Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe & beyond...join me!

Monday, March 3, 2014

zum schnuggele...

Everyone knows that the best dinners are spent with family around a big, wooden kitchen table; fireplace roaring, candles glowing, a hearty meal steaming and a jug of wine breathing. Well, when we’re in the family mood and family happens to be in town visiting, then there’s only one place where we want to eat…the kitchen. Just not ours.

The Historisches Weinwirtschaft in Oberwesel on the Rhine is where we go when family is in town; the father and ms. marion, dad and stepmum or even when it’s just the two of us wanting an intimate, quaint atmosphere with an excellent meal. It is our favourite ‘home’ to eat in, because in almost every way, it is a home.

Recently, I had taken the day off work because stepmum was rolling through town, as she sometimes does. We had had a lovely spa afternoon and after great guy got off work we headed out for a cozy dinner in one of the most beautiful towns on the Rhine.

Oberwesel, all fairytale-like with buildings dating back to 1010 A.D has a deep sense of roots, of history, and of belonging on every corner. Like being in a minute chapter of an epic historical novel, there is no better place to hang out with family.

The Oberweseller have great fun showing off their historical location, with night watchman tours every month, huge medieval festivals every two years, and an appreciation for all things old. They value and preserve their Geschichte (in German ‘history’ translates into ‘story’, which I think is just perfect) and it oozes out of every cobblestone.

What Iris Marx has done with her wirtschaft is no exception. Taking one of the last remaining fachwerkhäuse (timber-framed houses) in the area, she has created a restaurant unlike any other that we know. Each room to dine in is a ‘room’; the lived-in living room (Wohnstubb) with guitar and fireplace; the long, narrow kitchen (Kich) with old stove and cracked eggs and flour on the counter; the intimately small dining nook (Gaststubb) with passage into the bedroom (Schloafstubb). It is in here, decorated with plump, white linens and feather pillows, that you can sit in a wooden bed built for two or nestle into a tall, oak cupboard with your glass of red wine and a schnitzel.

With her wit, straight-talking charm, and heavy dialect, she will entertain you just because she’s there. And, as is standard in German locales, the owner is always there. I don’t know how they do it, but it is a tradition which I find lovely and warm. It is the feeling of being hosted in someone’s own home. There is no good English translation for ‘wirtschaft’…it isn’t really a pub or a tavern or a restaurant. The images of those words paint the wrong picture. It really is more like a home…with great food and drink.

The impressive, regional wine list is displayed on each table on a magnum bottle; easy to read and handy. Wines with names like the finest racehorses such as; the 2011 Bopparder Hamm Feuerlay Riesling Spätlese from Weingut Matthias Müller in Spay and the 2012 Handstreich Engelholler Bernstein Riesling Kabinett from Weingut Winfried Persch in Oberwesel...

are served at the table in terracotta jugs. A little bit of old tavern flair.

And I can't forget to tell you about the food. It is the best home-cooking around...with names even some Germans need to have translated. 

Fier de Große Hunger...for the bigger appetite:

Zwiewelnaggesteak vun de Wutz met Broadkrumbeere un Salad
(Onion pork steak with pan-fried potatoes and salad)

Hunsrigger Krumbeereklees, gefillt met Läwerwurscht en Broadesoß un Salad
(Hunsrücker Potato dumplings filled with liverwurst with gravy and salad)

en was zum Schnuggele…and for dessert:

Zironesorbet met Treschder 
(Lemon sorbet with brandy)

Espresso-Rahm-Kerm aff Cranberries
(Espresso whipped cream, with cream atop cranberries)

And at the end of a fun-filled, familial evening, touring all of the rooms in the house including the old wine cellar, we head back along the B9 towards home. To our own kitchen.


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