Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Heidelberg Castle | Exhibitions The culinary histories of palaces and monasteries in Baden-Wuerttemberg

The monks of Maulbronn Monastery are said to have invented the “Maultasche”, a type of ravioli-like pasta. How did they manage to do that? It is said that during Lent, the monks unexpectedly received a piece of meat. But meat was strictly forbidden during fasting! To prevent the meat from spoiling and to hide the offense from God, a monk supposedly had the idea to chop up the meat, mix it with herbs and then wrap it in pasta dough. That’s how the Maultasche was supposedly born. Whether fact or fiction, it is true that in the monasteries, monks cooked inventively with lots of vegetables and herbs from their own gardens. Even if the historical facts aren’t 100% accurate – the story is good. And the result, the Swabian national dish, is a delectable treat!

Liselotte of the Palatine and the coleslaw


Elisabeth Charlotte (1652–1722), known as Liselotte of the Palatine, is still one of the most famous Palatine people. As the daughter of Elector Karl I Ludwig, from the house of Pfalz-Simmern, she spent her childhood in Heidelberg Palace. The young princess was married to Philip of Orléans, the brother of King Ludwig XIV from France, in 1671. The marriage was meant to protect the Electoral Palatinate. Liselotte was never happy in the elegant court of Versailles. And she retained her own taste – for example, her penchant for the regional-style coleslaw of Palatine, which she had loved ever since her childhood and youth. She wrote countless letters from France: around 5,000 have been handed down. In these letters, she portrayed the court life in Versailles in a lively, immediate way. What was eaten there, how did they celebrate, love and pass away?


Margravine Sibylla Augusta and her book of recipes
300 years ago lived Sibylla Augusta, Margravine of Baden-Baden (1675-1733). The extraordinary part: her whole life, she collected recipes and directions – for cooking, but also for cosmetics and beauty products. But Sibylla Augusta was one of the richest heiresses among European royalty at the end of the 17th century! Her book of recipes has been preserved until today. And her palaces as well: in Rastatt, with the majestic baroque residential palace and the fine Favorite Palace outside Rastatt. Here the precious collections of the Margravine have been preserved, such as the very first porcelain from the Meißen manufactory.


King Wilhelm I and the people’s fair. 200 years of the Cannstatter Fair
It is a little known fact that the second-largest fair in the world – after the Oktoberfest in Munich – was founded 200 years ago by King Wilhelm I and his wife, Queen Katharina of Wuerttemberg, in Stuttgart. In Cannstatt, a suburb of the royal capital, in the valley of the Neckar, the “agricultural main celebration” (Landwirtschaftliches Hauptfest) took place for the first time in 1818. Today it is known as a big fair with giant beer tents, rollercoasters and carousels. But it started as an exhibition for agriculture. The royal couple started the product exhibition to improve the work of the farmers and the quality of the food throughout the kingdom. And this tradition continues even today: while people celebrate loudly and cheerfully every year at the fair, every five years all parties interested in agriculture meet at the “Hauptfest”, at the doorstep of Stuttgart.


The Olga Pretzel
The ruling family of Wuerttemberg married into the Russian Czar family for around 150 years – for reasons related to the dynasty. And the noble Russian princesses were often very popular among the people of Wuerttemberg. Such as the wife of King Karl of Wuerttemberg, the beautiful Queen Olga (1822-1892). A Stuttgart baker invented the Russian pretzel or “Olga Pretzel” in her honour. The sweet baked good, consisting of two types of dough and sliced almonds, covered in thick icing, still exists today.

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