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Renaissance festival in Bavaria

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Mindelheim is one of those old towns in Bavaria that man could just fall in love with. This Swabian village (it’s just 90 kilometers far from München) has been around for the better part of several thousand years, yet is incredibly modern and an all around great place to hang out for a few days. Besides the fun festivals and astonishing Bavarian countryside, the museums here are just aces.

Let’s begin with the city tour: the town center of Mindelheim reflects the typical structure of a medieval settlement. The most important municipal buildings such as the town hall or churches are arranged around a central market square. Like many other German cities, Mindelheim’s used to be surrounded by a city wall. As in most cases, this wall is now incomplete as it was partially torn down in the 19th century to make room for modern buildings. Nevertheless, the remaining parts of the wall and some gates give a good impression of the original state.

And what medieval town is complete without a castle? Above the city the Castle Mindelburg is a striking 12th century beauty that was once used as an army hospital Sorry, there’s not too much visiting inside, because it’s now housing the offices of a book publishing company and a restaurant, but at least you can have all the “Kodak Moments” you want outside. The castle was not changed much in the last centuries. The complete annex displays the typical structure of a European fortress, including a donjon. This architectural ensemble is used to stage several festivals and markets such as the Georg Frundsberg’s festival which is held every three years.

What else you can see before participating in the festival?

The Textile Museum has a relatively new exhibit on religious garments from the Middle Ages to modern day. Another exhibit takes a look at clothing trends from the late 19th century to the early 20th; great for the fashionista in all of us.

One of the more unique museums you’ll find in all of Germany is the Swabian Tower Clock Museum. Housed in the old Silvester kirche (Silvester Church) are some of the oldest watches and other instruments of time telling, the oldest dates to the 16th century. However Mindelheim’s Local History Museum is filled with other displays of cultural life, including traditional Bavarian costumes, and art.

The South Swabian Archaeological Museum has exhibits on life here in the Alb during the days of the last Ice Age, when the Romans traveled the area, and daily life of the early Middle Ages.P1160068

And what medieval town is complete without a medieval procession?

The Frundsberg Festring Mindelheim which is celebrated every three years was founded on July 19, in 1977 by initiative of seven inhabitants of Mindelheim as a public, incorporated association listed in the register of associations without any confessional or political motivation whatsoever. The Frundsberg Festring is committed to the maintenance and continual further development of the Frundsberg Festival, the reenactment of the medieval times in tradition, music and all sorts of performances as well as the preservation of Mindelheim living carnival tradition. For these purposes, the association pursues the foundation and promotion of historical and musical groups, the planning, organization and performance of the triennially Frundsberg Festival and engages in permanent quality-improvement activities. Besides, the Frundsberg Festring acts as a holding organization for several different historical and two carnival departments as well as numerous sections. People of Mindelheim celebrate the Frundsberg Festival a whole row of medieval shops, medieval craftsmen at work, and the great parade is the medieval procession.

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In sticking with Mindelheim’s medieval feeling, the Frundsbergfest was a big fun way of looking at medieval life (fun now, but life was hard back then) and a celebration to Knight and Field Captain Landsknecht of George von Frundsberg (who was a German military leader in the 16th century in the service of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and the Imperial house of Habsburg). There were plenty of historical costumes, good hearty local food (wild bore), concerts, and all out revelry for a few days around the town.

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Greek beef ragu-Stifado

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Stifado is a real Greek classic! You can make it from beef or lamb as well. It’s a mega hit.

Ingredients: 800 grams -1kg of lean beef cubed, 500 grams of shallot, 1 large onion, 2 tomatoes, 3 garlic cloves (to taste), cloves 3-4, vegetable stock cube, small wine glass of extra virgin olive oil, glass of red wine, 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar (optional), 12 pearl onions (pickles from jar), 2 tbsp of tomato puree/paste, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 3 sprigs of rosemary, 4 bay leaves, black pepper, salt

Directions: Put meat in a frying pan and sear the meat then add the olive oil, onions and garlic leave until onions start to go soft (about 5 minutes)

Then add the glass of red wine and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, cover and leave for 5 minutes.

Then add your cinnamon, stock cube, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves, rosemary, tomato puree and salt and pepper to taste. Keep stirring to let all your ingredients mix together.

Then finally add your chopped tomatoes and continue stirring for 5 minutes.

Then transfer to a clay pot or casserole dish and add about 1/4 – 1/2 liter of water, be careful not to drown the sauce, then cook for at least one hour in the oven on a moderate heat, keeping checking you don’t want it to dry out and add water if needed you are aiming for a thick rich sauce texture.

Whilst cooking place your 500 grams of shallots into hot water to soften the skin and peel, then fry these in a little olive oil, be careful not to burn them, just aim to soften them and add a little color, add these to Stifado after one hour of cooking in the oven and then add them to the pot and cook for a further 1 hour until the meat is tender.

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Cod with cucumber

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Ingredients: 1 cucumber, sliced, ¾ pound cod, dash of salt, 1 tbsp flour, 3 tbsp lemon juice (optional), 2 tbsp butter, 1 onion chopped, dried dill, tarragon, bay leaf, pepper to taste, 200 ml cream or crème fraiche

Directions: Peel the cucumber, halve lengthwise, deseed with a spoon and slice crosswise. Peel the shallots, dice finely and sweat in butter until translucent.

Add the cucumber and stew for 3 minutes. Dust with flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring.

Stir in the stock and crème fraiche, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer over a low heat for 6 minutes.

Wash the fish and pat dry. Cut into portions, mix in with the cucumber and cook very gently for 5 minutes. Mix in the tarragon, season to taste and serve.

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An other miracle in Bavaria: the Facade painting

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Traditional Bavarian frescoes (artistic facade painting or open air art ) are dotted all over Alpenwelt Karlwendel. Nowhere else in Upper Bavaria will you see so many frescoes dating from the 18th Century as in Mittenwald, Krün and Wallgau. Today, artists still turn facades into “lively picture books”, as J. W. Goethe, the great German poet called them. The themes, fairy tales, religious scenes or architectural trompe-l’œils found on many homes and buildings.

Lüftlmalerei or trompe-l’œils

Outdoor mural, or fresco’s -Lüftlmalerei in German, or trompe l’oeil in French-technic originates in the Baroque period, when it refers to perspectival illusionism. But trompe-l’œil dates much further back. It was (and is) often employed in murals. Instances from Greek and Roman times are known, for instance in Pompeii. How can I explain: a typical trompe-l’œil mural might depict a window, door, or hallway, intended to suggest a larger room. A version of an oft-told ancient Greek story concerns a contest between two renowned painters. Zeuxis (born around 464 BC) produced a still life painting so convincing that birds flew down to peck at the painted grapes. A rival,  Parrhausis, asked Zeuxis to judge one of his paintings that was behind a pair of tattered curtains in his study. Parrhasius asked Zeuxis to pull back the curtains, but when Zeuxis tried, he could not, as the curtains were included in Parrhasius’s painting—making Parrhasius the winner.

Later on the art of painting frescoes became a folk-based variation of the Baroque trompe l’œil phenomenon. The images are painted onto the fresh lime render on the house wall using fresco techniques. In a chemical reaction, the colors “silicify” with the plaster, which makes the pictures waterproof and durable.

Bavaria and Tirol, specially Oberammergau, Mittenwald are all famous for their “Lüftlmalerei-s (the name Lüftlmalerei may be derived from an Oberammergau house, called Zum Lüftl, which was the home of a facade painter, Franz Seraph Zwinck (1748–1792). In the past in some villages it’s traditional to hire-a facade painter to decorate the front mural of the house. They tell stories of traditional life and the deeply rooted beliefs of the inhabitants: Woodworkers and raftsmen go about their hard labours, St. Christopher carries the Baby Jesus over the river and a great celebration is underway in a merry inn scene.

In Mittenwald in the Werdenfelser region at the foot of the Karlwendel you will notice immediately that pictures adorn the walls of the old houses. The colorful works often tell stories from the Bible, such as of The Resurrection and The Agony in the Garden, or depict fires and floods but also popular the Sun-dial theme.

And also in the neighboring villages, many paintings have endured to this day, a lot of them are more facade art. For instance the facade of the Hotel Rheinischer Hof in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in which two mountaineers from different eras are climbing a mountain together. “Traditional fresco painting used mineral pigments and tended to represent rural and religious scenes, as was common in the 18th century”.Mittenwald 032

Mural paintings also in Switzerland

Stein am Rhein (at Constance lake) is widely regarded as Switzerland’s best preserved medieval small town. The immense cultural heritage of this city is a major source of pride to the citizens of Stein am Rhein. As children, they learn about the colorful stories told by the painted facades of historic buildings. These paintings, some biblical or historical in nature depict tales of wine, vineyards, crafts, festivals and a full range of human conditions.  Themes vary from history or mythology, commerce or warfare to morality.  Originally, the wealthy residents of these decidedly upscale dwellings had these frescoes applied as highly visible testimony to their affluence. These wonderfully frescoed buildings are windows that offer an amazing clarity on The Middle Ages. Go and see how vibrant the colors still are even after more than 200 years!

 

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Tutzing, the fishing village with the castle

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Tutzing is a municipality in the district of Starnberg in Bavaria, Germany, on the west bank of the Lake Starnberg. Just 40 km south-west of Munich and with good views of the Alps, the town was traditionally a favorite vacation spot for those living in the city. The town of 7,000 is home to many commuters to Munich, as well as to retirees.  Tutzing station is both a terminus of Munich’s S -Bahn rail network and a regional train hub serving Innsbruck, Mittenwald, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Reutte, Kochel and Oberammergau.

Tutzing is equipped with a regional hospital and various clinics. It hosts the conference centre Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, founded in 1947. Tourists and cyclists continue to visit, often while circling the lake or starting or ending a hike. Horseback riding is possible from a number of nearby farms.

The history of Tutzing

The fishing village of Tutzing was first mentioned in a chronicle of the monastery of Benediktbeuren in the 11th century. In this chronicle a place called “Dutcingun” was mentioned in connection with donations to the monastery. The castle comprised a farm, a mill and six half farms in those days. Around the year 1480 the Munich patrician family called Dichtl purchased the village of Tutzing. In 1519 Bernhard Dichtl, the senior, obtained jurisdiction of the county and was thus entitled to raise taxes from his people and to enforce law and order. The county existed for more than three centuries until the year of the revolution 1848 and was ruled by its authorities living in the castle.

The Hallberger period

The ingenious publisher Eduard von Hallberger (1822- 1880), deriving from an old Swabian-Franconian line of priests, was owner of the Tutzing castle from 1869 to 1880. The founder of the Deutsche Verlagsanstalt publishing company, Stuttgart rebuilt this property and turned it into a luxurious meeting facility for the world of literature and upper class society. Southern flair was given to the property by Eduard Hallberger in 1878. The publisher ordered the building of a lake terrace and the pergola of columns by the shore in 1878. Palm trees, cherubs, vases and fountains added an interesting variety to the newly designed park. Coloured engraving by Julius Lange (1874).

In 1873 Johannes Brahms spent four summer months in Tutzing, completing his String Quartets Opus 51 and writing the Haydn Variations. A small lakeside park is dedicated to him, and a plaque stands near the large house where he lived and worked.19575188_1912858708962275_2373205786108314369_o

Tutzing castle-a place of arts
The heirs of Eduard Hallberger were not able to keep the property. Therefore it was sold in the year 1921. Marczell von Nemes (born as Moses Klein), son of a Jewish choirmaster with Hungarian roots, bought the Tutzing castle and park to have a location in order to present his extensive collection of art pieces originating from various parts of Europe to an interested public. Nemes is considered to have rediscovered El Greco which is why he became well-known in the history of art. Most pieces attracting the attention of art enthusiasts in the castle and park found their places here during the Nemes era. Marczell of Nemes died in 1930.
During the period of the Third Reich the castle was property of the Hackelsberger family. A memorial plaque reminds of the industrial and catholic politician Albert Hackelsberger in the inner court yard. He lost his life in a prison of the German Gestapo in 1940. During the Nazi period, Trutskirch-Tutzing (Dornier), a forced-labor factory for the Dornier-Werke GmbH aircraft concern, was a sub-camp of Dachau Concentration Camp. The town was also a stop on the “trail of tears” of inmates forcibly marched south in 1945; a plaque at the town hall commemorates them.19620573_1912859552295524_8415665676496435158_o

The Evangelische Akademie Tutzing
In the 1940-ies Tutzing castle was owned by the Kaselowsky family and Rudolf Oetker, who was a baking powder producer from Bielefeld. However, the two owners soon left it to the Innere Mission (i.e. a German charity organisation) as a recovery facility for soldiers who had returned from war until bishop Hans Meiser purchased the property for the Protestant-Lutheran church in Bavaria in 1947. Since then the traditional castle of Tutzing has served as a conference location to the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing. The Evangelische Akademie Tutzing offers you the premises of the Tutzing castle for events during the week from Monday to Friday.

The Tutzing castle has its own restaurant with a capacity of 110 seats available as well as additional rooms for banquets, buffets, concerts and other festive events. Moreover you will find a number of local restaurants offering Bavarian and international cuisine in the vicinity of the castle. The best ice cream parlor is the Eiscafé Corallo where my favorite ice cream is the watermelon and almost all of what the Italian profi makes.

The most famous festival is the Fishmonger’s Wedding, it’s a historical event organized every four years by the city Tutzing.

Perfectly flaky grilled fish fillets with kohlrabi citrus purée

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Welcome summer! The grill season has set in! When you combine a few pounds of beautiful fish fillets, amazing seasonal produce, and grill it, you are in for one simple yet perfect dinner. This recipe for grilled fish fillets is amazing. It takes about 5 minutes to prep, 7 minutes on the grill, and you are done. I can’t wait for you to try it! Add some fresh green beans and you’ll have dinner done in about 30 minutes with little to no effort! This is an ideal simple meal. I like recipes like this because I can hit up the farmer’s market, buy gorgeous fruits and vegetables and use them for the sides to this really divine grilled fish recipe. It’s classic, and it’s always a hit in the house.

This fish & veggie recipe is the simpliest and best way to grill just about any firm of white fish!

Some tips: You have a lot of options when it comes to what kind of fish to grill. I tend to stick with less expensive but good quality fish like pike-sander, catfish, cod, and pollock. All of these firm white fish are mild tasting and really easy to throw on the grill.

  1. Don’t under salt this recipe and don’t forget the lemon. Because they really bring the needed acid and salt to a good fish recipe (I always buy high quality of fish)
  2. Don’t skimp fish on the oil. It help the fish to not stick the grill.
  3. No outdoor grill? You can make this recipe on a grill pan inside.
  4. This fish recipe is good with corn, green beans, kohlrabi and watermelon. It’s also great with a side of bread, or with rice, or served with just roasted veggies. You can’t go wrong with any of those!

Ingredients for the kohlrabi purée: 2 kohlrabi, butter, salt and pepper to taste, 200 ml cream, citrus vinegar or lime, or  the Japanese juzu, or mirin

Peel and cut finely the kohlrabi into cubes then fry in some butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over some water, not too much. Simmer kohlrabi about 10 minutes. Flavor with citrus vinegar, juzu, or mirin and add cream. Let it simmer for 5 more minute then make purée when it cooled a bit down. Or you can prepare grilled kohlrabi:

  1. Cut the kohlrabi into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut each of the slices in half. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi slices in the olive oil mixture to coat. Spread kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally in order to brown evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to allow the Parmesan cheese to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
  3. Rub the chosen fish with olive oil+lemon juice+grill spices mixture. Salt and pepper to taste and start to grill!

 

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Asparagus-peas risotto

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Ingredients: 1 tablespoon butter, 1 onion, finely chopped, 34 lb asparagus, chopped in 1 inch lengths, 150 gr peas, 3 garlic cloves, crushed, 1 12 cups arborio rice, 100 ml white wine, 4 cups chicken broth, 14 cup cream, 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, 14 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

Melt the butter in the pan and add the onions on medium-low heat. Cook for 4 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the rice. Stir until well coated. Pour over white wine then add 1/2 cup of stock to the rice, stirring until absorbed.

Then add the asparagus and the peas. Continue adding the stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring after each addition until the stock has been absorbed. (Should take about 20-25 minutes.)

Finish dish with adding the cream, parmesan cheese, and basil stirring gently to combine. Serve in a plate decorated with some herbs.

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