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Food, Wine & Friends Page 113

                                                               
November 2006




Our dear friends Gaby and Norbert were set on celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on the Left Coast of North America.  They had planned this excursion over the course of a year and made arrangements for a motorcycle rental in Vancouver, British Columbia.  After touring that area, they were to venture south to San Francisco and more fun-in-the-sun.

But tragedy struck less than a week before their departure when Gaby's father, Peter, had a stroke and died the very next day.  The plans were for naught.

A month later I received a lovely invitation to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary at a smallish gathering of close friends at their home in Rodgau, not far from Frankfurt.  I told them this is a busy time of year and that I could not possibly attend.  Immediately, I began searching for modestly-priced airfare.  Another local pal, Jesper Jensen, said he'd join me and so the two of us booked tickets on the sly and prepared for a few days in Alsace before crashing the party.

We arrived in Frankfurt, rented a car and set our course for Alsace, stopping along the way for a bier and some mittagessen.

 

We had many winery visits in Alsace, our first stop being

Valentin Zusslin, a lovely little domaine in Orschwihr.

Then we drove Saturday afternoon to the party.

We arrived around 5 o'clock and hid until 7pm, knowing the guests arrive at 6:30.

At 7, we rang the bell and shocked the hell out of one of Gaby and Norbert's guests, who shrieked when she saw me standing there.

I barged in an announced "I understand there are many bottles of wine here which need opening tonight, so let's get busy!"

Now the previously calm party got rolling, with much merriment, Champagne and good food!

As things settled down, momentarily, the door bell rang again and now Jesper made his appearance.





This was some berraschung!

 


The Rodgau Wine-Tasting Team
Maria, Eddie, Josef, Uli, Anette, Norbert, Claus and Gaby


Gaby then gave a nice little speech, detailing the year's events and thanking people for coming to join the celebration.


Another visit to Rodgau, another skunk.

 


Two additional place settings were added to the table...


Claus, Elena and a little stinker.

 



 


"Don't you have something like a Grand Cru Bordeaux?  Maybe some Lafite, perhaps?"

 

 

 


Gaby's Mom.


As they say in Deutsch:  Kampai!

 


Here's a little devil, as you can see by the horns.

 


Claus Bonifer then set up a lovely presentation of photos to show one and all.


Two Happy Couples.


Once Claus finished, we started back up with more wine.

 

 

Things really got crazy with a German version of Cinderella.


Two Sisters.


CinderEva.


Die Messer-Fee.


CinderEva and her Prince.


Then Norbert brought out some old bottles and we brought a couple of 1981s, their wedding year, to enjoy with the crowd.

Gaby assembled a cheese tray to go with the various wines...

Best wine of the old bottles:

Duckhorn 1981 Napa Valley Cabernet was the first decanter totally emptied.

Some people, though, stayed with the Champagne.


Anette and Maria nearly were drinking the wines directly from the decanters...


Eimart is explaining to Norbert some details about the size of his cork, I think.


It was getting late...or early, depending upon your perspective.  


We adjourned at this moment and made our way to bed before we turned into pumpkins.

After all, we had to be awake soon...brunch was soon to be served!

 



SUNDAY




Everyone is bright-eyed, despite a lack of sleep!

 


Philip shows Gaby how to taste Champagne, his favorite wine.


Eleni keeps an eye on the doughnut hole.

 




Forza Italia!


The famous dribble glass nailed this little fellow.



We then put on our walking shoes and had a nice stroll around Frankfurt...



And then back to Rodgau for dinner at Bischoff's excellent restaurant.

And so we had a lovely and quick visit, returning home Monday afternoon to get our nose back to the Weimax' grindstone.

Congratulations to Gaby and Norbert on 25 years!

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