Zeller Lange Tafel (Zell Long Table)

On Saturday 20th July from 11am, the 2018 Zell Long Table (”Zeller Lange Tafel”) kicks off.

As the name suggests, a 400 metre long table runs the entire length of Balduinstraße (which is the main shopping street of the town) at which local cafes, bars, restaurants and even shops serve up various food specialities and of course copious amounts of local wine.

A host of events take place throughout the day. Of course, most will be in German, but the people are friendly and the atmosphere is great. The programme is as follows:

11am – Official opening.

12am – Tour for children followed by spaghetti making and painting competition. Meeting point is the Schwartze Katz fountain. Ends at around 2pm.

5pm & 7pm – Performances of the play ”Zeller Schwarze Katz” by the laymen of the town hall. The play (in German but still entertaining) tells the story of how the town’s wine was named.

10pm – Lantern walk and cellar tour of the Zeller Kelterhaus. Meeting point at the Schwartze Katz fountain.

There will also be live and disco music.

Trading German Beer for English Tea & Bacon

I suspect many of you who drive to Germany for holidays or whatever are guilty of this. My best mate and his three sons came to visit from England and they brought over several month’s supply Tetley tea bags, English bacon and Cheddar cheese.

As you can see, rather than taking the truck back empty they took advantage of the cheap booze here. No Riesling made it onto the truck – we polished the whole lot off at the weekend…

Ostrich Farm & Carmelite Church

I bet few of you realise that there is actually an ostrich farm in the countryside near Bengel, which is on the road from Alf to Wittlich.

Owned by the juggler and comedian Christoph Engels, “Straußenfarm Zur Klostermühle” is set amongst historic mill and farm buildings surrounded by meadows. There is a very pleasant cafe and beer garden overlooking those meadows so you can have a cup of coffee and a slice of cake or an ostrich bratwurst whilst the kids let off steam outside.

Of course, the highlight of the place is the ostriches which are bred on site. When we visited, we saw plenty of all sizes and trust me, some of them are HUGE! Just don’t tell the children that they end up on the dinner table though. On that subject, the meat and a few other products are available to buy on-site.

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The farm is open until the end of September on weekends only from 1 pm. Ostrich tours (unfortunately I am not sure if they are available in English) are available from 2pm or by appointment. The cafe is closed on 4th and 11th of August due to special events. There is a Mill Festival taking place on 9th September 2018.

Sadly the website is only available in German, but is available here if you want to take a look anyway.

Whilst you are there, on the opposite side of the road to the farm in Springiersbach is a stunning baroque Carmelite church attached to a monastery. This is definitely worth a visit as it has an incredibly ornate interior akin to the baroque churches in Bavaria and other parts of Europe.

There are regular concerts and other events held here, details of which (in German) can be found here. If you are interested in the history of the church and monastery, there is a potted version of it here.

Ketchup and Mayonnaise

One thing which always seems to shock people when they come to Germany is having to pay for ketchup and mayonnaise to go with their fries. I know it sounds like a simple thing, but it rankles so many.

How many of you have had a meal at a well-known burger chain and sat down only to find that no condiments on the tray? I bet you then had a gut-wrenching feeling as you are asked to pay for every sachet when you return to the counter to get some ketchup to go with your fries? Worse still, you purchased the meal from a drive-through and ended up eating dry fries?

I have lived in several countries over the years, but Germany has been the only one that does this. To me, it is a huge culture shock. For heaven’s sake, even in Lebanon you can help yourself to ketchup or barbecue sauce from pump action dispensers! And it is not only the fast food chains that are charging for a dollop of ketchup or a splodge of mayo – I have even had to pay extra in some of the more upmarket places.

So, if you like a lot of sauce with your fries, be prepared to pay a bit extra to actually get it.

Knight’s Meal at Reichsburg, Cochem

The impressive Reichsburg medieval fortress in Cochem has several activities over the year, one of the most popular being the Knight’s Meal.

As the name suggests, you are served medieval style food by people in costume from the period, and the entertainment also harks from that era. Of course, meat features on the menu, but vegetarians are not forgotten as a meatless version of the meal is available.

The event takes place several times a month and most are in German with English translation sheets provided. They do hold a limited number in English, the next being on Saturday 1st September 2018 and one on Friday 21st September 2018.

The meal lasts around four hours and costs €49 for adults and €24.50 for children aged 6 to 17 years. Be prepared to share a table with others – not only is that very medieval, but it is also common in parts of Germany and does make for a very social experience.

Reservation is essential as the event sells out quickly. Full details including a menu, availability chart and booking form are available here.

 

Small Vinter’s Breakfast (Kleines Winzerfrühstück)

This is a recipe I found on the German Mosel.de website. I am not sure what makes it different from a “Bauernfrühstück” (Farmer’s Breakfast), but it’s really tasty all the same. The streaky bacon (“Speck”) referred can be bought ready cubed or in a single piece. It is usually very fatty, very smoky but also very tasty. It may be more familiar to some by the French word “Lardons”.

Ingredients (German names of the ingredients are also shown):

  • 1 kg potatoes (“Kartoffeln”)
  • 125 g streaky bacon (“Speck”)
  • 2 peeled onions (“Zwiebeln”)
  • 3 fresh eggs (“Eier”)
  • 3 tablespoons milk (“Milch”)
  • Salt (“Salz”)
  • Freshly ground pepper (“Pfeffer”)
  • 1 bunch chives (“Schnittlauch”)
  • 1 Tomato (“Tomate”)

Preparation:

Peel and cook the potatoes, leave to cool and then cut into cubes. Dice the bacon and the onions and sauté in a pan until translucent. Add the potato and fry until golden. Whisk the egg with the milk and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes, bacon and onion mixture. Cook over a low heat, occasionally loosening the edges with a knife or spatula so that the egg evenly disperses. Once the eggs are set to your liking, service garnished with chives and tomato slices.

TV Dinners Aldi Style

I recently discovered that the budget supermarket chain Aldi does a range of chilled as opposed to frozen ready meals (“Fertiggerichte”). You just bung them in the microwave for a few minutes and hey presto, dinner is served.

I know this is not a new idea – we Brits were the pioneers of TV dinners. What sets these apart is that each day a number of different options are offered. The portions are enough even for a larger size bloke like me, and they are quick, convenient, filling and above all, typically German. Oh, and the price is really good too.

The selection of meals offered changes on a very regular basis. The picture shows gammon (“Kasseler”) and sausages which were very tasty indeed, although I did add the mustard myself! Other typical dishes include kale stew (“Grünkohl”), roast pork or turkey as well as the more regular dishes such as pasta and Bratwurst.

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