The Weekly Shop: a whisky hut, a Weinstube and a lot of wedding wine

Red grapes on the vine

I’m absolutely exhausted after the most brilliant weekend celebrating the marriage of my (German) husband’s sister to a cracking English fellow.  On Thursday we travelled to Oppenheim, the small town perched on top of a hill overlooking the river Rhine in which my father-in-law grew up.  We wandered around the town and its surrounding vineyards before leading a merry brigade of very international wedding guests into the labyrinth of underground medieval tunnels in which my husband played as a child (they’re now open to the public), finishing up the evening with a few rings of Fleischwurst and a bottle or two of wine in the beautiful candle-lit cellar of a very hospitable relative.

Undenheim
Undenheim

The wedding itself took place on Friday in Undenheim, a tiny village that’s only a half hour drive from Wiesbaden yet feels very much in the middle of nowhere.  The sun shone brightly over the winery in which, post ceremony, we quaffed mini-Bratwürstchen and German champagne (Sekt) before sitting down to a huge feast of grilled meats and a lavish chocolate and cherry dessert.  After rather a lot of wine, an enthusiastic band of merrymakers discovered a small wooden hut in the gardens, where the owner had installed a whisky bar and an absolutely terrible sound system and the dancing continued there (occasionally on the bar) till 5am.

Goat's cheese gratin
Goat’s cheese gratin with a lemon and thyme crumb

Despite all the festivities, we still managed to fit in another two excellent meals over the weekend, the first at Jordan’s Untermühle in Kongernheim, close to Undenheim, where the elegant-looking plates of food were just as good – if not better – than the first time I visited several years ago (update: it made it into my favourite 5 meals of 2014!).  On Saturday night we met the few remaining wedding revellers at Weinstube zum Bacchus in Mainz, a wonderfully cosy old Weinstube (wine tavern) where we hired the upstairs room to enjoy their vast portions of vaguely refined German food, from Schnitzel with green sauce and variously-topped Flammkuchen to other tasty dishes such as meltingly tender lamb curry and a dark, rich coq au vin.  Word to the wise should you visit (which I do recommend): the drinks are rather expensive, so what you think should turn out to be a reasonably priced meal tends to, in fact, quite the opposite.

Food news from around Germany…

10 things you should know before going to a German restaurant
★ Right now in Berlin, B is for Burger
★ How to tip like a local in Germany  (And the rest of the world – one very handy website!)
★ Where to go for cocktails in Karlsruhe

…and further afield:

Classic 1934 bourbon cocktail recipe book (via SwissMiss)
★ How to make blackberry ice cream without an ice cream maker
★ Recipe for chocolate and toasted hazelnut milk (!!)
How to save fresh herbs.

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