You Say Newburg, I say Wenberg… Let’s Eat

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February 17, 2011

At our company we are avid, dare we say geeky, foodies.  We love to talk about food, seek out the best ingredients for the foods we make, and of course enjoy our products.  Last weekend, an employee was eating our Lobster Newburg and brought their curiosity about its origin back to the office.  We thought it would be fun to share its storied beginning with our readers.

Popularized in the late 1800’s and long associated with elegant dining, who actually created Lobster Newburg and when seems to be up for culinary debate.  Most accounts do connect it with Ben Wenberg, a prominent New Yorker of the mid to late 1800’s or the restaurant Delmonico’s of New York City.

One story describes Wenberg, a wealthy sea captain and shipping magnate, returning from a trip to announce at his favorite restaurant that he had witnessed a new way to prepare lobster.  He made the dish and impressed either the owner, Charles Delmonico, or the head chef, Charles Ranhofer, or both, and it was subsequently put on the menu as Lobster a la Wenberg.  Delmonico took it off the menu reportedly after an argument with Wenberg only to bring it back to appease a demanding clientele but reversing the first three letters to spite his friend and renaming it Lobster Newberg.  Other accounts suggest that Delmonico named the dish after his very good customer because Wenberg ordered it so often, but switched the letters either at Wenberg’s request or to respect his privacy.

An entirely different account suggests Lobster Newburg was created at the Hotel Fauchere in Pennsylvania where it was a signature dish.  Louis Fauchere, the eponymous owner, was of French origin and sought to create an establishment with the finest of accommodations and amenities, including an elegant dining room.  Fauchere opened his hotel in 1868, one year after he left his position working under a famous chef at, wait for it, …..Delmonico’s.

Though there may be more stories about the origin of Lobster Newburg, the fact is we think it is delicious and we are proud to count it among our product line.  Give it a try or purchase Newburg Sauce on its own and combine it with your own lobster or seafood.

Sources:

http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodlobster.html,  sourced from Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 187-8)

http://victualling.wordpress.com/, Blog: Restaurant-ing Through History, “Who invented . . . lobster Newberg?”, April 19, 2010, Jan Whitaker.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/LobsterNewbergHistory.htm, “Lobster Newberg – Lobster a la Wenberg”, 2004, Linda Stradley.

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Bar Harbor Foods ·1112 Cutler Road, Whiting, Maine 04691 USA·207-259-3341
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