holidays

Mr. Bill and I celebrate 20 years of marriage… Part three

Arran’s medications make him hungry. They also make him need to go potty more often than usual. Consequently, on all three nights of our stay, Bill got up in the wee hours of the morning to take him and Noyzi out for walks. Then, he’d come back to bed, and try to go back to sleep. The apartment where we stayed was easy to keep dark, so on Thursday, we slept until 8:00 AM. We almost never do that anymore!

Our morning habit, whenever we visit France, is to get baked goodies from the patisseries. I am a big fan of FRENCH croissants– and yes, they are different to me than the ones we can get in Germany. Kugelhopfs are also very popular and prevalent in Alsace, as well as in parts of Germany and Austria. Personally, I can take or leave the Kugelhopfs, although I will admit to thinking they look very pretty. They usually include raisins and almonds, though, and I generally prefer my baked goods without fruit and nuts. One can also score delightful Pain au chocolat– flaky pastries filled with semi sweet chocolate– which are very decadent. I love chocolate, but again, the one must do French breakfast treat for me is the lowly croissant.

Bill went to one of the nearby patisseries and brought back the usual, then scrambled some eggs. We bought some clementine juice, ham, and cheese, at the local Carrefour grocery store, located very conveniently about a five minute walk from our gite. Once again, I was marveling at how flaky and delicious the croissants were, and kind of wishing we had more of them. But the last thing I need is a plentiful supply of baked goods!

After breakfast, we all took a walk around Ribeauville. It’s a very pretty little village, not unlike other pretty villages in Alsace. Riquewihr, which is only two miles from Ribeauville, is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. However, I prefer Ribeauville, because it feels more lived in to me. It’s obvious there are a lot of locals in Ribeauville, even though it’s a tourist destination. Riquewihr feels a little more touristy to me, and it has a lot more tourist oriented businesses. For that reason, I like to stay in Ribeauville, and visit Riquewihr and some of the other, more famous towns, like Kaysersberg, which is where Anthony Bourdain, sadly, took his life in June 2018. Of course, I also like Ribeauville, because we know Yannick, and he’s very cool with our dogs.

I took lots of pictures of the town, as usual, because even though we’ve been to Ribeauville so many times, it’s always a pretty town. We usually go there in the winter, rather than the fall. We’ve only managed one visit in the late spring, when everything is open, but crowded. Once the dogs were sufficiently exercised, we took them back to the gite and went looking for lunch.

As I mentioned before, only a few restaurants were open during our visit. The ones that were open had plenty of business. We were wanting to go to a little lunch spot that was once called Chez Martine, but now has new owners and a different name. Schaal’É Sucré offers a menu that is very similar to that of what Chez Martine used to have, only now it’s open later and is run by men instead of women. On Thursday, it was clear that it was every bit as popular as its predecessor was, as the dining room was completely full when we stuck our heads in, looking for a bite.

We ended up eating at Caveau de L’Ami Fritz, a restaurant that is affiliated with the hotel of the same name. We have eaten at L’Ami Fritz before, and I remembered that the dining room is in a very charming “cave”. I also remembered liking what I had there the first time we tried it. The dining room was full of people when we arrived, but everyone looked very happy. Bill and I sat down and enjoyed some local specialties.

I had Quiche Lorraine, while Bill went for pork and Baeckaoffa, basically cheesy potato casserole made with Munster. The quiche was delicious, although it was made with a slightly “musty” cheese. I am very particular about cheese, and this one just bordered on “offensive” to me. Still, I managed to eat the whole thing, anyway.

We also enjoyed a local Riesling. Bill had asked for a 28 euro bottle, but when we got the bill, it turned out they had given us a 55 euro selection. Oh well. I suppose he could have complained, but we enjoyed the wine and we could afford it. And of course, we had dessert, too… Chocolate mousse for me, and a myrtle tart for Bill. He had leftovers from the Baeckaoffa, so we had that packed up and brought it to the apartment. I probably should have done the same with the mousse. It was a very generous portion.

By the time we were finished with lunch, it was early afternoon and a bit drizzly. I decided to have a rest and try to read more of my latest book. Naturally, that led to a two hour nap. 😉

Our lunch was so filling that we ended up staying in for the night, eating a light snack at dinner time and, of course, enjoying more wine. It’s a lovely thing to go to France to recharge! I liked the French weather lady’s dress, too. I also notice the fine for not cleaning up after your dog has gone up a bit.

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Wonderful day for wine tasting near Weil der Stadt…

Yesterday, as Bill and I were making our way to the Wolf and Bear Park, I wondered aloud about the annual wine tasting and market near Weil der Stadt.  Last year, my German friend Susanne told me about this annual event in which six vintners from near Riquewihr journey to Weil der Stadt to sell their wines to Germans.  Bill and I went on Saturday, April 1, 2017 and enjoyed a couple of hours tasting wines.  It culminated in us bringing home lots of French wines and having our pictures taken by a photographer who worked for the local paper.

Last night, as I was enjoying yet another viewing of The Breakfast Club (set on March 24, 1984, don’tcha know?), I got a private message from another German friend… Gerhard!  He sent me a link to a Facebook post about the event and although Bill and I were tentatively planning to visit an Easter market, we decided we’d rather stock up on wine.  So we went to the wine tasting today, which is going on from 11:00am until 5:00pm.  Like last year, it’s held in the Festhalle in Merklingen, which is very close to Weil der Stadt.  And… I noticed that just about everyone who was selling wine last year was there this year, too…

Bill and I tried wines from all six vintners and came home with bottles from all of them, although a couple of vintners got more of our business than the others did.  We did have a surreal moment as we were tasting wines.  I happened to look down and saw an article about last year… and sure enough, there was a picture of Bill and me.  And I was wearing the very same shirt today as I was wearing last year.  I almost wore a sweater this year, but it was so warm that I changed at the last minute.  Next year, if we’re still here, I will have to make a point of wearing red.

Last year, we were smart enough to eat before we shopped.  I should mention that they do serve food at this particular “fest”, but we were too focused on tasting and buying wines to eat.  However, I did notice that this year, a lot of people were eating the food provided by a local restaurant.  It seemed like a lot of seniors had come to try some wine, maybe not so much to buy a bottle.  Although I know some Americans know about this festival, I didn’t notice this year or last that a lot showed up.  I think maybe that was why last year, we made the paper!  No one talked to us this year… which is just as well, since I cringe at the sight of myself so happy in a German paper.

Here are a few pictures from today’s festivities.  I’m so happy to see the weather improving.  We’re now entering the time of year when weekend activities will become the norm!

 This is an annual event, so if you missed it this year, you can catch it next year…

 

Pay 2 euros Pfand at the door, get your wine glass, and start tasting wines to your heart’s content.  If you find one you really like and want a full glass, you can purchase one.  Or you can buy a bottle or a case…  This year, we left with 23 bottles… same as last year.  Turn in your wine glass as you leave and you’ll get your Pfand back.

Bill checks out the wines.  I remember this stand in particular was the last one we hit last year.  This year, it was our second stop.  And the lady who helped us spoke English, so we purchased six bottles of wine.  It was good wine anyway, though.

Lots of people enjoying lunch.

Bill very carefully tasting wine.

 

I said something naughty to get him to make this face.

It was at this table that I noticed…

As I sipped cremant…

That there was a picture of Bill and me on this guy’s table.  It was a bit surreal.  And I was wearing the same top, one that I don’t wear much this year but decided to wear at the last minute.  I definitely won’t wear blue next year.

The guy on the right noticed I was taking pictures.  

I tried to be non chalant.

At this writing, this particular festival is going to be over in less than two hours.  Apologies for not attending yesterday.  On Saturdays, they have live music and run until midnight.  On Sunday, they close at 5:00pm.

If you like Alsatian wine, I highly recommend marking your calendar.  They’ll be back next year at about the same time.  Or… you could just visit lovely Alsace and do a wine run, which is probably more fun, albeit more expensive!

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