Puzzles, castles, and cake

Two things came together: another photo by my man Jacques, of a 3D jigsaw puzzle he completed in 1994, of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria; and a photo in a Pinterest Food Art board of a jigsaw dessert from Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, which led me to jigsaw cakes:

(#1)

(#2)

From puzzles to castles and cake.

More photographs: Neuschwanstein, nestled in the Bavarian Alps; and the entrance to Enoteca Pinchiorri:

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And then a puzzle cake (chosen from many possibilities on Pinterest) plus, for the sake of symmetry, a cake puzzle (a 500-piece Icing on the Cake puzzle from Springbok):

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The castle. From Wikipedia:

Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein, English: “New Swanstone Castle”) is a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

The castle was intended as a home for the king, until he died. It was open to the public shortly after his death. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer. The palace has appeared prominently in several movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape and serves as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and later, similar structures.

More on the king, with a gay angle to go along with the architectural, musical, and psychiatric angles, from Wikipedia:

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Ludwig II (German: Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm; English: Louis Otto Frederick William; 25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. He is sometimes called the Swan King, Mad King Ludwig or der Märchenkönig (the ‘Fairy Tale King’). He also held the titles of Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Franconia, and Duke in Swabia.

He succeeded to the throne aged 18. Two years later Bavaria and Austria fought a war against Prussia, which they lost. However, in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 Bavaria sided with Prussia against France, and after the Prussian victory it became part of the new German Empire led by Prussia. Though Bavaria retained a degree of autonomy on some matters within the new German Reich, Ludwig increasingly withdrew from day-to-day affairs of state in favour of extravagant artistic and architectural projects. He commissioned the construction of two lavish palaces and the Neuschwanstein Castle, and was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. Ludwig spent all his royal revenues (although not state funds) on these projects, borrowed extensively, and defied all attempts by his ministers to restrain him. This extravagance was used against him to declare him insane, an accusation which has since come under scrutiny. Today, his architectural and artistic legacy includes many of Bavaria’s most important tourist attractions.

… Ludwig never married, nor had any known mistresses. It is known from his diary (begun in the 1860s), private letters, and other surviving personal documents, that he had strong homosexual desires. He struggled all his life to suppress his sexual desires and remain true to his Roman Catholic faith. While homosexuality had not been punishable in Bavaria since 1813, the Unification of Germany in 1871 under Prussian hegemony changed this.

Throughout his reign, Ludwig had a succession of close friendships with men, including his chief equerry and Master of the Horse, Richard Hornig (1843–1911), Hungarian theater actor Josef Kainz, and courtier Alfons Weber (born c.1862).

Florentine food. From Bavaria to Tuscany. The Pinterest caption for #2:

Relais & Chateaux – There is an unmistakable touch of modernism at this delightful restaurant. Restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri

From Wikipedia, first about Relais & Châteaux, then about Enoteca Pinchiorri, and finally about the term enoteca:

Relais & Châteaux is a global fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. Although the total number of members changes as members are added and others drop away, the group currently has some 500 members in 60 countries on five continents. Strongly represented in Europe, the association is growing in North America, Asia and Africa. (link)

Enoteca Pinchiorri is an Italian restaurant [in a Renaissance palazzo] in Florence, Italy. The owners are Giorgio Pinchiorri and French-born Annie Féolde. The chefs are Annie Féolde, Italo Bassi and Riccardo Monco. In 2008, the restaurant was voted 32nd best in the world by the British Restaurant magazine. Since 1984, the restaurant has been a recipient of the Wine Spectator Grand Award. It has perennially been awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide (link)

Enoteca (plural: Enoteche) is an Italian word, derived from the Greek word oινοθήκη, which literally means ”wine repository” (from oeno/eno- oινός “wine”, and [theca] θήκη, “receptacle, case, box” [cf. Lat. bibliotheca, Gk. βιβλιοθήκη ‘library’]), but is used to describe a special type of local or regional wine shop that originated in Italy. The concept of an enoteca has also spread to some other countries. A genuine enoteca is primarily directed at giving visitors or tourists the possibility to taste these wines at a reasonable fee and possibly to buy them. An enoteca is often run in collaboration with growers or growers’ or tourism organisations in the village or region. The reason such establishments were named to connote ”wine libraries” was that they were intended as a hands-on source of information on local wines rather than as regular outlets for larger quantities of each wine, or primarily intended for established customers. Often, an enoteca stocks rather small amounts of each wine, and customers who wish to purchase large quantities after tasting are referred directly to the producers. In some cases, an enoteca will also sell other local foodstuff and/or serve small snacks to go with the wines. (link)

Some of the repository at the restaurant:

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The food at the restaurant is inventive — here’s the pitch from the Relais & Châteaux site:

On the menu: fusilli al ferretto [‘fusilli wrapped on a wire’ — a Calabrian pasta shape] and squids in white wine, artichokes and botargo [a delicacy of salted, cured fish roe], double squab breast and peas in mint, potato doughnut with fegatini [chicken liver] sauce; truffle and caramelised chocolate, pink grapefruit and almond milk.

— and the presentations are both gorgeous and playful. The place is, of course, fabulously expensive.

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