…when local artist Charles G. Burggraf captures the guests at our upcoming Candlelight Dinner in the Historic Presidio Chapel on Friday April 24, 2015. If you are attending this spectacular evening, then you will be painted into the scene while enjoying a gourmet, period-themed meal and live entertainment. Interested in joining in? Click through to the link above for more information. This truly unique work of art will be auctioned off at the end of that memorable evening.
We also look forward to seeing everyone at the Founding Day Festival from noon-4:00 PM on Saturday April 25. This free, community event includes a reenactment of the founding of the Santa Barbara Presidio, interactive demonstrations for children and families, plenty of food, and performances throughout the afternoon on two stages. Join us again that evening for Rancho Roundup from 4:00 – 10:00 PM, with a concert by headliners Double Wide Kings and food from Georgia’s Smokehouse.
On March 26, 2015, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled a plaque on the Presidio Northwest Corner defense wall commemorating the 1995 visit by Prince Felipe of Spain to Santa Barbara. The plaque is also the first of several which together will serve as the donor acknowledgement wall for El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Spanish Consul General Javier Francisco Vallaure and Mayor Helen Schneider were among the dignitaries present at the unveiling. For many more photos of this beautiful Santa Barbara evening, visit our Flickr set here.
On the dark winter evening of February 5, 2015, El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park emitted a candlelight glow which beckoned visitors into the adobe rooms. Inside, guests participated in cooking and spinning demonstrations, early California dancing, a meeting with the comandante, and more. Others stayed warm by firesides in the parade ground, sharing stories and music. This magical night has become an anticipated annual education program for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. It is also a great opportunity to collaborate with one of our important partners, the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, on their signature event series, First Thursday. For all of the beautiful photos from the evening, taken by Michael Imwalle, please see our Flickr album here.
On January 24, 2015 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation held its 2015 Annual Meeting of the Membership and Community Awards Presentation. Please see our Flickr album from the event here, and share the photos with your family and friends! We are pleased to debut our annual group photo taken at the meeting here on Dispatches. This has become a favorite annual tradition for the organization. Thanks to all our members for their support, and we’ll see you soon at our next program!
On Wednesday January 28th, 2015 Cate School teachers Marnie Woehr and Oscar Urizar arrived at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park with eighteen students to volunteer for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. Archaeologist Michael Imwalle and Associate Director for Historical Resources Anne Petersen provided the group with a brief introduction to the history of the Presidio and adobe construction. Students Henry Dawson, Elizabeth Douglas, Elli Park, Zac Towbes, Diara Pouye, Elliot Rosenthal, Andre Pincot, Katherine Scott, Valeria Ghersi, Darling Garcia, Gabby Teodoro, Isaac Lee, Yori Haller, Julia McCaw, Yvette, Vega, Cordelia Pryor, Summer Matthews, and Kiyomi Ran Dylan went to the Northwest Corner to meet with Maintenance Supervisor Eduardo Garcia.
After we had a brief safety meeting Eduardo gave them an introduction to “Whitewashing 101.” By the end of the day the teachers and students finished whitewashing the interior of the reconstructed western outer defense wall at the Presidio Northwest Corner. A second set of students helped Eduardo whitewash some patched areas of the defense wall at the Northeast Corner. A third group of volunteers helped knock down weeds behind the comandancia, tilled the soil beneath the trees in the Cañedo orchard, and fertilized all the roses around the site.
Thanks for your hard work and we look forward to working with you again next year! Mike Imwalle is the archaeologist at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
Happy New Year! What better way to start off 2015 than baking up a delicious recipe from our Hispanic California predecessors. And hopefully you haven’t started your 2015 resolutions of eating healthier, because this one is another sweet treat!
I have adapted this recipe from California Mission Cookery by Mark Preston and David DeWitt. It is a more savory twist on your average chocolate cake. And if you’re used to cake box mixes, don’t be intimidated by baking from scratch. Like past recipes, this one is just as simple as it is delightful.
2 cakes Ybarra or Abuelita chocolate (this can be found at Hispanic supermarkets)
½ Cup butter
1 Cup piloncillo sugar (Brown or cane sugar could be a substitute if you have difficulty finding piloncillo)
1 Cup milk
3 Cups flour (as always, I used whole wheat flour to remain as similar as possible to flour used in Early CA)
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Cake Ybarra or Abuelita chocolate
¾ Cup butter
½ Cup piloncillo
Begin by preheating your oven to 300 degrees. Start preparing the cake batter by melting the two chocolate cakes in a saucepan over the stovetop for no more than 5 minutes. Do not try melting in the microwave, they will burn and/or could start a fire.
The Spanish did not even recognize chocolate as a food until the 17th century, nearly a hundred years after they founded New Spain. But once they pronounced it edible, it made waves in Europe and become Spain’s largest export from their new-found territory.
Ignore the French mustard unless you want to add an unusual spice taste to your cake. Photo by Brittany Avila.
You must continuously mix the chocolate to keep it from burning. Photo by Brittany Avila.
Next, add the butter and piloncillo to the chocolate. While the butter melts in with the chocolate, beat the eggs together. Mix your stovetop concoction in a bowl with the eggs. Then gradually add flour, baking powder and vanilla.
Spanish royalty were known to add a variety of unique ingredients to their new favorite import. They would consume chocolate with anything from vanilla, anise, chili peppers, hazelnut, and even powdered white roses mixed in.
Once this is well mixed, place in a 15” baking dish that is lined either with butter, PAM, or some form of non-stick spray. If you want your cake a little bit thicker, you can place it in a smaller baking dish, but you will have to cook it for a bit longer at a lower temperature.
During California’s rancho period, sweet cakes would have been baked for “la merienda,” or the meal eaten following the afternoon siesta. This “light luncheon” usually consisted of pastries, cakes, sweet cured cheese, olives and wafers. Doesn’t sound that light to me!
Place the baking dish in the oven and allow it to bake for 35-40 minutes. To be sure your cake is cooked all the way through, use the “toothpick method” by sticking a toothpick in the middle of the cake. If there is no cake batter on the toothpick when you pull it out, it’s ready. If there is, then allow it bake longer and check on it every 3-5 minutes.
While your cake is baking, you can begin working on the icing. Simply melt the appropriate amount of chocolate, butter and piloncillo for the icing together over the stove for no more than 5 minutes over low heat. Mix this with a spoon the entire time. Allow this to cool. Once cool, you can ice your cake. You can also use this mixture as a filling for your cake if you want to make multiple layers.
Piloncillo was a type of sugar formed into a cone shape also imported to El Presidio de Santa Barbara and other establishments in Early California. Even the Spanish settlers maintained their sweet tooth!
I brought this cake to my coworkers in the midst of other delectable Christmas treats and this was not overshadowed by any means! Definitely worth breaking your healthy eating resolutions just once for this!
Foster, Nelson, and Linda S. Cordell. Chilies to Chocolate: Food the Americas Gave the World. Tucson: University of Arizona, 1992. 3-4
Packman, Ana Bégué. Early California Hospitality; the Cookery Customs of Spanish California, with Authentic Recipes and Menus of the Period. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, 1938. 30. Print.
Preston, Mark, and Dave DeWitt. California Mission Cookery: A Vanished Cuisine, Rediscovered. Albuquerque, New Mexico: Border, 1994. 194.
The latest, freshest batch of Santa Inés Mission Mills Olive Oil arrived at La Tiendita, SBTHP’s gift shop, just in time for the holiday season. The olives were harvested during the last few days of October at our Santa Inés Mission Mills property by dedicated staff members and volunteers – some of them making the trek to the valley to toil away on a Sunday. Nearly 300 pounds of olives were harvested, which in turn yielded a precious five gallons of Olio Nuovo. This was a considerable reduction from previous years’ harvests. However, when Wayne Sherman, our steward for the Mission Mills site, delivered the harvest to the miller he learned that we had the second largest crop in the area due to Southern California’s recent troubles with weather and water.
We were excited to receive this limited supply, which we refer to as “Olio Nuovo,” or new oil. This first press of the season will actually be the only oil we bottle this season. So buy local! Stop by La Tiendita today to pick up a bottle. Enjoy its flavorful intensity, knowing that the oil’s freshness contributes to its health benefits. Our olive oil has not traveled long distances to be stored in warehouses, waiting to be moved to grocery store shelves. You will also be supporting SBTHP’s ongoing preservation efforts of the historic Santa Inés Mission Mills site.
Special thanks to Shawn Addison of Figueroa Farms for milling the olives at a discounted rate for this non-profit organization. Another big thank you goes out to Olivos Del Mar for their assistance bottling the oil. A special mention must also be made regarding the beautiful artwork on the label, which was developed from an oil painting done by Ron Guthrie during a “Pick and Paint Day” hosted at the Mission Mills site during the Fall of 2013.
Susan Zamudio-Gurrola is the shop manager and education assistant at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
by Michael Imwalle, with assistance from Gabe Smith
In May of 2013 former Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation weekend interpreter Gabe Smith and I embarked on an experiment to make wine from the California Mission wine grapes growing at El Presidio de Santa Barbara SHP in the Presidio Heritage Garden. SBTHP staff and volunteers harvested and crushed the grapes at Oreana Winery in October 2013 (see more here). The Presidio heritage grapevines are grown from cuttings taken from a Spanish Colonial period vine at San Gabriel Mission, so they are truly heritage fruits. Historically, the California Mission wine grape made inferior quality drinking wine. Often wine for consumption at mass was ordered from Mexico or Spain while grain alcohol was added to locally produced wine to make a fortified wine called angelica. In April 2014 we began the painstaking process of testing and tasting the wine as we decided whether would be able to drink it or start our first batch of “Heritage Balsamic Vinegar.”
After storing the wine in our wine cave beneath the Alhecama Theatre, this October Gabe decided to blend some of the wine to make it more “palatable.” We began blending and tasting the blends of mission grapes with varying concentrations of Pinot Noir and Viognier. With a limited number of tasters, the favorite wines were 100 percent Mission Grape, a 50/50 blend of Mission Grape and Pinot Noir, and a 75/25 blend of Mission Grape and Viognier.
Wine for blending. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
Tasting samples. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
On November 26th of this year, Gabe and I bottled seven cases of Presidio Mission Wine including at least two cases of each variety described above.
Success! Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
Mad scientist. photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
Gabe Smith gravity filling wine bottles. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
Gabe Smith demonstrating the corker. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
Equipment at Oreana Winery. Photo by Michael H. Imwalle.
Again Oreana winery was generous enough to let us use their facility to bottle our wine. Thank you to Oreana winemaker Danny Miles for his help through the entire process right down to adding the foil caps to the bottles. We look forward to trying this again next year and watch for taste of the 2014 El Presidio de Santa Bárbara SHP Heritage Wine at the next Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation event you attend.
Michael Imwalle is the archaeologist at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation
Up-to-date news, notes, and behind the scenes at SBTHP