The picture at left shows the fall vegetables at a market near Berwick, Nova Scotia, taken the day before I returned to Germany in mid September.
The picture of the grapes on the vine was taken by Hans in the Kaiserstuhl, south of us here in Germany, in September. The forecast for the grape harvest this year is that it will be both plentiful and of good quality.
Below is the Zwiebelkuchen we had at the Freiamt market with our glasses of Neuerwein from the newly pressed grapes.
Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Tart) - The pastry for onion tart is not like North American pie crust. There are various recipes for it, depending on where it is made. The crust will be made with flour, sometimes yeast is added, salt, milk or water or sometimes light cream, sometimes an egg, butter and sugar. The topping will include either sour cream or creme fraiche (often a combination of the two) or sweet cream. One that the German cook at former Canadian Forces Hospital Europe made had fresh cream and eggs in the topping.
Our friend Monika uses flour, yeast, salt, a little water and a little oil for her crust. For the topping, she mixes together 200 grams of sour cream (about three-quarters of a cup), 1 egg, salt and pepper. She cuts smoked Schinken (or smoked bacon)--amount wished--into narrow strips. She slices about a pound of onions (or the amount wished) and puts them into some sour cream to soften them, leaving them in the cream for two to three hours in the fridge. (Or instead, as some recipes call for, saute the sliced onions in a little bacon fat until soft, but not browned.) Note: Sour cream in Germany is naturally soured, not artificially as it is in North America; therefore, it is much milder in taste.
Assemble: Spread the onions and bacon over the crust. Pour the cream mixture over all. Bake in a hot oven, about 400F to 425F (200C to 220C) (depending on your oven), for 35 to 40 minutes. Don't let it burn; cover it lightly if necessary during the early baking.
Autumn also heralds many Oktoberfests, one of which is our favourite and it takes place each year on the last weekend of September. Those celebrations are held at the Gasthaus Linde in Wallburg, just seven or so minutes from where we live. Now we make sure that each year we return from Nova Scotia in time to attend. This is the same Gasthaus where I go for chicken every week, so I know it well--and they know me well, too!
Here I am with Hans' beer stein in front of me and my own glass of Weinschorle, a mixture of half white wine and half carbonated mineral water. I find that at fests the white wine is not to my particular liking as it is generally just a normal table wine or everyday wine. Weinschorle is a good substitute and has only half the alcohol content.
The band started playing at 10 a.m. and they continued until 3 p.m., with breaks just every half hour--and not for long. That band is also one of the reasons that brings us there. They are fantastic. They call themselves "Die Lustige Funfzigers" (The Happy Fifty-Year Olds) and all, with the exception of perhaps three or four, are now well over 50 (there are more than 25 of them altogether). The average age is 66, which means many of them are now in their 70s, one of them being in his late 80s. They play the music we love: marches, folk music, popular songs, polkas and drinking songs. Clap along music! And, as at the Europa Park Oktoberfest, lots of "Prost, Prost, Prost!" ringing throughout.