Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Season: A Special Time

Although Christmas weekend is past, the Christmas season is still ongoing.  In the week prior to Chrismas Day, we made the rounds of our special Gasthäuser, those places where we are on personal terms with the Wirt and Wirtin and their family. At most of them, we've been "Stammgäste" for many years. The following are some of those Gasthäuser we visited during the last week before Christmas.

The Linde in Wallburg 
I go to the Linde for chicken nearly every week and have done so for years.  I have written about the Linde and their chicken several times.  Waltraud and her staff know exactly what I want and just say, "Wie immer, Janet?"  And I always do have the same:  deep fried chicken that is the best anywhere, pommes frites and her wonderful salad.  On special occasions, Hans goes with me as he did this time.  Waltraud and her husband Albrecht also host one of the best Oktoberfests in the area, one that is becoming more and more popular every year.
Above, the chicken I had that night and the little "Weihnachtmann" and angel violinist on the bar. 
We've been going to the Deutscher Hof in Biederbach for more than 20 years.  We had gotten to know Herr and Frau Burger very well during that time, as well as their daughter, Ruth Moser, who now runs the Gasthaus.  On Mondays, a group of us meet at the Stammtisch--the locals' table--where the conversation is never dull. 

Ruth is behind the bar in the above picture (and below); our group is around the Stammtisch--with Hans sitting just behind the lamp.
The church, shown on a snowy day, is across the road from the Deutscher Hof.
The Ferienwohnungen at the Deutscher Hof are wonderful, small modern apartments with all necessities and more:  one to two bedrooms; a kitchen fully outfitted with dishwasher, toaster, dishes and even an electric mixer; one to two bathrooms with showers and a living room with cable or satellite TV and a built-in china cabinet filled with wine glasses.  We have recommended their Gasthaus to many over the years and several of our Canadian friends have stayed there several times. 

Below, some pictures from our afternoon at the Bruckerhof
The first time I went to the Bruckerhof, just outside Reichenbach, was with friends in 1981, shortly after I arrived in Lahr to work at the Canadian Forces hospital.  On that evening I wondered where in earth we were going!  We drove along a narrow road and then through a farmer's yard.  The road was (and is still) wide enough for only one car with a few places where one could pull in so another could go by. 

Hans has known it from the early 1970s when he was posted to Lahr the first time.  (He was posted there again in 1980 and has been here since.)  He meets at the Bruckerhof weekly with a group of Canadian and German men, all of them either retired Canadian military or Germans who had worked for the Canadians. (The remains of the  " X OB's  Legion Germania," a group formed in the 1980s.)  We women are invited to join them a couple of times a year.  This was one of those times.  Bruckerhof means "Brucker farm."
Herr and Frau Brucker--the Wirt and Wirtin-- with their young son.  Herr Brucker took the Gasthaus over from his mother and father who live there still.  Senior Wirtin, Frau Brucker, also is still involved with the running of the Gasthaus. 

One of the most beautiful Gasthäuser we know is the Bauhöfer's Braustüb'l.  It is near Renchen in the small village of Ulm, about 40 minutes north of us.  It belongs to the Ulmer Brauerei.  Whenever we are in that area, we go to the Gasthaus and occasionally we make a special trip there, which was the case this time.  It is worth a visit if only to see the inside.  Their food is excellent as is their beer, of course.  So two more good reasons to visit it.  In summer they have a wonderful beer garden under the trees.  Usually I have their Buletten and potato salad as both are favourites of mine.  On this particular day, we didn't eat as we had other plans.  Hans did have a Pretzel, though, as they are also very good there.
Some views of the Gasthaus decorated for the Christmas season. 
 Two of many of their stained glass windows with Christmas decorations:

Those other plans I mentioned meant the Kleiner Meierhof in Ettenheimweiler. We've been frequenting this family Gasthaus for many years. Their children were very young--about 6 and 8 years old--at the beginning. The two would come to our table and wish us a "Guten Appetit!" Now both are in their 20s.
Erich works full time during the day and pours the beer and serves guests in the Gasthaus during the evening. Sylvia trained as a cook, so she is in the kitchen until everyone has been served, after which she'll often sit down with us to talk--as will Erich. In fact, they spend a lot of personal time with their guests at the Gasthaus.  Her green and mixed salads and her Wurstsalat are about the best in the area. They hold several special nights throughout the year, including wild boar, venison, a winter grill evening and a summer Bavarian night, the latter held outside and with a band.
Erich at the Stammtisch with guests

The last Gasthaus we visited before Christmas was the Engel in Dörlinbach on December 23rd.  That is over the mountain from us so we were very glad that the night and the roads were clear.  Martin Grimm runs the Gasthaus along with his wife Monika and brother, Ulrich.  Martin is a trained cook, but he says that he learned a lot beside his mother who helped in the kitchen until she became ill at age 80.  She and Martin's father ran the Gasthaus for many years, after which Martin took it over.  His grandparents and great grandparents ran it before that.  Monika helps prepare the food and does some cooking as well.  Uli runs the bar and does the serving.  He loves hockey and attends all the games in Freiburg--usually on a Friday night.  We go on the nights we know he will be there as we enjoy his sense of humour and, more importantly, Hans says he pours the best "Pils" in the area.
Martin is a great cook.  Everything served is of the best quality and full of flavour.  On this occasion we each had Rumpsteak.  It was perfectly cooked and superb.  We had along with it a Feldsalat (my favourite salad), onions and herb butter as well as Kroketten--as we always do--which they make from scratch and are different than any you will find elsewhere.  They are so good that I think I sometimes go there because I am craving them! 
Hans and Martin. 
Our steaks that night at right.  We took half home!  Uli and his freshly poured Pils for Hans.  A view to the second dining area with their electric icicle decorations above the open area. 


We put up our tree on the morning of December 23rd.  Hans had gotten it at our usual tree farm in the hills a couple of days before.  This was also 4th Advent Sunday and the day we lit the fourth candle.  All was now in readiness for the two big days to come as we also prepared a few things for our special meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Hans and I at the Bauhöfer's Braustüb'l at the Ulm Brauerei
We wish you all the best of the season and for 2013! 

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