The Mosel river

October 10, 2012

The Mosel river near Schweich

I am rapping things up here in Bangkok. Only two more days to go. Friday night I will be on the midnight flight to Germany. After about 11 hours on the plane, I will land in Frankfurt early in the morning. I might have a coffee and breakfast at the train station.

Then I will catch a train to Tier, my home town to see my parents. The train ride will be wonderful regardless of the weather. Autumn might extend its magic with colourful leaves in red, brown and yellow.

First, my trip will lead me along the Rhine river, then I’ll change trains in Koblenz. The next leg of the journey will be along the Mosel river. Some of the views will be spectacular.

I will admire the vineyards of both valleys, the Rhine and the Mosel. On the hilltops will be castles here and there. The slopes are steep, and I will think of all the hard work the vintners put into their vineyards. How can one work these terrible steep slopes? Backbreaking work, done for generations.

Vineyards and wine production have been a feature of the place for more than 2.000 years, incredible. I will have only about 24 hours there before I will move on for a business trip to Berlin.

Saturday night I will patronize my favourite wine bar, Weinsinnig. It will be my cellar door so to speak since I plan to pick up a few bottles of my favourite Mosel wines. There will be certainly a crisp Riesling among them.

I very much look forward to going home.


As they say: it’s never to early for a Frueh Koelsch

September 5, 2012

Cheers – ‘Es ist nie zu frueh’, is the slogan of the Frueh Brewery in Cologne

Our family holidays in Germany are what a Thai colleague of mine called “edu-tainment”, we combine fun with some educative elements.

Since my twin daughters are very interested in history and culture, it was inevitable that we should end up visiting Koeln/Cologne just about 200 km north of my home town Trier.

After our walk through the historic city centre, we needed nurishment. A good place to experience the local food and the local culture is the outlet of the Frueh Brewery right in the centre of town.

‘It’s never to early’ for a beer by Frueh

‘Koelsch’, as the beer is called, is a speciality of Cologne. There is even a ‘Koelsch Convention’ specifying how this beer has to be brewed and what quality criteria it must fulfill.

So what is ‘Koelsch’ you might ask?

‘Koelsch’ is a pale and hoppy top-fermenting beer. The beer is warm-fermented and cold-conditioned. It is rather light, less bitter than most other German beers and therefore very refreshing ; in summer as well as in winter, I might point out. During my university time in the neighbouring city of Bonn, I had ample time to sample various brands of ‘Koelsch’.

The beer is served by a so called ‘Koebes’, the local name for an excusively male waiter. They are easily recognized by their dark blue aprons. Be prepared for a culture-clash of some sort. But do not worry, in the end they are very friendly and very proud of their heritage.

Herring with potatoes

German cullinary delights are many. I opted for a fish dish, a marinated herring with potatoes. I tell you it was super delicious.

In case you visit Cologne and you want to experience something authentic, go and check out the Frueh Brewery.

Address:
Cölner Hofbräu P. Josef Früh KG
Gastronomie und Verwaltung
Am Hof 12-18
50667 Köln
Tel.: +49-221 / 2613 – 0


Pierre Sparr Riesling, Alsace

May 8, 2010

Pomfret con alceitunas y alcaparras

We had fish for dinner. Following a Spanish recipe, we had “Bonito con Aceitunas y Alcaparras” (tuna with olives and capers) from the “Culinaria Spain – Spanish Specialities” cookery book by Koenemann, 1998, Cologne, which is a wonderful book. It has not only breathtaking recipes but great pictures, stories about the food and the people, the various regions of Spain and, of course on Spanish wines.

We deviated from the original recipe by replacing the tuna fillets by whole pomfret fish but used all the other ingredients for the preparation of the dish. Needless to say, it was delicious. The recipe worked also with pomfret, one of my favourite fishes here in Asia.

2008 Pierre Sparr Riesling, extreme, Alsace

I had no Spanish wine in my wine fridge, but a Riesling from Alsace which I had bought a couple of days earlier because of its funky modern label. Pierre Sparr is the name of the estate. The 2008 vintage Riesling is still young and exuberant, just the right stuff for pairing it with the strong taste of the olives and the capers. The acidity made all the difference.

Pierre Sparr Riesling extreme

2008 Pierre Sparr Riesling, extreme, Alsace

I tried to find the same label on the Pierre Sparr website but could not. It must have been a special label for the export market. Back home in Alsace the same wines have more traditional wine labels. The Sparr family winery goes back to 1680. Pierre Sparr is representing the ninth (!!!) generation of Sparr family wine-makers and vignerons. The winery is located in Sigolsheim at the heart of the Alsace region. The family owns and operates 34 ha under vines and contracts fruit from about another 150 ha, usually small growers.

I love this wine region and have visited many times, especially during my student days. Alsace has a outstanding gastronomy, spread over the most picturesque region, right at the foot of the Vosges mountains down to the Rhine river. Vines have been cultivated since Roman times.

Pierre Sparr offers a wide range of wines (and also grappa). I guess the wine we had belongs to the lowest quality segment which you can buy in France for about 8.25-9.50 EURO/bottle. I paid much more for it here in Bangkok. It displays rose petal aromas, citrus, peach and honey. The wine is sprizzy and has zest, a good structure and a long finish. Its’ perfectly made and will last for some more years (12% alc/vol).

I hope we have the chance to visit Alsace again this year. And meanwhile I look out for Pierre Sparr wines here in Bangkok.