coronavirus, German culture, Germany, holidays, staying home, Wiesbaden

Happy 2022!!!

We had a rather quiet New Year’s Eve, with fondue, Riesling, and the news of Betty White’s passing just 18 days before she would have turned 100. Last night was almost like most nights, save for the five minutes of fireworks. I may be exaggerating a tiny bit, but only a TINY bit…

Officially, fireworks were banned for New Year’s Eve, because officials wanted to cut down on people injuring themselves and flooding the hospitals. As you probably know, COVID-19 is still a big problem and the hospitals are overwhelmed. I’m surprised in light of that, officials haven’t banned driving on the Autobahn, which I would imagine is potentially just as dangerous as lighting a bottle rocket. In any case, I knew there would be a few fireworks, because someone always has them. And there were a few fireworks, but it was really not a normal Silvester by German standards.

Last night was our tenth German New Year’s Eve. It will go down in history as the quietest one yet. The loudest and wildest one we ever experienced was in 2007. I could have sworn there was a war going on outside of our house in Pfäffingen. The night sky was literally alight with fireworks, and I could see our neighbors furiously setting off things that went crash and boom. Our late beagle, MacGregor, was absolutely terrified, poor thing!

Noyzi seemed a little perturbed by the noise and both dogs were curious, but they weren’t really scared. Our neighbors were in the street wishing Happy New Year to everyone… It was overall a pleasant evening. Below are some photos from our first try with the new fondue/raclette grill. It was a success! We really had fun making fondue. It was easy, festive, and even a little romantic! I should have bought this machine a long time ago.

Right at the stroke of midnight…
This is a pretty good representation of our fireworks display… It went on for a few minutes.

One other thing I would like to mention… My German friend tells me that the cookies our landlord brought us– yesterday’s featured photo and reposted below, actually have some local significance. The little macaroon behind the 2021 is a Bethmännchen pastry, which is a Frankfurt tradition at Christmas that has been around since 1838. The cookies are made with made from marzipan with almond, powdered sugar, rosewater, flour and egg. The recipe has not changed in the entire time this cookie has existed!

What a thoughtful gift!

2022 is already off to a good start. Bill made delicious cheese soufflés for breakfast!

I actually taught him to make these because we had them on our honeymoon in Virginia at a B&B. They aren’t hard to make and they make for an elegant breakfast dish on special occasions. We also have two leftover, and they will keep.

Well, that about does it for New Year’s… I am going to go write a more serious post on the main blog, and then I’ll probably watch a bunch of movies or something. I think Bill is going to cook a nice dinner, which I’ll probably document in photos if it’s pretty enough… and it probably will be!

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve and an even better New Year’s Day. Maybe this year, we’ll get to do more traveling!

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Germany

Spundekäs!

We had another wine stand last night.  I didn’t take very many pictures because, at this point, that would be boring and redundant.  However, I did want to make a quick post about the local delicacy I tried for the first time last night.

This is Spundekäs.  It’s a local speciality and great drunk food!

 

I don’t usually eat cheese dips, mainly because unless the cheese is very mild, I often find it offensive to my palate.  I also don’t like the texture of many cheeses.  I was persuaded to give this a try last night when I kept noticing little kids eating it.  Kids often have very sensitive tastebuds, so I figured if they liked it, I probably would too.

I sent Bill to get some, although he was reluctant at first.  Usually, with anything involving cold cheese, he’s on his own.  I promised him I’d try it, reminding him that I’ve successfully tried Burrata more than once.  I also like pretzels, so if need be, I could eat it plain.  He fetched a pretzel with Spundekäs, which came topped with sweet paprika and raw onions.  What can I say?  I loved it!  In fact, we had some left over, so I even sent Bill to get another pretzel.

Spundekäs is a Mainz speciality.  It’s cheese spread made with quark and seasoned with sweet paprika, salt, and pepper.  It’s often served with pretzels, crackers, or other breaded delights, and paired with Riesling wines.  It went very well with what people were drinking last night.

I was wondering if this snack was related to Handkäse, which I was first introduced to at a beer tasting party in Stuttgart.  The hostess was from Hanau, which is in Hesse.  She said she loved her hand cheese and didn’t mind if others didn’t, since it meant there was more for her.  Evidently, the raw onions served with these cheeses cause people to fart, which is why Handkäse is served “mit Musik”. The music comes from your ass.

Spundekäs is evidently much milder than Handkäse, which is often marinated in vinegar and has a pungent aroma.  I admit I haven’t tried Handkäse yet, and based on its description, I probably wouldn’t like it much.  However, I do like Spundekäs!  I found a recipe for it here.

We had a great time drinking wine with our neighbors last night.  That’s one thing I really like about our new community.  They have these awesome wine stands where people can chat and get to know each other.  It’s very friendly and communal and quite different from our experiences in Baden-Württemberg, where you’re more likely to find a fest involving beer.  Not that I mind a beer centered fest, either!  But neither of the towns we lived in in BW had these regularly scheduled wine stands hosted by different groups raising funds for their club activities.  They’d have other events like onion festivals or Schlachtfests.

I’m grateful we’ve had the chance to experience another part of Germany.  I don’t know how long our adventure is going to continue, so I’m trying not to take it for granted.  I suppose the next thing I need to try is green sauce, which is a Frankfurt speciality.  I have tried some Bill made, but it might be fun to get some at a restaurant made by a local… or maybe even attend a festival surrounding it.

Last night’s wine festival was a success, despite the stormy weather and everyone crowded under the umbrellas despite the wind and rain.  We also ran into our landlady, who was very happy to see us!  She’s a really nice lady, always cordial and welcoming.

I don’t know what we’ll do today.  We’ll see what turns us on.

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