Sunday, February 5, 2017

Autumn Days in Germany with Friends

Fall colours in our backyard in early November

I returned from Nova Scotia in early September.  One week later our friends Jean, John and Leona arrived from Canada, the beginning of many outings, dinners and Fests, as several other friends followed them into late fall.  The three stayed at a great Ferienwohnung that Hans managed to find for them on the outskirts of Münchweier It was a mini apartment with all amenities.  Even better, it was a pleasant walk to the Gasthaus Rebstock where many a time they stopped by to quench their thirst or to have a bite to eat--as did we.

Gasthaus Rebstock Münchweier
One of the highlights during their visit was a Schnaps tasting, as the owners of their apartment also owned a Brennerei or distillery, one that has been in the same family for many years and is now run by the daughter of that family.  We, of course, joined them. 

In years gone by the distillery rights of farmers in the Schwarzwald were always passed to the oldest son-- or daughter if there were no sons.  This tradition, however, is no longer adhered to. A farmer who now has the distillery right may even sell it, but the fruit used for making the Schnaps still has to come primarily from the trees of that farmer's land.  Most Schnaps in southern Germany are made from cherries, pears, plums and apples.


The hand carving below is almost as high as the roof shown above it.  It is at the entrance of the Brennerei.
We were given a tour and a tasting (no cost) and time to decide just what we would like to buy.  Both liqueurs and Schnaps were available.  I tasted a peach liqueur and it had a lovely flavour.

 Jean and Leona looking things over

The tasting glasses were on the table for everyone to help themselves 
Jean ready to head back 

Below, Leona reading the list of Schnaps and Liqueurs available 
and Hans at the table with the decorated room partly shown.  They all managed to buy a bottle or so to take back home--as did we. 

Wending our way back up the hill to the Ferienwohnung before then heading back down to the Rebstock in the town below.

We, of course, entertained at home with one of Jean's favourite meals in Germany:  Wurst and cheese.  All of them love a Vesper, which happens to be Hans' favourite meal.

Various types of Wurst
A glass of Schnaps is nearly always served with a Vesper.  Note the bottle on the table.  Red wine is in the other glasses except for John and Hans' beer glasses.

We also served a variety of cheese which Hans bought in France at a supermarket in Rhinau, a half hour from us.  The gang enjoyed it all.  

Jean's face showed her reaction to the high alcohol content of the Schnaps, which can be as high as 52 percent.

On a Monday afternoon we drove to Biederbach to the Deutscher Hof (shown below), a Gasthaus we go to every second week and sit at the Stammtisch with a group of German friends.  
The subject of Schnaps came up (often does!).   Landolin and Barbara knew where there was a farmer who made his own Schnaps and said they would lead us there through the woods and hills, along narrow roads, to that farm.  Hans had had a bottle from that farmer previously, said it was excellent, but had never been there himself.  So, following Landolin and Barbara, off Jean, John, Leona, Hans and I went.

Sitting outside the farmer's house at his picnic table on a beautiful fall day.  Landolin and Barbara are in front, backs to us.  Jean, John and Hans facing them.
The friendly farmer and Brenner brought out his various types of Schnaps and, of course, offered samples to everyone and as much as we wished, all at no cost.  No one, however, went overboard!  I am not a Schnaps drinker but I did enjoy watching the ceremony and the amazement of our Canadian friends, as that would never happen in most of Canada--at least as far as we know.

This was our view

Hans talking to Barbara and Landolin.  They live in a town not far from there but on the other side of the mountain from us and from the Deutscher Hof.

The Brenner and farmer giving us some information.

John and Leona bought a bottle to take home to Canada.  Hans bought a bottle as well and will again.  It is not an easy place to find, tucked into the hills and along a country road.

One of the highlights for John on his visit to Germany was the pair of Trachten trousers and shirt that Hans presented him with.  John has German roots so he was thrilled.

The "boys" in Trachten.  They are in shadow, but it is the clothing here that is important.  This is at the Rebstock in Münchweier.

As it happened while the three were here, the "blessing of the horses" took place on a Sunday in Ettenheimmünster, as it does every year.  After the church service, the priest and congregation parade through the town with horses following.  Eventually, everyone ends at the Fest where food, wine, beer and soft drinks can be had. 

Below, horses and riders having a relaxing ride before the ceremony began.  This was just down from our house and just before heading down the hill myself.  The "gang" had already walked down.

The procession leaving the church after the service. We all then walked across the street to the Fest area for lunch and some liquid refreshment.

Enjoying the food and drink after the church service and parade.  Hans' arm is in the forefront, so we had a good seat.  It became busy shortly thereafter.

A few days after John and Leona returned to Canada, Chris, who presently lives in Holland, joined Jean, staying at the same Ferienwohnung.  

A few days later, Nancy and Jim arrived from Nova Scotia for their first visit back to Germany in 36 years.  Hans had found a wonderful apartment for them in the centre of Münchweier, the same town in which they had lived for a year in 1970.  Jim had been posted to Canadian Forces Base Lahr at that time.  It certainly meant that they had a lot of catching up to do! 

All were lucky to have been here during festival time.  The following Sunday, another Fest, this time in Münchweier.  It meant that all our Canadian friends enjoyed some of the fall festivities.

We sat inside to eat and to enjoy the band music.  Here is a view of the room.  This is used for the Fest each year but also for soccer fans as there is a soccer field close by.

Some great Fest music

Below, the group of us outside at a picnic table after the band finished playing. From left side front:  Jean from N.S., me and then Hans; Gilbert, our friend from the Alsace, France; Nancy next with Jim opposite, our friends from Nova Scotia; then our 92-year-old friend Adolf who lives in Münchweier and is now the oldest resident in town; then Paula, from the Alsace, and next to her, on the near right, Chris, down from Holland.

 Another view:  Hans, Nancy, Jim, Adolf, Gilbert, Paula
We spent a great evening in Ichenheim at the Gasthaus Schwanen with our friends Jeanne and Ned from Chester, Nova Scotia, who were in the area for three days.  We, they and our friends here, Hans and Sylvi, had a wonderful dinner.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures that night.  (Here is a picture of Ned and Jeanne from a visit in N.S. a year or two ago.  On that occasion, it was a spaghetti noon dinner, compliments of Hans who left enough sauce in the freezer for me to use.) 

Two popular items on the menu at the Schwanen:  omelet and a pork dish with pineapple and cheese melted over it all, accompanied by their own croquettes.  Along with a salad it is a wonderful meal.  It is my very favourite and the owner's wife remembered that even after four or five years.  I always ordered it!  This was our first time back since then.  It is at a distance from us so we rarely go out that way now at night.

The omelet is enough for two people! It is filled with ham, potatoes and mushrooms.  One of our friends often has it; I never have, mainly because I could never eat even half of it!


The pinapple pork dish looks a bit untidy, but it is superb!  All that cheese and hollandaise sauce and such a wonderful flavour.  (The croquettes are served from a side dish, so always lots of them.)
The last friends to arrive, Ingrid, from B.C., and her sister Rita, who lives in Cologne, Germany, we saw for only one evening.  We had dinner at the lovely Gasthaus Krone in Freiamt. Unfortunately I have no pictures from that evening.  But here is one from their visit two years ago.

Rita on the left; Ingrid on the right

Fall to us means Zwiebelkuchen and neuer Wein.  We did get to another favourite market to enjoy both. 

Enjoying the new wine on a sunny fall day


The onion tart we took home to eat later.  It was excellent.


On another occasion at home, we had the Zwiebelkuchen below along with the new wine.  This neuerwein had fermented longer than the one above, which was very new.

As I write, it is early February.  The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day.  We did have some very cold weather for about 25 days in January, unusual for us here in southwestern Germany.

The first picture I took was from inside our living room; the second one from the patio.  These were on two different days. 

These icicles were the first we have had in years. Water dripped down onto our rosemary plant, an herb we use year round.  It is now very large and needs cutting.  The icicles attached themselves to a pot that had formerly had flowers in it and froze there. 

Same direction as the horses heading down the hill, but now it is winter.  The snow, however, is gone.
Spring is just around the corner.  Here in Germany Fastnacht is in full swing, those noisy and fun-filled days caught between Christmas and Easter.  The first parade in our area was on 14 January; the last one will be the day before Lent begins.  Thus far, we have not attended any of them but might take a parade in before the quiet time of Lent arrives.

Enjoy your winter carnivals along with a glass of wine or a beer or another favourite refreshment.  


No comments:

Post a Comment