Friday, April 9, 2010

Nördlich für Ostern

You have to hand it to the Germans for stretching Easter into a four-day holiday (even the Italians cram it into three days). But, when in Rome, as they say, and so we packed our bags and headed north to visit mein Mann's godmother at her country cottage in Bergenhusen. It was a little chilly (Bergenhusen is way up north, almost at the Danish border), but even so, it is one of the prettiest parts of Germany I've seen so far (although I may be subconsciously biased as two of my ancestors hail from the region of Schleswig-Holstein where Bergenhusen is located). The land is above all else, flat (think: lots of storks (who appreciate the flatness b/c it enables them to see for long distances) and windmills). There are lots of farms and many, many sheep, including, these days the tiniest of lambs. Traditional houses have straw roofs, which you might be able to see next to the stork nest here. We spent most of the mini-vacation in the village, but did manage to take two excursions. One to visit a friend of mein Manns who hails from a nearby village and looks strikingly like a distant cousin (a lost lost relative perhaps?!). We also drove out to the Hamburger Hallig, a low-lying area, which floods twice a day so that all buildings (there were only a few) must be built on man-made hills (Warften). Because of the frequent (salt water) flooding, the sheep that graze in these areas (I guess they know to go up on the hills when the tide comes in?) are pre-salted and supposedly quite delicious. Unfortunately, we didn't have lamb for Easter dinner (many Germans, including our hosts, claim not to like lamb (they usually associate it with the scary southern and/or "immigrant cuisines" that deal in (gasp) garlic and/or have only had grocery store lamb, which, at least in Germany, is pretty bad), but I did manage to have a lamb patty (Frikadelle) at the little restaurant at Hamburger Hallig and it was quite tasty.
(Culinary side-story: Germans sometimes give Easter presents, which I don't quite understand, but willingly accept. This year Mein Mann (who arrived a day ahead of me, which happened to be market day, got me lamb ham (a la turkey bacon (tastes like corned beef), really excellent regular pig ham, and some tiny locally harvested (?) shrimp, which my godmother-in-law made into a delicious Abendbrot or evening bread, the German dinner of open-faced sandwiches. (They do look a bit like worms, though....) We also stopped to wander through the town of Husum, which has a fairly standard Schloss surrounded by a breathtaking field of purple crocuses. I was particularly taken by these napping ducks.

And finally, a few of my own Easter creations: Easter egg nest cupcakes for some of my most annoying clients to date. And, marbelized Easter eggs (thanks, Martha). I am in love with my egg holder, it definitely lives on the bar of at least one of the imaginary restaurants in my head.


allison said...

i wish i could meet those sheep in that photo! cranes nest! so beautiful! though, as a vegan, i admit i said "Eeep!" at the thought of pre-salted sheep... and before i figured this concept out I even wondered, "is she talking about the grass being tasty because salt is nice on greens?" x

anne said...

i want to see more pics! flickr or facebook please? that area looks so beautiful.
and now off looking for an egg holder.