Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Friday, 21 July 2017

Let the festivities commence

Hands up if you’ve heard of Landshut. Or Landshut Hochzeit 1475?  No? No-one? 
Landshut is a beautifully preserved town
Well neither had we until we we arrive at the home of our German friends and they announced we’re going there the next day and it would be fantastic!  The brochure they give us does little to enlighten me as my German is limited to counting to ten and what I learned from Hogan’s Heroes.  
An hour and a half on the train into southern Bavaria and we arrive at the medieval town of Landshut, founded in 1204.  The town is teeming with visitors as we arrive at one of the largest historical pageants in Europe, the Landshuter Hochzeit of 1475. What? The Landshut wedding between the Polish King’s daughter, Hedwig, to George, the son of the Duke of Bavaria.  While it was an arranged marriage it turned out pretty well for most concerned: the Polish King expanded his influence, power and reach and the “bride price” George received was in the region of 6.5 million Euro in today’s money.  It's unclear what advantage Hedwig gained. 
We walk up to the main street where the seating banks lining both sides of the street are crowded, but we manage to weasel our way between two bleachers to get a decent view of the wedding procession that's about to begin.
The procession takes almost an hour with about 2,000 people involved: town citizens, children with their nannies, mounted heralds, fanfare trumpeters, wagons with supplies, noble ladies and gentlemen, flag bearers  court jesters, church elders, the golden wedding coach - the attention to detail is meticulous as is each in period costume.  Men taking part are not allowed to cut their hair from the preceding November so they have the look for medieval fashion. I'm very taken with the schnabelshuh, or beak shoe, with its point upturned toe.
Love your shoes
The parade progresses with many call and return shouts of Hallloooooo! And Landshuuuuut!  Small garlands of flowers and/or box hedging are flung about to cheers and clapping.
Clothes not available at H&M
 There is a huge commitment from the town and all the citizens dress in medieval garments during festival days regardless of whether they are actively involved.  Because of the great pains they go to to preserve historical detail, spectators are not allowed medieval costumes.  An aside: I'm surprised, I don't know why, at the number of people who wear lederhosen on a day to day basis.  It always seems like a dress-up outfit to me, but it's worn with no irony. 
The wedding re-creation and festival runs for four weeks in July with people coming from all over Europe to attend. There are activities all day on weekends and every night during the week. In the evenings, at the Lager und Zehrplatz - Camp Ground - a medieval village has been carefully and accurately recreated and everyone gets carried away with medieval dancing, jousting, falconry, fencing, pageantry, cooking and feasting.  
At the original wedding, which is detailed in chronicles of the time, the feast included 320 bullocks, 1,500 sheep, 1,300 lambs, 500 calves and 40,000 chickens - no mention of kale or quinoa.     
Village life in the kitchens
I’m fairly sure the wedding party gets tired of the wedding banquet every weekend. We don’t get tired of touring the non authentic food stalls and drinking litres of beer. 
Grilled fish - not grilled in village kitchen
 Thanks to Jurgen, Barbara, Lou, Hannah, and Lukas for a one of a kind day out. 

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