Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Büffel-Besuch + Plünderung

We certainly ate our share of fresh mozzarella while we were in Campania, but somehow we didn't manage to hang out with any water buffaloes. Who knew that our chance would come in the 1,002-year-old town of Jüterbog (whose name is very fun), just south of Berlin? It wasn't the nicest of days, but we had wanted to visit Bobalis since returning from Italy and it's only open one Saturday a month. (Somehow, I who have plenty of days off, always ended up having to work on these Saturdays.) So we weren't going to let a bit of gray sky keep us away. The Buffaloes were extremely cute - there were lots of calves (waiting in line at the milk trough with the same patience found in human toddlers). I was a little disappointed that they weren't actually making cheese during the visiting hours and were only selling mozzarella that was already two days old. Am I wrong? Isn't "the fresher the better" the whole deal behind fresh mozzarella (although I will say that Provolone is pretty hard to find in the Fatherland). The cheese has a nice buffalo tang and I'm all for supporting a herd of happy German water buffalo, but ... it (along with the grey sky) does make a girl long for those days in Campania. Bobalis also butchers some of their buffalos and the sausages and liverwurst we brought home are delicious. I suppose it's not all that surprising that Germans would make better Wurst than delicate Italian cheese.

The town of Jüterbog is a collection of some really amazing very old buildings with the fairly depressing, shut-down vibe often found in Bradenburg/former East Germany as a backdrop. A rinky dink carnival set up in the lovely town square supposedly in honor of Oktoberfest didn't help matters. For some very unknown reason, Fläming, the region surrounding/including Jüterbog also boasts "Europe's first and largest skating path." I have no idea if or why in-line/rollerskating (skateboarding?) would be especially popular in this fairly out-of-the-way spot, but we biked around part of the 200-and-some-kilometer route and it is really very nice. To our delight, it's also full of fruit trees and once again we came home with saddlebags full of plums, pears, and apples (mein Mann has just discovered his love of scavenging/gathering and couldn't bear to leave any fruit behind). Our pantry is already very, very full of jam and chutney now and we are eating our weight in apple cake/tart on a daily basis. We're also developing somewhat of a reputation among our friends for being weird people who spend every weekend in the country in search of abandoned fruit trees.


Diana Pittet said...

I can't believe it's been over a year since I visited you and Uli in Berlin for the marathon! I wish I were with you now so that I could have gone to the Bobalis farm and searched for abandoned fruit trees.

Care to share a pear or apple chutney recipe? How about one that would be good for Cheddar. I'll post it on my Cheddar blog and give you credit.

At the cheese department where I know work, we sell three different aged buffalo milk cheeses: one that's styled on taleggio, one that's a wee round and tastes like a pecorino, and one that's hard and aged. Yum!

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