Cottbus (dpa/bbb) – Could it be “stuffed pig’s head” or “truffle pheasant pie” and maybe a “Nicellrod-style pudding” for dessert? Dishes from the kitchen of Prince Buckler (1785-1871) in his castle in Branitz were a regular attraction for connoisseurs like himself.
Having visited the gourmets in Cottbus, the Prussian Queen and German Empress Augusta (1811-1890) was not impressed by the room specially prepared for her – she was impressed by the delicacies. Buckler also worked hard with the aristocratic guest from Babelsberg. His chefs prepared a ten-course meal. One of the Empress’s ladies-in-waiting wrote to the Prince afterwards that it stimulated the appetite and not only satisfied them.
Art historian Marina Hellmayr can narrate many of these episodes. The acclaimed ‘Prince of Culinary’ expert assessed the dishes, names and titles of the guests served in the five remaining table books by Buckler of the Court Superintendent. Over 3,500 lunch and dinner menus are listed, including crab soup, ox cheeks, and pike fillets in Spreewald sauce. “Carp à la Chambord” was presented to Queen Augusta in Branitz in 1864. According to the historian, the Duke of Weimar was also able to enjoy the delicacy.
In Böckler’s time, says Hellmayr, Prussia was interested in and enjoyed delicacies. Buchler’s friends and acquaintances thought of improving German cuisine and making it more authentic. According to the art historian, disciples of taste called themselves “taste connoisseurs” because it was about “stomach wisdom.” “Bockler said at the time: My main quality is taste, which strives for perfection in everything,” says the art historian.
More than 150 years later, Tim Slack is also all about perfection. The chef and restaurant manager at the restored Cavalierhaus across from the castle drew inspiration from the table books and cooked dishes that can now be found on the menu – such as ‘Artichoke à la Barigoule’. Like Pückler, Silack is a world traveler who has enriched his culinary knowledge in Australia and New Zealand and learned from a star chef. The returning Lusatian was seduced by Cockaigne Buckler from “borax with raisins” or “veal shank la bechamel”.
The 34-year-old at the Cavalierhaus has menus that consist of several courses. “But I not only want to cook under Buckler, I also want to develop my own handwriting,” he assures me. It should be a mixture of Pückler and Silack. In his restaurant he celebrates the art of tableware. It’s always set to three menus – he shouldn’t miss the bread and salutations from the kitchen. Slack sees himself in the best of traditions. He explains his philosophy: “You should let yourself go, like Buckler, eat for hours and not just eat until you’re full.”
Difficulty finding old recipes
Searching for old recipes for Buckler dishes was not easy. The dishes were only listed in table books, and the instructions had to be found in old cookbooks. Heilmeyer and the chef soon became a permanent duo. An art historian discovered gold and experimented with slack recipes with a team of four. 90 dishes have been recooked. Both discovered that Buckler’s favorite dish was “steak in anchovy sauce” – often served on his birthday. But the prince also created himself – for example, “Potato à la semilasso”. Letters received, for example to one of his nieces, show that the prince himself was in the kitchen, art historian Heilmeyer explains.
The landscape gardener and traveler, also known as the “Green Prince,” was inspired by his cuisine on his many travels to Europe and the East. Not only did he bring spices to the retirement home in Branitz – ketchup was also on the menu after a trip to England, which seems odd for the nineteenth century. Heilmeyer knows that such sauces made with mushrooms, tomatoes, anchovies and other ingredients were often served with meat at the time. The Prince sometimes found the food in German inns questionable and always recommended that you carry a bottle of ketchup with you.
Böckler was a regular customer at Borchardt’s delicatessen in Berlin – often referred to today as the “Beauty and Wealthy Buffet”. Founded in 1853, the establishment has a reputation as a delicacy in the 19th century and was also handed over to the Emperor. Old correspondence showed how Buckler haggled over prices with the merchant. “We have to talk about price again,” he wrote. He also asked for strange things like ant eggs, as Hellmeier and Silak discovered. However, it has been used as food for Buckler’s parrots.
Oysters from France and cucumber spreewald
Buckler had oysters brought to him from France, but he also liked vegetables, fish, and meat from the region. Spreewald gherkins and horseradish were also served. Silack also offers this blend. In addition, Prince’s creation, “Potato à la Semilasso”, should not be missing from the list. Slack initially had doubts about the taste and then fell into a stupor, he says. “It shows what Pückler was up to, because it’s a really crazy combination of flavors that still impress seasoned chefs today.”
Art historian Hellmayer and Fürst Pückler Museum Foundation director Stefan Korner compiled the court’s culinary delicacies, including 65 endearing recipes, in the book “Zu Gast bei Fürst Pückler.” “Table Pleasures” is interpreted by the Prince of Slack. “Bockler knew he could have fun and that he would show the world,” says Korner. “(…) It was all about the taste on the tongue.”
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220527-99-450936 / 2