that off the bucket list!
Truffles and Trifles started 38 years ago as a dream to share the love of cooking and make being in the kitchen fun. Arthur says “I’m in the business of joy. A joy of cooking!” and it shows!
It is the largest, most successful cooking school in the Southeast and was named one of the top five cooking schools in the country by the Food Network. If you’re looking for a fun date night (Marci loves getting guys to cook!) or a great activity with girlfriends, check out the Truffles & Trifles website for their class schedule. “Tacos and Tequila” and “Beef and Bourbon” evening classes are quite popular and include cocktails as well as a full menu. You can also book a private class for any event or company team-building.
Marci Arthur is a Downton Abbey Fan!
Marci Arthur, now in her 80’s, is not only a fan of Downton Abbey, she reminded me so much of the ladies in the show. She combines the feistiness and witty humor of The Dowager Countess; the culinary wizardry of Mrs. Patmore; the kindness of Lady Cora; the trailblazing spirit of Lady Edith; and the take-charge attitude of Lady Mary.
Meeting her was the highlight of this wonderful Downton Abbey-inspired experience! She has so many stories to tell that we could have listened to her for hours. Every recipe came with a story – from being in the kitchen with First Lady Rosalynn Carter to Julia Child. We told her she must write a book! Which would then of course be turned into a film.
The Downton Abbey Inspired Menu
The menu consisted of classic French dishes given an original twist by Marci Arthur, classically trained in France. We were divided into 3 groups, with each group preparing 2-3 recipes. Marci and her assistant Rashida, also classically trained, provided hands-on guidance throughout the class. They were attentive and stepped in to help when we needed it, but also allowed us to actually get our hands dirty, and do most of the cooking. A proud feeling of the delicious meal we enjoyed in the end.
- BAKED BRIE WITH LEMON AND HERBS: When you cut into the gorgeous golden pastry adorned with hearts, this luscious creamy brie, filled with fresh parsley, thyme, lemon, and pepper came oozing out. Top it with Cranberry-Ginger chutney and serve over a buttery cracker. Perfect appetizer.
Soup & Salad Courses a Must!
- ROASTED PEAR AND GORGONZOLA SALAD: Large pears were roasted in brown sugar and balsamic vinegar for an elegant salad of seasonal greens topped with gorgonzola.
- ROASTED TOMATO AND GARLIC SOUP: This was one of the best tomato soups I’ve ever had. And my team made it! Seasoned and roasted vine ripe tomatoes and garlic combined with lots of fresh herbs and chicken stock resulted in a comforting yet elegant soup. Marci kept encouraging us to taste and layer the seasonings throughout the process and that makes all the difference. I imagined Mrs. Patmore doing the same with Daisy.
The Main Course:
- MARCI’S LONDON BROIL WITH ARTHURIAN SAUCE: The London Broil was marinated with fresh lemon juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire, garlic, shallots, and onions. It was perfect!
- ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE and GARLIC MASHED POTATOES: classic accompaniments. The potatoes were creamy and garlicky! The fun twist here is the garlic is cooked in vermouth for an extra layer of flavor.
The Souffle Was To Die For!
- GRAND MARNIER SOUFFLE: The grand finale! Chocolate Grand Marnier Soufflé was to die for! This recipe is all about time (it takes an hour to bake), patience (there are lots of steps), and attention to detail. Marci guided us through each step – from properly cracking the eggs to separating the egg whites and beating them until foamy. We also learned how to melt chocolate the proper way (always use the best quality chocolate you can find!) She kept saying “Don’t be afraid. Get into it” as I was cautiously mixing the egg whites with the chocolate mixture. And “never apologize in the kitchen”. Good rules to live by. When the gorgeous soufflé came out of the oven, we all “ooh” and “aahed” and took pictures. Marci included!
Downton Abbey: A New Era Inspired Cocktail
AMC Theater’s MacGuffin’s Bar created a Downton-inspired cocktail: The Downton Fizz, available in select theaters. It combines Hendrick’s Gin, Chambord, fresh lemon, club soda and agave nectar for a refreshing cocktail I can imagine The Crawleys sipping during summers on the French Riviera. I will be trying the recipe at home!
Travel Inspiration: Highclere Castle and South of France
“Do I look like a woman who would turn down a villa in the south of France?”Violet Crawley, The Dowager Countess (Dame Maggie Smith)
Like the show, the movie Downton Abbey: A New Era is escapist fun. It is guaranteed to inspire wanderlust. Pack your designer bags and escape to a villa in the South of France. Or go to the original site that inspired it all, the majestic Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England.
A visit to Highclere Castle – the fictional Downton Abbey – has been on my travel bucket list ever since I first saw the opening credits scene with the unmistakable theme song. They are back to opening to the public and hosting tours and events after the pandemic. A scene in the film has Mr. Carson alluding to the ghastly disaster of opening to the public to raise funds. So tongue in cheek.
Follow their account on Instagram and Lady Carnarvon’s Blog and you’ll get a ton of behind-the-scenes videos and posts about daily life at this historic property from the owner, Lady Carnarvon herself. I discovered it during the pandemic when everything was closed and it was great entertainment. Castle Tours and Afternoon Tea are held regularly. Special events take place throughout the year. “Experience the Magic of the Movies” will be on September 10 and 11, 2022. You can even stay on property at one of two refurbished lodges.
Follow Downton Abbey: A New Era on Social
- Website: https://www.focusfeatures.com/downton-abbey-a-new-era/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DowntonAbbey
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/DowntonAbbey
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/downtonabbey_official/
For More Information on Truffles and Trifles Cooking School in Orlando:
- Located in College Park at 711 W Smith St, Orlando, FL 32804
- Website: https://trufflesandtrifles.com
- Instagram: @TrufflesanTrifles
I hope you’re inspired to go see Downton Abbey: A New Era in theaters now, host a Downton-inspired dinner for family and friends, take a trip to visit Highclere Castle, and attend Truffles and Trifles Cooking School in Orlando to meet our very own fascinating lady Marci Arthur. Don’t put it off until someday. Go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time.
Disclosure: I have been hosted as a media guest for promotional purposes. I am under no obligation to share this post. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to safely get together with family and friends, celebrate life, and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip, and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!