Good news for those of us lucky enough to live in the Mosel region or are coming for a holiday – there is always something wine related going on nearby, not to mention concerts, antique and flea markets, even motorboat racing.
Such events are a great
way to sample the regional food and wine whilst rubbing shoulders and supporting the local economy so please do try to visit at least one.
A full list of the upcoming festivals and other events can be found here. The website is in German but most of it is easy enough to follow, or there is always good old Google Translate.
People often ask me what typical Mosel dishes are, and it is a very hard question to answer. However, what does seem to pop up regularly on menus in the eateries along the river is the “Winzerteller” which literally translates to “Vintner’s plate”. It’s not unique to the region, as I know such things are popular in other states such as Bavaria (where it is called “Brotzeit”), but it is the perfect accompaniment to the local wine.
As you can see, it is basically just a wooden platter with a selection of meats and /or cheese. The meats usually include cured ham and sliced sausage – often homemade – such as black pudding (“Blutwurst”) and liver sausage “Leberwurst”).
The platter in the picture is from a restaurant in Zell (I will publish the name when I remember it!) and includes cured ham and sausage made from local wild boar (“Wildschwein”). It is one of my favourite meals.
I recently discovered that the supermarket chain Aldi does a range of chilled as opposed to frozen ready meals (“Fertiggerichte”) which you just bung in the microwave for a few minutes and hey presto, dinner is served.
I know these thing are nothing new – we Brits were the pioneers of TV dinners – but what sets them apart is that each day a number of different options is offered and the portions are enough even for a larger size bloke like me. For me, they are quick, convenient, filling but above all, usually typically German. Oh, and the price is really good too. The selection changes on a very regular basis. The picture shows gammon (“Kasseler”) and sausages which was very tasty indeed, although I did add the mustard myself! Other typical dishes include kale stew (“Gruenkohl”), roast pork or turkey as well as the more regular dishes such as pasta and Bratwurst.
I have not stayed in these apartments but they come highly recommended by a good friend, and judging by the website (link on my Useful Addresses page) they look very stylish and comfortable indeed. Sadly the website is only in German but the young owners do speak several languages including German, Italian and English.
I have tried their Italian restaurant and the food was extremely good, being cooked by Giovanni, a native Italian, himself. Booking is advised as it can get quite busy.
One thing that struck me when I first came to Germany was that it is not exactly a safe haven for vegetarians. Pork features in so many dishes including the humble fried potato, and non-meat eaters are not exactly spoiled for choice as menus rarely offer anything which does not comprise a huge slab of animal fried in fat from another. So I had to laugh when I read this article in The Local – given what is illustrated in that, I am now really grateful I am a meat eater!
Here is another intriguing recipe using Riesling (or any other) wine, and despite it being called “festive” there is no reason why it cannot be enjoyed at any time.
Being a useless cook myself, I have to admit that I have not attempted to make this one yet, but if anyone does I would love to hear if it was a success!
You will need:
- 750 ml Riesling or other white wine
- 5 eggs, separated
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 sachet vanilla sugar
- 50 grams ground almonds
- Cinnamon and sugar to finish
Briskly beat the wine with the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar and starch over a gentle heat until thickened – do not overheat as it will scramble! Beat the egg white until stiff and fold in the almonds.
Pour the egg yolk mixture into a greased baking dish and top with the egg white mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200 ° C. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
(Adapted from the recipe the German imosel website which can be found here).
Christmas – or “Weihnachts” in German – is fast approaching and that means the famous German Christmas Markets are now well underway. For those of us living in or visiting the Mosel, the unique combination of the magical market atmosphere coupled with picturesque surroundings really is unbeatable.
So put on your woolly scarves and gloves and indulge in a glass or two of the ubiquitous “Glühwein” (warm mulled wine) or “Eierlikor” (eggnog) as you browse a multitude of stalls selling crafts, trinkets, sweets and a whole host of other traditional (an not so traditional) Christmas goods.
Most towns big and small have at least one market, some lasting just for a few days and others for much longer, and you can find a selection of those that take place in and around the valley here, or for a little further afield but still close enough for a day trip click here.
Christmas is rapidly approaching now and those of us living in Germany will no doubt have already had the pleasure of sampling the famous “Glühwein” at one of the multitude of Christmas Markets that start in late November and go on right up until Christmas Eve or even into the New Year.
Traditionally, Glühwein is made from red wine, but of course, Mosel wine is predominantly white. It would be a bit of an insult to the local wine producers not to attempt to make some using the local plonk, so I reproduce here a recipe I found on the German cooking website http://www.kochbar.de/. It is the best translation from German to English I could manage, but I think it is reasonably accurate.
Weißer Glühwein (Mulled White Wine)
- 600 ml dry white wine
- 150 ml Vodka
- One orange
- Five cloves
- Two cinnamon sticks
- Half teaspoon cardamom seeds
- Three tablespoons of honey
- Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- Lemon slices, to serve.
Slice the orange and throw into a saucepan along with all the other ingredients. Cover and heat gently but do not boil for at least ten minutes (if you boil it you will evaporate off the alcohol and we don’t want that now do we?). Taste and add more honey if necessary. Serve hot in heat-resistant glasses garnished with a light sprinkling of cinnamon, one clove and a slice of lemon.
Please note this is just one variation on a theme – the aforementioned website has numerous other recipes for mulled white wine, so feel free to experiment to come up different spice and citrus combinations to make your own personalised Christmas drink!
It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that the British Cheese Emporium has recently closed down for good. It is a tremendous and sad loss as they used to sell incredible cheeses and other goodies which are impossible to find elsewhere in Germany.
I want to thank the owner, Sally, for the great service she provided in the past and I wish her well in her future endeavours.
Ice cream as we all know comes in a dazzling array of flavours ranging from the traditional through the exotic to the downright weird. However, on a trip to Cochem I tried ice cream – made from local wine.
Initially I expected it to be just wine flavoured ice cream, but the first lick proved it indeed was made from the real thing and four scoops later I honestly could feel the effects! Maybe that was just a placebo effect, as surely ice cream cannot be alcoholic?
Anyway, all I can say is if you have a sweet tooth and love refreshing ice cream as opposed to the rich creamy varieties, get yourself over to Cochem and give it a try. Unfortunately I did not get the name of the particular parlour where I had it, but it was right in the historic centre and I saw other places selling it. You can probably get it in other towns along the river too, although I have struggled to find it in Zell.