Menu dated 28th August 1882
Dinner at the Neue Residenz, Bamberg, hosted by
His Majesty King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
It’s “Mad King Ludwig’s” birthday, and what better way to celebrate than a 12 course banquet where crystal glasses filled with fragrant woodruff sorbet make a welcome digestive halfway through the meal.
The King’s guests consumed plates of venison sausages; stuffed partridges wrapped in bacon and drizzled in a truffle sauce; poached goose livers; saddles of veal with creamed champignons; and fried capons served with a traditional German potato-salad made with gherkins.
The menu also features an omelette for which the King always enjoyed the savoury variety. A former palace chef recalled that the King liked “omelette with asparagus tips or chopped smoked tongue”.
The six wines for the evening included the Champagne, Moët Crêmant Rosé. It is said Ludwig II liked his Champagne “freely mixed with water, in which violet flowers had been scattered”.
This banquet took place at the King’s Bamberg palace; which although officially called the “New Residence” (Neue Residenz), was infact built in 1704. An etching of the palace alongside the Bamberg Cathedral adorns the menu-card beneath the gilt embossed royal crown.
The King’s birthday was officially three days earlier on 25th August. By now Ludwig II had a reputation as an eccentric, but in the next few years that reputation would turn to insanity; resulting in his deposition and suspicious death in 1886.
Just three months after this dinner, 14 year-old Theodor Hierneis joined the palace staff of the King of Bavaria as a kitchen boy. Hierneis’s memoirs, published 70 years later, recounted the kindness of Ludwig II: “for those days the pay, too, was by no means ungenerous”.
He also recounted the King’s madness, or eccentricity; depending which side of the debate about the King’s health is being retold.
“The first thing that was impressed upon me, apart from my work in the kitchens, was how to behave if by chance I met the King. There were the strictest orders not to look at him. In fact one was not even allowed to raise one’s eyes, but must stand, with head and body inclined and arms at one’s sides and wait, in case he should notice or address someone”, remembered Hierneis.
In later months, as the King’s ‘nervousness’ increased, Heirneis recalled new “orders were given that no one was to be seen at a door, in the courtyard, or even at a window. In the case of the King suddenly appearing and all escape being impossible, the only hope of avoiding his displeasure was to stand bent double, with fingertips touching the shoes”.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Würstchen von Rehwild
Rheinsalm mit holländischer sauce
Rhine salmon with Hollandaise sauce
Kalbsrücken mit Champignons
Saddle of veal with champignons
Gefüllte Feldhühner á la Perigueux
Stuffed partridges wrapped in bacon and
dressed in a truffle sauce
Chaud-froid von frischen Gänseleber
Slices of poached fresh goose livers coated in a white
sauce then sealed in a layer of aspic jelly.
Sorbet von Waldmeister
Champagne sorbet flavoured with sweet woodruff
Kapaunen von Mans gebraten mit Kopfsalat
Fried capon from Mans served with potato salad
made with gherkins
Artischoken mit Sauce Duxelles
Artichokes with a Duxelle sauce made from mushrooms,
parsley and shallots
Baked omelette flavoured with mushrooms and onion
Kleine Kuchen mit Himbeerensulze
Small cakes with raspberry jelly
Gefrorenes: Chocolat, Johannisbeeren, Zitronen
Ice-creams and sorbets: Chocolate, Red Currant, Lemon
Above: Crown Prince Ludwig (future King Ludwig II) with his mother Queen Marie of Bavaria and brother Prince Otto of Bavaria.
Below: King Ludwig II takes tea with Prince Paul of Taxis and Thurn .