Sweet destiny

Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau was one of those aristocratic 19th century polymaths of boundless initiative and insatiable curiosity who treated the world like their own private kunstkammer.

Born in 1785, Pückler-Muskau was a soldier, author and adventurer, but is probably best known outside of his native Germany for innovations in landscape architecture, a pursuit into which he poured his considerable fortune. His amorous entanglements, eccentricity and thirst for knowledge were widely known to his contemporaries and he served as the model for the character of Count Smorltork in Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers.

Mention his name to a German, however, and they will most likely think of this:

The prince enjoys a prestigious place in iced confectionary annals as the inspiration for what is known in English as Neapolitan ice cream, which first appeared in 1839 in Germany, where it still bears his name. While politically liberal, it is unlikely that Pückler-Muskau’s idea of egalitarianism extended to seeing his august name in every Aldi in the country. Like the 4th Earl of Sandwich, he was fated in his homeland to have his more illustrious deeds overshadowed by snack-related immortality (and meanwhile the grand German tradition of honouring the great and good in the freezer compartment continues).

Incidentally that’s Hermann in the Strange Flowers logo above (or it was at time of writing…it is possible you’re reading this in the future and the logo may have changed. So: look up. Do you see a guy in a turban? That’s him. Something else? Not him.)



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