Germany is well known for its beers and beer festivals, and rightly so. What’s much less well known is the fact that we produce some really great wines, too. And I am not talking Liebfraumilch here.
When I came to Britain for the first time, Liebfraumilch and Blue Nun were a popular choice of wine. In Britain, that is. Despite coming from a wine-growing region, I had never heard of either before (years later I did discover Liebfraumilch in a German supermarket – on the bottom shelf, in a plastic 2-litre bottle. I did not exactly ooze class).
My region, Baden-Württemberg, is quite well-known for its Rieslings, a white grape that produces light and fruity wines. Another popular grape is Trollinger, a red grape that has become synonymous with our region. Wine has been grown in the area around Stuttgart since Roman times, and the south-facing slopes of the valleys are dotted with vineyards, many or them owned by local families who bring their produce to the local cooperatives. My school friend Nicole’s grandparents had such a ‘Wengertle’, a small vineyard in the hills above their village, where I was allowed to help with the harvest as a child.
Even in prime locations within Stuttgart can you find these little vineyards, above the central train station as well as in between the villas that are perched along the south-facing slopes of our city.
Every winemaker is allowed to open their house to the public for up to four months a year to sell their wine: by hanging a broom above their door they signal they’re open to the public, and you can come in and have lunch, or dinner, or just a snack, in the comfort of the owner’s dining room or kitchen.
If you ever have the chance to visit such a ‘Besenwirtschaft’, literally ‘broom inn’, you’ll be offered traditional local food such as the Maultaschen, Kässpätzle, dumplings or Schupfnudeln I have described elsewhere. But if you don’t really feel like eating a large meal, you might go for a slice of Zwiebelkuchen, onion quiche. instead: juicy and aromatic, it’s the perfect accompaniment for a glass or two of the local wine.
To convince you that Germany is a great place to visit, Inntravel, a company that specialises in ‘slow’ travel, kindly provided me with a German wine ‘starter kit’, consisting of two exquisite white wines from the famous Moselle valley, as well as a selection of German chocolates.
One lucky UK winner can take it all – check out the terms and conditions below. For everyone else, I’ll leave you with a slice or two of the onion quiche.
Zwiebelkuchen – Onion Quiche (for a 26 cm flan form)
- 200g plain flour
- 100g salted butter
- 1 egg
- 1-2 tbs water
- 600-700g onions
- 50g pancetta
- 300ml sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1-2 tbs caraway seeds
- salt, pepper to taste
Prepare the shortcrust pastry by mixing the ingredients quickly: before I use my hands to knead it into a dough I use a spatula to cut the butter into small chunks and mixing it with the flour, salt and egg. You might need to add a little water.
Once it all sticks together, resist the temptation to work it into a smooth dough: if you overwork it and the butter gets too warm you’ll end up with rather bland and hard base instead of a crumbly, even flaky texture. Store in the fridge for an hour or two, before heating your oven to 200C / 400F.
In the meantime, cut the onions into thin slices and sweat them in a little fat until they are shiny and translucent. Set aside. Using the same pan, brown the pancetta a little and add it to the onion rings.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
Place it on the middle of your oven and bake it for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
As for the accompanying wine, here are the entry requirements for the giveaway:
Following the instructions on the Rafflelecopter website, I had hoped for a fancy display – unfortunately, this link is all I got, so follow it to get you to a Rafflecopter giveaway.
In order to qualify, you need to be over 18 and a UK resident – this will help Inntravel to post the goodies to you. Once you have checked (is it raining outside? Check. Do you think ‘raw’ food means it is not fried? Check. You don’t know what ‘public transport’ means? Check. You’re a UK resident.) (If you got really worked up about these questions, however, you are a German resident in the UK. You’ll still qualify, but probably don’t need to be introduced to German wine).
You’ll better hurry and get yourself to a Rafflecopter giveaway, otherwise you’ll end up empty handed – like me, after leaving the pack unguarded for a couple of hours:
This giveaway ends March 25st at 12:00 PM EST. Open to Residents of the UK over 18 years of age only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. The winner will be notified by email. Winner have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that Ginger&Bread is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. I have represented Inntravel with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. I will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you. The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.