Kitchen dreams and castles in the sky…….

Ludwig II (Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm; sometimes rendered as Louis II in English) (25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until shortly before his death. He is sometimes called the Swan King (English) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale King (German).

Ludwig is best known as an eccentric whose legacy is intertwined with the history of art and architecture.

He built may incredible palaces and was a true visionary and romantic, incredibly misunderstood and not much appreciated in his time as a King leading him to die a very mysterious death.

I was moved to Munich Germany at the age of 5 years old and found myself in an alienating and hostile to foreigners, german culture which was very unaccepting  of me labeling me “der Ausländer mit den schwarzen haar”.

Very unusual Ludwig had jet black hair just like Mifune and all my japanese friends and as I do

Lost in translation at the age of 5 not understanding this hostile mentality and nothing to connect to in german society at the time, I found refuge in Toshiro Mifune’s Japanese Restaurant  and King Ludwig. Both the King and the Japanese friends at Mifune all had also jet black hair just like me, a relieve as I was constantly bullied for this during my 10 years in germany.

My ever first appreciation of great architecture, art and culture came from Mifune and King Ludwig.

Both elements thought me about the enigmatigness and the illumination of space, mind and being.

I felt the Illumination of the castle of the King  “Neuschwanstain” and I had the same experience of the Japanese Tatami Room and Tea Ceremonies held at Mifune.  (see article september archive)

castle in the sky

I felt a lot of things in common with the King, he has the same birthday, he also had black hair, he was a romantic, a visionary and he loved  art, architecture, music, nature, dreams, he was completely misunderstood and was a total foodie. Apart from these superficial things I just felt a deep inner affinity of the soul with this incredible King.

I was sure I was related to him when I was small.

I used to dream of being in the castle all by myself just as Ludwig was, wanting to enjoy the silence the magic the beauty the enigma of the nature and the space he created. I could feel his world when left alone for short moments in the castle.

Neu Schwanstain was his first architectural project at the age of 23, what a visionary and architectural genius. His architecture was his ability to dream and the imagination. The material elements were really just the means to manifest his vision and that can be felt to this day.

Ludwig II, King of Bavaria since 1864, addressed the following lines to the man he so greatly admired, Richard Wagner:

«It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day (in 3 years); there will be several cosy, habitable guest rooms with a splendid view of the noble Säuling, the mountains of Tyrol and far across the plain; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world. It will also remind you of “Tannhäuser” (Singers’ Hall with a view of the castle in the background), “Lohengrin'” (castle courtyard, open corridor, path to the chapel); this castle will be in every way more beautiful and habitable than Hohenschwangau further down, which is desecrated every year by the prose of my mother; they will take revenge, the desecrated gods, and come to live with Us on the lofty heights, breathing the air of heaven».

Picture: Ideal design for Neuschwanstein Castle

Ideal design for Neuschwanstein Castle by Christian Jank, 1869

Work on the future building site began in the summer of 1868 the King was  23 years old.

The caste is a living enigma and I was lucky because when I was 5 the caste was still in a more original state. I was able to go on tours with only one very old guide very privately and visit more rooms that are now closed to the public. Now they had to extend the building and customise the castle for tourism which is a big shame.

Ludwig did not like to have any people around him so he had a table made were it is all served below in the kitchen and then the table is automatically raised to his dinning room. A lift system. Also the castle had electricity and phone systems to comunicate across the castle. All to assure maximum privacy for King Ludwig.

This is an old drawing of the table that was prepared in the kitchen then elevated to his eating quarters.
Breathtaking view
The view from the windos that follow you all the around the castel.
Winter the most magical times to see this castle’s enchantments

I really wrote this article to show the kitchen of this castel however I could not do so without sharing also a little about this very special person the Ludwig who happened to be King of Bavaria.

King Ludwig was also very visionary and innovative when he built his kitchen.

The kitchen was equipped with the latest technology of the day. It included a large stove and a sideboard, a large and a small spit, a built-in roasting oven with a plate warmer, a baking oven, a mortar and a fish tank. Adjacent to it are the pantry, with a built-in crockery cupboard and glass-partitioned room for the chef-de-cuisine, and the scullery.

This kitchen had 2 roasters that were automatic the first of its kind. One in the main kitchen for bigger animals and the other side kitchen for chickens etc.

I would say this was definitely the El Bulli kitchen of that time and as I already mentioned, this kitchen is stil a dream kitchen. “kitchen dreams in the caste amongst the clouds”

It is a dream kitchen and even today I could be so delighted to be working in there without having to change anything.

The main Kitchen
Bread and preparation kitchen
copper pots and first automatic pit roaster
the pot rack
Smaller pit roast for chickens in another side kitchen
this kitchen had warm running water and telephone communication system

I have 2 cookbooks of the feasts and menues of the court chef of Ludwig.

I will add some menues and recipe’s of what Theodor Hierneis was preparing for the King. Truly astonishing things. I would love to do an event cooking this style as a one off.

Theodor Hierneis (* 4 October 1868 in Munich , † April 19 1953 ibid) was chef at the court of King Ludwig II of Bavaria . He became famous for his memoirs about the time of the court, which in 1972 with Walter Sedlmayr in the lead role in  How to become Theodor Hierneis or former court cook  were filmed.


He was the son of Otto and Anna born Hierneis Thomass. His father was Säcklermeister and Glover , the business and residential house was at the Marienplatz in Munich . The corner building at Marienplatz was owned by the mother, where today the jeweler Carl Thomass is.

On 1 November 1882, he joined with 14 years in the court of King Ludwig II, where he began his apprenticeship as a scullion in the royal kitchen. From 1884 to 1886 he was court cook of King Ludwig II. Hierneis wrote the daily menu for the king. After his death, he was from 1886 to 1890’s chef of Prince Regent Luitpold . In 1890 he moved to Berlin, where he worked as a volunteer in the royal family of Kaiser Wilhelm II ‘s chef has worked and thereafter.

In 1901 Hierneis made ​​independently by his savings and opened a deli with wine shop “Fine Food” at Neuhauser Strasse 7 in Munich. He had aristocratic clientele and eventually became the “Royal Bavarian Court supplier appointed “. In 1906 he founded a branch in Starnberg for the supply of Schlossberg . The turmoil of the First World War was over his company. From 1921 to 1929 he was elected member of the Commerce and Industry Chamber in Munich. 1929 drew his deli in the fifth Herzogspitalstraße In 1936 he began writing his Erinnungen of time at the court of King Ludwig II, he published this self-published in 1940 as a paperback titled “From my training in the royal family of King Ludwig II of Bavaria” .

After the death of his wife, Eleanor, in 1952 he transferred the management of the business to his daughter Ida delicacy. 1953 published a book titled “The King feeds: Memories from the royal family of King Ludwig II” in Heimeran publisher . His memoirs give deep and very personal insight into the life of the king.

Theodor Hierneis died in Munich at the age of 84.

More dream kitchens and stories coming soon…….