Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Eltville, Germany - Rheingau Region

We spent a lovely and leisurely Saturday in Eltville along the Rhein River - part of the Rheingau Region which is a very popular wine growing region of Germany - mostly Rieslings along with some other whites and a couple reds.  Some very tasty wines, I might add.

Eltville itself is a very charming little town right on the Rhein river.  A very picturesque place as well with all the tiny cobblestone streets, half timber buildings and sleepy cafes...perfect place for a relaxing afternoon.  As I develop my "cruise director" strengths I hope to stumble across pleasant places like this one often.  I have a tendency to pick a place and travel there with little in the way of an itinerary - instead leaving the time between meals open for discovering and experiencing a place.

We found a quaint tiny hidden away restaurant - or at least the backside garden of a larger restaurant from the main street - and plopped ourselves down for lunch and refreshments.  You can not visit the Rheingau without trying the wine nor visit during Pfifferlinge (Chanterelles) mushroom season and not enjoy some classic German dish with pfifferlinge-rahm (cream) sauce.  Therefore, I indulged in the homemade Knödel with Pfifferlinge Rahm-Soße dish with a nice glass of crisp white wine.  Delicious!

Next we ventured to the much talked about and advertised Kloster Eberbach about 6km from Eltville.  The parking lot was nearly full - a very popular place - then as we were buying our tickets to enter the monastery I saw the poster for The Name of the Rose the 1986 film starring Sean Connery then I remembered a friend telling me that they had filmed the movie in a monastery in the Rhein area.  No wonder it is so busy and there is a hotel on the grounds as well.

Kloster Eberback turned out to be pretty amazing and beautiful and huge.  The Cisterian architecture is impressive and dates back to the 12th and 14th century.  At the end we bought a couple bottles of the monastery wine after tasting.

The wine cellar, pictured to the left was a very cool space with candles lit over the barrels.  Unfortunately, you can not walk around too much (this picture was taken through the gate!).

Of course, as the sun was going down and we began our trip back home, I had to stop and snap a picture of the vines.  A perfect little day trip coming to an end as we speed down the autobahn back to Frankfurt.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Baby Foodie

So we've begun the slow incorporation of "solid" foods into Hannah's diet and she loves it - most of it so far.  As evident in this picture she is curious, independent and wants more peas please.

Mostly I am making her food from scratch and it is really easy.  First, I start by steaming a vegetable, then blend it using an immersion (hand) blender and mixing a drop of Raps oil.  Here in Germany they use the Raps oil as it is void of much flavor and helps the body absorb vitamins and nutrients.  Olive oil can be used as long as it is not cold pressed.

Yesterday, I made applesauce to mix with her cereal and she really enjoyed this concoction.  I started with zucchini and worked my way through the stage one vegetables before introducing the sweeter fruits.  My theory is that by mainly feeding the vegetables she will develop a taste for them and in the end hopefully a more versatile palate.  Contrary to her father's desires - we are waiting to add hot sauce or any spices for that matter!

Since, my sweet daughter got her first two teeth at four months old she likes biting and chewing on everything, which led me to buy soft rubber spoons.  Not only was she high-jacking the spoon and shoving it into her mouth she was biting down on it and I worried about her first teeth and gums so I found some basic soft spoons that will not inflict any damage, but are still susceptible to high-jacking by little hands.  She is loving the exploration of new foods, playing with her tongue and learning how to feed herself.

In Germany they start by introducing vegetables and then cereals and from what friends back home have told me they usually start with cereals first in the USA.  So we are doing both.  Typically a vegetable for three to four days then cereal for three days (sometimes with a bit of fruit in it).  Hannah is responding to this really well and doesn't seem to be having any digestive issues, except with sweet potatoes she seemed to spit/throw up more the next day.  Maybe they are too rich.

For cereal and the one jar of pears, I bought them at Alnatura - my favorite bio (organic) grocery store.  The baby food products as well as some of their dry goods can be bought at the DM (German equivalent Walgreens/CVS/RiteAid) stores as well.  For information on making baby food and what foods to start with I am using Wholesome Homemade Baby Food website, which is full of information.

I am not a pro by any means, but I am learning that so much of parenting is based on common sense and then there is the other half that seems to be the guessing game.