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First off, HAPPY THANKSGIVING dear smashandsniff readers! I realize that all of you in the States as well as many of you expats are celebrating today and I wish you warm blankets, lots of tag football and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade action to go with your turkey-stuffing-gravy-mashed-potato comas. I will be eating schnitzel tonight but FEAR NOT: I have 40 people coming over for Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night. Yes, I said 40. And I will tell you all about it next week. But until then...
On Friday night, Susanne and I went to our local neighborhood wine shop, Weingut Wein, for a fabulous home cooked meal - with 15 other people. Jochen, our local wine expert, pairs the wines with his wife Inka's fine cooking and once a month or so they offer dinners in their wine shop, each course paired with one of Jochen's personally selected wines. This time the theme was Saibling (a fish that is a close cousin of salmon - my German-English dictionary is offering "char","fingerling" and "samlet" as translations - help!) meets Riesling. The saibling is raised in the "altes Land" here across the Elbe river in Hamburg by an older couple who harvest them from a chalk pond. It is a very particular way of raising the fish and as the couple will soon retire and has not yet found anyone willing to take over their chalk farm, it may soon be extinct, at least here. So Inka prepared an amazing four course meal with the Hamburg saibling and Jochen found the perfect riesling pairings.
A hot smoked trout ("forelle") with roasted potatoes and herb apple remoulade.
Inka prepares the plates while Jochen explains a bit more about the saibling harvest and the wines he has chosen to accompany them. I was so absorbed in food and conversation that I forgot to snap a photo of the second course, the cold smoked saibling with orange lentil salad. The fish looked and tasted like smoked salmon but lighter. And while I am not usually a lentil fan, these lentils were a perfect foil for the fish, slightly acidic and sweet.
The cassoulet of hot smoked saibling was similar to a minestrone, lighter than a cassoulet. The smoked fish with the vegetables was fantastic.
And the cold smoked wild salmon (the only fish originating outside of the region) with a dill mustard sauce paired with a very minerally riesling - "mineralisch" in German - it's one of those words that just works so well that I anglicize it, like, "paired with a very mineralish riesling" - and then, oh, wait.... mineralish... is that a... did I just make that up? Whatever, you know what I mean. The longer I live here, the more "Denglish" I speak. Na ja.
The wine crate-stocked shelves served as the perfect and effortless (it is a wine shop after all) decoration as we sat with strangers at tables of four or eight. A couple looking for a romantic evening alone might not appreciate sitting at a communal table. But Susanne and I had a fabulous time with our tablemates - a lovely older couple who drank us under the table.
Thanks Jochen and Inka for a lovely and delicious evening!