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Food, Wine & Friends Page 257

In the early days of Spring in 2014, we brought some California sunshine to Europe and spent a few days with our good friends, Gaby and Norbert.

Residing in a little town outside of Frankfurt, I was accompanied by former Weimax colleague (and supreme wine geek) Kareasa Wilkins.

Following three busy days at a wine fair in DŘsseldorf, we picked up a car and motored to the metropolis of Rodgau, arriving on a Tuesday night.

Norbert immediately brought out a bottle of Champagne!

Veuve Fourny...Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, a Premier Cru from Vertus.
This was just what the doctor ordered!
Quite dry and classic Champagne.


And we had a toast and a schluck of bubbly!


Norbert, Kareasa and Gaby.

And soon there were some starters on the table!


Lustau's Manzanilla Pasado matured by Manuel Cuevas Jurado...a delicious dry Manzanilla and perfect with the toasted almonds and savory nibbles.  It was matured in a solera for approximately 7 years and had nice 'nutty' notes and the classic 'salty tang' of Manzanilla.


"Okay, I'll have some more peppers."

The Kitchen Magicians returned to the stove and got busy.


Norbert was pan-roasting some pork chops...


Gaby's Taters.

 

Norbert then had some little Chanterelles...

Some cherry tomatoes were then added to the pan...

Meanwhile, there was work to do at the dinner table.

We had just tasted the current vintage of Arachon two days earlier, so it was great to taste the 2006 on this occasion.
Nicely cedary, woodsy, medium-full and showy...



The 2004 Lorinon Rioja Gran Reserva was also showing handsomely.  Nicely woodsy, medium-bodied and fairly elegant.

Kareasa was blown away by not only the wonderful flavors of Auth-Cuisine, but the artistic presentation, as well.

"Damned good!"


"Nicht schlecht!"

And then a simple dessert featuring a Setubal wine from Bacalh˘a from our visit to Portugal in 2009.



After a day of visiting wineries in Germany's Nahe region, we returned to Schloss Auth on a cool Spring evening.


Norbert had some wood burning in their furnace...


"Ein Mann hat etwas zu glauben, haben in. Ich glaube ich werde ein Glaabsbrau Bier!"


"I believe I'll have two!"

After enjoying a cold brewski, we sat down at the dinner table and Norbert brought out a special sweet wine from the cellar.

Hans Wirsching "Wiquem"...Wirsching + d'Yquem...=Wiquem.


Foie Gras!



Oh my!  That was wonderful!
The wine was nicely balanced and tasted young, despite being nearly 8 years of age.
It displayed beautifully honeyed notes and a lot of floral, fruity tones.

 

And then Norbert put a couple of Rieslings on the dinner table...


Horst Sauer from the Franken region and Knipser from the Pfalz.


These were both delicious and they paired very nicely with Gaby & Norbert's Sauerkraut.



Kasseler Rippchen

 


Soon Kareasa was up to her elbows in wurst, knodels and sauerkraut!

Luckily there was plenty of Riesling as an accompaniment.

Yumm Baby!!!

After dinner Norbert put a handful of "schnapps" bottles on the table...

Did I hear the word ""?

And Norbert and Gaby's choice for the Strudel was FREY's Beerenauslese Scheurebe...wonderfully aromatic and exotic in its character!

 

 

On Thursday evening, following our lovely day in the Mosel, we returned to Rodgau for dinner hosted by Claus & Anette.


Gaby with Anette Bonifer.


Norbert shows off a magnum of Ferrari's great "Riserva del Fondatore" bubbly...

And we met Elena's boyfriend, Daniel.


Gaby's a big fan of bubbles.



Uli and Josef.


Mit der Toast-Meister!


A few nibbles to pair with the bubbly.



Meanwhile, dinner was approaching...and the kitchen was prepared to serve the first course.

 

The table was set and ready for the festivities...

Claus opened a pair of Keller wines:

Grauer Burgunder and a blend of Weisser Burgunder with Chardonnay...both nice, light, crisp whites to pair with the Boniferini's Vitello Tonnato.


Cin Cin !!
Salute!
Prosit!
Cheers!
Kampai!!

Claus then put a couple of Roses on the table for the next plate...


Kiss Kiss!!!


The pasta was excellent and the Rose wines held up well with such a soulful dish.


Pasta!

Claus showed the brochure from the Schneider winery...

Holy Moly!

 


The Chef was planning on oven-roasting this fish, but it swam around the dining room one last time.

Anette had a platter of prawns to parade around...


And then Daniel got busy with the corkscrew...and some bottles for the main course!



Once opened, Norbert, in the interests of quality control, took a schniff.

Phillip Kuhn's German Chardonnay...this was not pretending to be a French Burgundy or California wine!
It was nicely fruity, with pear-like notes...not an oak bomb nor was it toasty and leesy...






Dinner a le Boniferini!

As dessert was soon to be on the table, Kareasa opened the bottle of 1994 Von Nell Kaseler Auslese Riesling we picked up earlier in the day.

Here's a wine, close to 20 years of age and it is youthful, crisp, mildly sweet and oh-so-tangy thanks to its brilliant acidity...
It's a gorgeous wine and yet Von Nell is not a name most German wine fans know.

Claus handed a bottle of Lacrima di Moro d'Alba fizzy wine to an engineer in hopes he'd be able to figure out precisely how to open this bottle.

And he did!

Meanwhile, Josef was pondering the various complexities he found in the Von Nell wine...

"Nice nose...ja!  Sehr gut!"


"Helige Moly!  Es schmeckt auch gut!"

Soon the Boniferini's "after table" course was served.

 



We brought a few little gifts...

A California-shaped cheese board to remind Anette to come to California.



And some Vino for Claus.

Some bottles of Schnapps were soon on the table...


Verklich Gut!

 


And it was soon the Witching Hour!

 

Many thanks to Claus and Anette for a lovely evening...




Gaby was busy preparing a tomato sauce.

Norbert found that lovely bottle of Lustau Manzanilla and Gaby assembled some nibbles...

After draining the Manzanilla, Gaby headed for the kitchen and she put together some Zucchini Pancakes...


Rochet-Bocart Premier Cru Brut!


Wow!
Beautiful and absolutely delicious!!!

 

In between courses, Norbert offered to show Kareasa the Auth Keller.



Gaby was in the kitchen assembling some seafood pasta "packages."



Cantina del Termeno's STOAN blend from the Alto Adige and Nals Margreid 2011 Mantele Sauvignon Blanc...
The Mantele Sauvignon was nicely pungent and intensely varietal in character.
The Stoan was more fruity and a little bit less aromatic...still quite good and a well-polished white.


Kareasa dove into the foil package...


Fantastic!

The pasta was great!!!

Norbert had a bottle of wine which turned out to be Kareasa's birth year!



A small pineapple and some Pineapple Sorbet...along with Zilliken's 2011 Rausch Spatlese and the old bottle of Heyl zu Herrnsheim.


The Zilliken was very young, snappy, nicely balanced but needing time to blossom.
The Heyl zu Herrnsheim was interesting and still alive.  It had mature Riesling notes and was good...

At this point, we concluded the proceedings.
Kareasa had to prepare her bag for the flight back home.


The next morning we drove to FRA and got Kareasa checked in for her flight to SFO.


Kareasa preparing for a world with less Riesling and more B-S.

We got back on the Autobahn and made tracks for the Ahr region...

And that evening, Gaby and Norbert had booked a table at a new, favorite place of theirs in Offenbach.

This is a small dining establishment with a cool menu featuring some creative cuisine.

You pick however many courses you want...3, 4, 5, 6...as many as 9 and they'll orchestrate the menu for you.

We opted for a four course menu.




An Amuse Bouche...Tuna.  Very amusing and flavorful!!

I began my meal with the StubenkŘken..."Spring Chicken" with Wasabi, Coffee and a Radish!


The sommelier stops by your table, chats about what plate you've selected and then pours a glass of wine which he thinks will pair well.


The Sommelier did not struggle with a suggestion...he immediately offered the wine "Kampf," a Riesling from a small, young producer in the Rheinhessen.

Norbert was especially delighted, since he'd suggested that I visit Kampf...and the Kampf wines were quite good!

The first plates then arrived...

Stubenkuken with Kaffee, Wasabi & Rettich.
This was some sort of little piece of "spring chicken" or game hen with a coffee 'smear' on the plate and some sort of radish with a foam of wasabi.
Despite the odd combination of ingredients, none were strongly flavored, so this dish actually 'worked' without a bunch of intense flavors combating with each other.


Norbert showed off his starter...another inventive and creative dish.
I think this was Mackerel...


The Sommelier came back with a wine for the next plate...

A Weinreich wine made of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.


They call this fish "St. Pierre" or Saint Peter's Fisch in German.  It's what some folks know as "John Dory."
This was beautifully cooked and marvelously tender and flaky.  Atop the fish was a nice bit of Foie Gras!
It's billed as "St. Pierre with Duck Foie Gras, Cauliflower, Bergamot, Bishop's Weed (Giersch in German) and Couscous."
Whatever it was, it was good...

The third plate was some sort of Surf & Turf dish...

It's a "Roulade of Beef & Lobster" with mushrooms and some potato 'dumplings" along with a small piece of lobster tail...
It's a bit less unusual in its assemblage of flavors than the previous plates, but was very good!

Another Weinreich wine was presented for this main course...a Pinot Noir called Rosengarten.

 

Dessert?  Of course!

Nougat Cocoa Cherry...

Gaby had this...

Raspberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

And we thus concluded a marvelous meal in Offenbach!

 

 

Many thanks to Gaby & Norbert for discovering the Schau Mahl!

 

********************

On Sunday night, as I packed my bag for the return flight home, we ambled over to the Rodgau train station.  Across the street is a classic little restaurant with good food and cold beer!

 

We each ordered a beer...



White asparagus (grilled) with some prawns...

Gaby's Seafood Soup was a meal in and of itself!


Norbert had some sort of salad with fish, if I recall correctly...


 


For a main plate, Norbert opted for Schnitzel with an egg...

Gaby also had Schnitzel...

...also with an egg and Green Sauce.

My plate was some kind of Spanferkel dish...

The knodel was also ausgexcellent!


After all of this they still ask if you want dessert!

Many thanks to the Bischoff's Crew!


And with that it was time to hit the sack for the next day's flight home.

 

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