As mentioned in my previous blog, in every town centre or beside the church and perhaps outside a Gasthaus, one will see lighted Christmas trees at night. Here are two: one in Münchweier outside the Gasthaus Rebstock and the other in Ettenheimmünster beside the church.
Most Gasthäuser have an Advent wreath throughout Advent and Christmas. Few, though, have ones hanging from the ceiling. The one below, at the Schwarzer Adler, is a particularly lovely one.
This former family Gasthaus--and now a Michelin one-star restaurant--has been in the same family for many years.
Some of the courses we enjoyed:
Atlantic scallops with radish and a mustard sauce. These were served before the main dinner.
The main dish: Medaillons of veal with a red wine sauce along with sauteed red beets and spinach
Our dessert: Exotic snowmen with cocoa parfait, passion fruit sorbet and litchi jelly: All edible and delicious.
During Advent and the pre-Christmas season, we had two invitations to the homes of friends, the first at Ursula and Ludwig's for a superb Mittagessen. I grew up having the main meal at noon, as did Hans, and many Germans still do. We don't ourselves now although it is always special with friends.
Three of our hosts' special Christmas scenes above and below.
Ursula served duck, mushrooms in a wonderful sauce along with white asparagus. The latter, of course, is no longer in season but frozen ones and canned ones are available and are very good.
Salmon, below, for Adolf, the other guest, who could not eat duck
Below, another locally bought Stollen.
We were happy to have another special cake, a Canadian fruit cake that our friend Jean in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, gave me last fall to take back to Germany just shortly after she had made it. The picture below shows that it is almost gone! It is moist and full of flavour: Excellent!
The other special celebration before Christmas was at the home of Sylvi and Hans, German friends whom we have known here the longest. He and Hans worked at Log Branch HQ, Canadian Forces Europe, during the 1980s; we have been friends since about 1984. Both Sylvi and Hans spent a couple of days with me in Nova Scotia last summer.
Sylvi did all the decorating as well as all the baking for this occasion. Hans did the honours with drinks. Good food and good friends are perfect companions for a great day.
Sylvi had five cakes she had made that day (not all shown). She is a superb baker.
An hour or so after coffee and cake, two or three types of Schinken and platters of cheese were served along with various types of bread. Throughout, wine and beer were poured.
Our own celebration of Christmas was as always, as we believe Christmas means tradition. We might change a meal slightly, but we will pretty much stay with our traditional food. This year I decided not to make Coquilles St Jacques for Christmas Eve supper, something I have made every Christmas Eve since the mid 1960s. I thought a change would be nice. We didn't stray far, though, as we still had scallops. This time, though, Hans prepared them, not I.
He gently sauteed the scallops (huge ones) in butter until lightly browned but not overcooked (scallops should never be cooked long). He spooned a lemon, wine, tarragon sauce over them. The sauce was his own creation and I can still taste it! Along with fresh French baguette, it was superb.
We did have his traditional potato salad as well, along with first class German wieners, but they came after the scallops.
After our meal, it was time to light the wax candles on our Black Forest Christmas tree, listen to the beautiful Christmas music and open our few gifts.
Brownie, above right, arrived at the door two months later. He was a bit older but not by much. Both are sweet cats and, like all cats, are spoiled. They sleep and play together. We find it very sad and inhumane that anyone would just let pets go and not care about their well being.
Our Christmas dinner was also a bit of a change but still much as every year. Instead of a large, whole goose we had a large goose breast, one that was German bred. Hans watched a TV program this year showing that many Polish and Hungarian geese are treated inhumanely. Not to say, of course, that some farmer there doesn't treat them humanely, but most of the large farms/factories apparently do not according to the program Hans watched. So from now on, we shall buy only a German goose from a small farming producer.
We enjoyed a bottle of Cote du Rhone red wine with our dinner. A bit later, a bottle of Italian red that was also very nice. We had enough wine left in both bottles to go with our dinner on Boxing Day.
All our cats enjoyed the holiday with special food. Lily, below, is part Maine Coon and is our only Canadian cat, one Hans adopted in Nova Scotia. Lily loves small places, going into paper bags and sitting amongst the groceries as seen here.
Annabelle is our oldest at age 15. She is also the smallest. She was just 8 weeks old when she arrived with her mother and sister at our door here in Germany. She was a feral kitten and is still afraid of new people and unexpected loud noise. She is a loveable little cat.