Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Celebrations During the Christmas Season

Christmas is now past and New Year's is about to begin.  Here in southwestern Germany the sun is shining today and it is green outside.  No snow for Christmas and none now, although the hills were covered in white and the ski areas received lots.  Tonight the bells will be ringing at midnight across the country and the fireworks will be seen and heard everywhere.  But that is yet to come.

We ordered Dresden's renowned Stollen, which can be compared to fruit cake.  The box pictured above had the Stollen inside.  It was so festive looking I hated to unwrap it.  We did, though, and enjoyed it very much.

During the Advent season we visited all our usual Gasthäuser to wish them a Frohe Weihnachten.  We didn't get to many others as we both ended up with colds before Christmas and over Christmas week.  We are now back to good health.  The following pictures tell the story of our Christmas season:  where we went, what we ate and what we had at home.

Our earliest Christmas celebration was on Friday, 29 November, 1st Advent weekend.  We had decided not to have our traditional Christmas party at home this year.  Hans then thought that he would ask the Wirt and Chef at the Gasthaus Bruckerhof if he would prepare a Beef Wellington for the group.  He replied, "no problem!"  Hans talked with the men (the remainder of the Xth OB Legion Germania) that he meets with each week and they all thought this was a great idea.  So Hans and the Wirt put their heads together to come up with the menu, along with some input from the other men (and me).  The wine was also decided upon. 

It has been traditional for the women to meet with the men at their Gasthaus before Christmas.  The group of us below.
The Bruckerhof
Flowers for the Wirtin, Frau Brucker, who is standing beside Hans.  (Ulrike Starr is in gold.)  On the right, Hans thanking the Chef following the meal before Herr Brucker headed outside.  He had 80 guests coming that evening.

Now for the food:  the Beef Wellington brought in for viewing before being sliced and served.
Plenty of wine flowed.  Two of the bottles below.
To start:  Feldsalat

The meal with a truffel on top of the beef at right.

In May of this year we had Beef Wellington at home. It had been in the freezer, with enough for a meal.  It was excellent.  With it, we had a 1997 Chateau Haut Carmail Haut-Medoc red from Bordeaux.

The "Wellington" at home

Our meal and wine

Our next celebraton was with the German veterans, also a party we attend every year.  It was in the hills at a Gasthaus south of us and east of the university city of Freiburg.

A few of the guests with Adolf Zanger, the MC, standing on the left and standing on the other side of the table, Heinz Duchardt, both of them friends of ours.

The meal that Hans had was Ochsenbrust with Meerrettich sauce.  He said it was excellent.
That is the boiled breast of an ox and is a specialty in our part of Germany.  Horseradish, a specialty as well, is grown in a small town near Offenburg, just north of Lahr.  From that, the Meerrettich sauce is made.

We go to the Deutscher Hof every second Monday to meet at the Stammtisch with the group below and, of course, we always go before Christmas. Ruth, the Wirtin, always has Pretzeln and Brötchen on the table.  I have Weissherbst wine and Hans, a Pils or two.

On December 17th we both went to the Linde in Wallburg for chicken.  Usually I go alone as it is my special place.  Hans comes every so often as he isn't the chicken lover that I am.  Here is where I think, watch, listen and enjoy every mouthful of chicken, French fries and her great salad.  It is also where I decided that I would write a blog back in 2009. The Linde was a much visited Gasthaus by Canadians when they were still here with the military.

 Hans buys his beer kegs at the Löwenbräu brewery in Elzach.  We always go in December.  This year, we went on the 20th.  On the right, beer wrapped for gift giving.

The plants were all on the counter of the brewery store.

On that same day, on the way home, we stopped at the farm where we always get our Christmas tree.  This had been our plan.  Inside the hut a pot-belly wood-burning stove was blazing away.

On the right, the Schnaps bottles ready to be tried.  I had a liqueur and Hans, a Schnaps, all on the house.  Perhaps he had two. (He just said that he did!)
The Christmas Tree Hut

The lady of the farm!

On 2nd Advent Sunday, we had a pork dinner with Truffel sauce at home.  Shown at left.

  On 1 December, we had spaghetti Bolognese. Hans makes a wonderful sauce.  He always adds plenty of red wine to it and lots of Italian seasoning. He was given the recipe by Mama's Spaghetti Restaurant on Yonge Street, Toronto in the mid seventies. With it we had, of course, a good Chianti.

In the early afternoon of the 24th, we visited our last Gasthaus. the Kleiner Meierhof.  This is where we go frequently as we not only know Erich and Sylvia well (the Wirt and Wirtin), but we know almost everyone at the Stammtisch.  That is where we sat that day, although I don't have a picture of it.  We were there for about an hour only as supper was coming up at home.  This is the tree in the Gasthaus.
We began our Christmas Eve supper at around 7 p.m.  As always, it was Coquilles St Jacques, Hans' Kartoffelsalat and crisp German wieners, the best to be found--and they were. 
The Coquille St Jacques
 The potato salad
 Potato salad with a Wiener
 The table with glasses of sekt.  Champagne goes perfectly with the Coquilles and with the potato salad as well.
 The tree with candles alight
Christmas Day was mild.  We were at home.  It was a big dinner with a larger-than-usual goose. (5.6 Kg)


A corner of our living room with some of the Christmas cards we received this year.
As I am about ready to send this out into the world, it is New Year's morning.  I hope you all had a great New Year's Eve!  I shall be writing about ours.
Happy New Year Everyone!


  1. Happy Saturday Janet and Hans! Enjoyed getting caught up on your past blogs this aft. Would Hans be willing to share his recipe for the spaghetti Bolognese. Cheers, Dwain

    1. Dwain, I didn't see your comment until a year later! Not sure why. I may have given his recipe on my blog and if not, I shall give it there. Remind me please. I must check back in my blog to see if I wrote about it before now. I shall also check for comments more often!