In the week before we go, I’m a little nervous thinking about what I should cook, what the new friends that only my husband knows will be like, what type of food and cooking they like, if what I’m planning as a main course will go with their planned appetizer and dessert…….
We exchange culinary ideas per email, he doesn’t like fish, she doesn’t like steak-type meat, I am lactose-intolerant, and my husband just shrugs and says it’ll be fine.
We are going 153 kilometers away, in the same state as we live, near the former border between East and West Germany to a town that only came about in 1968 for industrial purposes but is nestled in historic countryside going back to the 14th century.
Our friends have bought an old mansion on a most beautiful, large piece of land and after extensive restoration they have created a pearl that they have named the “Salzhaus” in honor of the potash salt mountain that rises 250 meters above the landscape and is called Monte Kali. It is made up of 150 million tons of salt to which 16,000 are added daily.
The ride to Herfa leads us through luscious green spring countryside and since it is farther north of Frankfurt we can relive the height of spring that we left behind 2 weeks ago. And my favorite part of that area are the yellow fields of rape used for canola oil and bio-fuel that patchwork the green rolling fields like shields of sunlight.
At the Salzhaus, the kitchen alone makes me swoon, Gaggenau kitchen appliances (including a steamer), wall to wall built in cupboards with a perfect place for everything and a cooking island with gas burners, 2 sinks, …… And the rest of the house is just as beautiful in its tasteful utility and comfort. The perfect place for 2 busy people to find rest and recreation from their busy professional lives, which they share with their adored dog Paddy and many weekend guests.
Our hosts are wonderful: easy-going, humorous, worldly and entertaining. Their cooking skills harmonize with ours to create a magical meal of like minds and palettes. The best way to get to know each other: a brisk walk through the forest, hours of chatty preparation in the kitchen followed by more hours of feasting accompanied by gorgeous wine and equally entertaining stories.
Here is the menu we put together and enjoyed in this sublime place.
Carrot mousse with lime
Caramelized leeks with cinnamon and lemon
Brushcetta with 2 toppings
Oven-baked sweet potatoes with artichokes and oranges
Veal roast with oranges and spices
Homemade vanilla ice-cream with chocolate melting cakes
Madeleines and Raisin Cake with our hostess’ incredible homemade elderflower jelly and elderberry jam.
Yuuummmm, perfect weekend pleasures.
Thank you dear Sigrid and Isaac, so lovely to meet you!
P.S. Recipes to follow soon.