Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bohemian Baroque

A Hapsburg period pie from 1719 I made from a Hagger design a few years ago

How would you like to wine and dine in true eighteenth century Hapsburg style in a magnificent palace in Prague? Well in 2113 I am joining forces with my two friends Rostislav and Zlatuše Müller, who are responsible for reviving the remarkable Prague Carnevale, or Masopust. Though outlawed during the communist regime, this ancient lenten festival has grown since its revival seven years ago into a major cultural event. Of particular note is the Crystal Ball, a baroque inspired extravaganza held in the beautiful Clam-Gallas Palace in the historic centre of the city. Featuring period music, choreography and authentic food, it is an opportunity for all who attend to dress in sumptuous Hapsburg outfits. This is an extraordinary event, held in extraordinary surroundings. If you come, you will be following in the footsteps of Casanova and Mozart, who were both enthusiastic carnevale participants. 

Prima donna in the ballroom of the Clam-Gallas Palace
My role is to organise the food for the Crystal Ball. I intend to create a ball supper of authentic Hapsburg dishes served in true baroque style. My theme for 2013 is to celebrate the wonderful cuisine of Conrad Hagger, whose lavishly illustrated Neues Saltzburgisches Koch-Buch published in Augsburg in 1719 is the text book for all interested in baroque food. Born in 1666, Hagger started his career in St. Gallen and then served as a campaign cook under the Earl of Latour in the Balkans. He saw further action as a military cook in other occupations in Austria, Germany and Italy. He ended his career as cook to Johann Ernst von Thun und Hohenstein, prince archbishop of Salzburg, who he served for 27 years.  Many of Hagger's dishes are surprisingly simple and suited to modern taste, but others, particularly his pastry work, are very technically challenging. I have been a proud owner of a magnificent copy of Hagger's book for many years and have attempted some of the remarkable dishes illustrated in this bible of baroque cookery. To be invited to recreate and lay out his extravagant dishes in an authentic table display in this major European baroque palace is a real honour. I am very excited by the prospect. 

With its 305 engravings, Hagger's massive tome is the most
valuable resource we have on the appearance of Baroque food

The Clam-Gallas Palace, the venue for the Crystal Ball, as it was in the eighteenth century
This cook is probably Hagger himself, in the act of preparing an ornate pasty

You will dine under this ceiling painting 

One of Hagger's sumptuous cakes

While you dine, you will be entertained by some of the most talented artists in Bohemia

A Hagger tart design

This remarkable hairpiece was designed and constructed by Rostislav Muller

The food matches the lavishness of the wigs. One of Hagger's remarkable pies

In future years we will be holding baroque dining events in other Bohemian locations, including this painted ballroom at the Troja Palace, designed purely for the summer divertimenti of Emperor Leopold I. Even the stables at Troja have painted ceilings!

I will be posting much more information about these events on future blogs as well as on my website. Meanwhile, it is not too late to order tickets for this year's Crystal Ball, which is being held at the Clam Gallas Palace on February 18th. Go to the official Prague Carnevale website.
This blog is created by Historic Food. Go to the Historic Food Website.

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