markets

Our neighborhood market is growing!

Bill came home a little bit early yesterday so we could visit our weekly market, which started at the beginning of September. We decided to go down there and see what we could find. I was impressed by how much was being offered. The first market only had four vendors, if I recall correctly. This time, there were at least twice as many trucks with different foods on offer– meat, fish, produce, apple most and wines, ice cream, and an awesome Middle Eastern Feinkost with lots of treats from Turkey, Lebanon, and Italy. Of course, there was also wine on offer.

We decided to leave the dogs at home. Arran is ailing, and Noyzi gets too nervous around people he doesn’t know well. That was a good decision, since there were a lot of people at the market last night, and some folks brought their much better trained dogs with them. Besides, it’s hard to enjoy drinking wine when you’re holding two leashes.

Below are some photos from yesterday’s trip to the Dorfplatz. The market in Breckenheim runs from 1-6pm every Thursday.

When we got home, Arran and Noyzi were delighted to see us. I videoed their welcome. Arran seems to be feeling okay, most of the time. Today, he’s going to the vet for a biopsy, while Noyzi gets a much needed dental.

The boys welcome us home after an hour at the market.

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customs, markets

Breckenheim’s very first village market…

Yesterday, something happened that I’ve been eagerly anticipating for awhile. Our little village had its very first neighborhood market on the Dorfplatz. It was also the first day of September, which means that, right on cue, the weather started to change in earnest. I’ve lived in Germany for ten years of my life and it never fails. As of September 1, it immediately gets cooler in Germany, even if it was broiling hot the week prior. Usually, by the 15th, I consistently need to wear a jacket, and have put away the air conditioners until summer comes around again. In fact, just a few minutes ago, I pulled the air conditioning hose inside and closed the window in my office for the first time in weeks. It’s really cooling down outside. I hope that means we’ll soon get some rain.

Some people might not think the neighborhood market is a big deal. I mentioned it on social media, and two of my American friends posted that their towns in the United States are doing the “same” thing. With all due respect to my American friends, I don’t think it is quite the same. Remember, I spent a good 35 of my 50 years in the USA, and have lived in several states, so I’m in a position to know something about life there. I would be very surprised if I went to a market in, say, my home state of Virginia, and found someone selling fresh harissa, locally produced sausages, or unpasteurized cheeses, which are usually pretty hard to find in the US.

I would also be surprised if they were pouring local wines. In the States, there’s a big emphasis on alcohol laws. Anyone appearing to be under 21 will be carded. This isn’t to say there are no booze laws here, but the drinking age is lower, while the driving age is higher… and fewer people drive here, anyway. And drinking seems to be more of a normal part of society, just as smoking is. In our case, the market was just down the hill from our house, and all of the people at the market are literally our neighbors.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t wonderful markets in the United States. I just don’t think they’re quite the same there as they are here. The market that happens in Wiesbaden is totally different than the market we had last night, which was very small and felt more like a wine stand with a few vendors selling their wares. However, I have a feeling that once the market catches on, it will be bigger, and there will be more things to buy than what was available last night. As it was, there was a flower vendor, someone selling vegetables, and a Turkish Feinkost represented. And the wine kiosk was open, so they were selling wine, beer, Schorles, and other non-alcoholic beverages. It looked like they had the usual Brats and Brotchens, too. I had Noyzi and Arran with me, so I didn’t get very close to the action.

Maybe it sounds petty, but it kind of annoys me when people back home assume they know how it is here… and claim it’s the “same” as it is in the United States. As an American who has lived many years in America, I know it isn’t, really. But then, a lot of things in the USA are not the same as they are in Germany. For instance, it’s pretty hard to find some of my favorite American style comfort foods over here. I am fortunate enough to shop at the military commissary, order from Amazon.com, and have stuff come through APO (government mail for US citizens). I regularly buy high quality grits from a farm in South Carolina, which are vastly superior to the Quaker quick or instant grits “crapola” in the commissary. I wouldn’t be able to find grits at all in a German store. Instead, I’d find polenta, which is not really the same. It’s only somewhat similar. Grits are also NOT semolina (Cream of Wheat). They are made of ground up hominy, which is corn.

The boys were amused by the sights and sounds of our little market.

It’s been my experience that Europeans tend to be more community minded than most people in the United States are, but of course there are always exceptions. And I’ve found that Breckenheim is a lot more of a friendly community than either of the towns we lived in near Stuttgart. Maybe it’s because of the wine. Stuttgart does have wineries, but the emphasis in the southern part of Germany is more on beer. Up here near the Rhein, it’s wine country. Maybe it’s because Hesse is not Swabia. Seriously… there is a different mindset in the Swabian region of Germany. It’s not that the people aren’t nice. They are. It’s just that it seems to take longer to make friends down there. The mood is a bit more insular, especially in smaller towns. There’s a different dialect that even native Germans sometimes have trouble understanding. And people, on the whole, seem to be more reserved and formal than they are in Hesse. In that sense, Germany IS like the United States, because as we all know, there are many different cultures within the regions of the US, too.

Anyway, below are some photos from last night. I didn’t get as close as I would have liked to, because we brought the dogs with us. Noyzi still gets pretty freaked out by strangers, although I can tell his instinct is to be very friendly. He’s still overcoming traumas from his youth, though, and that takes time and experience. I was proud of him last night, even if he was a little spooked by everything. Overall, he behaved very well. Arran, of course, couldn’t care less. He’s getting pretty old and is now unimpressed by a lot of things that used to set him off. Next weekend, Breckenheim will host its first wine fest. That should be fun, especially since it will be easy to haul home purchases from the Dorfplatz. Last night also heralded the opening of Breckenheim’s public toilet! I know that was exciting, too. The men of the village have been all over setting it up for weeks now.

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markets

Lunch at Hofheim’s Die Scheuer, followed by a petite French Market!

Although there’s a lot going on in our area this weekend, and Bill and I have been wanting to visit other little towns near us, we decided to stay close to home. I knew there was going to be a little French market in Hofheim today, and that would be a good opportunity for Bill to get some of his favorite stinky cheeses. We also heard that there was going to be a huge climate change protest in Wiesbaden, along with a food truck festival.

The French market sounded like it was more our speed, but once we got there, it was a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be. When I saw how tiny it was, I suggested we look in the other usual areas of the city to see if there was anything else. All we saw was the tail end of the weekend market, getting ready to shut down. Lots of people were drinking Riesling at the Wine Chalet, too.

We decided to have some lunch, then hit the French market. Today, we finally managed to try Die Scheuer. Die Scheuer translates to “the barn” (even though Google says the word translates to “the scour”). We’ve been wanting to visit this cute little restaurant for some time, but we usually get there too late, as they shut down at 2:30pm. We noticed that they got a Michelin Red Plate. After today’s delicious lunch, we can see why.

Die Scheuer has a nice shady outdoor area, with huge sycamore trees. They had also put up several large umbrellas, which was a good thing, since it started to rain right after we ordered our food. We had to change tables, in spite of the the umbrellas and tree cover. Still, it was so nice to see the rain, as it’s been weeks since we last had a good spritz. The rain didn’t last long enough, but it did cool things off a little bit.

Bill and I both chose lunch dishes, which were reasonably priced and not too huge. I had breaded, baked chicken, with sweet potato fries, and a lemon cream dip. Bill had what was called a barbecue bowl, which had a minute steak garnished with beans, corn on the cob, onions, and spicy barbecue sauce. It all looked and tasted great, especially washed down with cold hefeweizens. Service was friendly and relaxed, but professional. My chicken was very moist and tasty… and kid friendly, as I noticed the boy at the next table having the same. I have a child’s palate.

I ventured into the restaurant to use the restroom and noticed how very charming it is on the inside. The tables were all beautifully set, with comfortable looking booths. We’ll have to come back for dinner sometime. Sitting inside or outside promises a pleasant experience, albeit not a particularly inexpensive one.

After we finished our lunch plates, we had dessert. Creme brulee for me, and an apricot dish for Bill. There was a time when he wouldn’t eat apricots because it was “bad luck” for “tankers” in the Army. I think he’s gotten over that superstition. I think Die Scheuer has a pretty devoted following in Hofheim. I can see why. It really is a nice restaurant. Our bill came to 73 euros, which Bill paid in cash, along with the “Trinkgeld” (tip).

After we ate lunch, we went to the French market. Bill bought some sausages, cheese, duck spread, and macaroons. I bought four bars of lovely French soaps. I wish the market had been a little bigger, but it was perfectly nice. After the wine festival in Wiesbaden, it was fun to do something low key.

I wish it had rained longer. I hope it will start again. We missed last night’s wine stand, in part, because it threatened to rain, but never did. The wine stand was also held in a different part of our village, and we didn’t feel like looking for it. Next week, we’ll get our very first market in the Dorfplatz, and then the following week, Breckenheim gets its own wine fest. So I don’t think we missed out too much. Besides, last time I went to a wine stand, I got COVID.

Below are today’s photos…

We enjoy visiting these little markets sometimes, and it’s been too long since our last leisurely lunch in a restaurant. Next month, we are headed back to Baiersbronn for five nights at the Bareiss Hotel. I’m sure there will be many more beautiful food pics then!

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markets

Wiesbaden Christmas Market 2021

My friend Priya, her husband Ron, and our new friend, Heather, came up to Wiesbaden from Stuttgart yesterday. They asked Bill and me to join them at the Wiesbaden Christmas Market. The markets down near Stuttgart have mostly been cancelled, due to rising COVID-19 infections, but there are many towns in other states that are having smaller versions of their markets. Priya and Ron have been making their way to a number of them.

I was glad they invited us to join them. I had been wanting to to go the market, but was having trouble with motivation. The weather hasn’t been nice lately, and the COVID rules can be onerous. But thanks to our friends from Stuttgart, we managed to have a great time. It was quite a shock to hang out with people again. We were all laughing about the erosion of social skills that has happened since March 2020.

After a few hours and too much wine and beer, we said our goodbyes. Priya, Ron, and Heather went on to visit the market in Mainz. Bill and I went home to feed the dogs.

For some reason, the connection on this site is excruciatingly slow today. I’ll have to keep the commentary to a minimum. I also can’t delete the photos, so there are a few that look like repeats. I’ll try to fix these glitches later.

A good time was had by all!

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