What is the best way to learn things?
The right answer is ……… by doing it yourself ! You can read books, E-books, go to college, lectures and talk to people. That’s what you can do as prep, nothing wrong with that, and even advisable. But the truth lays in taking things in to your own hands, figurative and literal. There is no way you can learn how chocolate tastes like from a book, or how it is to fall in love, but to fall in love yourself!
Well lets meet Harald, he has been a fishing addict all his live, and he bit my blog-hook on a sunny Saturday morning. Location between Bonn and Cologne, at a wooden carport in front of the “Broicher Hof”, a family farm with a producers shop. That morning he was early, and when the BMW was moved out of the way, he turns the carport into his stage, with lots of smoke like a real magician . His passion is fishing and afterwards eating his catch. But man wants to move on, improve him-her-self, so Harald started smoking his locally caught fishes. It took him about 10 years before he was satisfied with the results and dared to offer it to his customers.
From early days on the technique of smoking is used all over the world. According to Harald the origin lays in the use of a fire inside a tent, or more specific in a “YURT” or nomadic tent. The cut up meat of animals was hanged to dry above the fire just under the central roof opening. The drying and the smoking had a preservative effect, and with it came the now a days more important smokey taste. But before smoking Harold puts his fishies back in the water, that is in a salty bath with herbs and spices up to four hours. The secret of the ingredients stays with Harald, and you have to find out your own combo when you give it a go! Keep in mind you either salt the fish dry, or you pickle it in salty water, and smoke it after it is dried.
In his pitch black smoking cabinet the salmon and trout are dried, smoked and tendered at the same time in only 60 to 90 minutes. While tasting the result a world of lost ancestors eating in their tents opens before your eyes. A tear wells up when forgotten memories shows themselves through the smoke. Here in use is the warm method at around 70 degrees Celsius,/160 Fahrenheit, like it is for smoking eel and mackerel. Salmon is mostly smoked cold at around 30 degrees Celsius/90 Fahrenheit.
Have you already considered which tree you are going to cut down? The type of sawdust is very important to build up the flavor. You can consider trees like: oak, maple, hickory, cherry and apple, or the beech used by Harald. By now you get the idea why it can take a bit longer to perfect this process. Don’t forget to hang also your vegetables, cheese, sausages, tofu and salt in the smoke, as well as your whiskey in the making and your tea! Once tasted the real smoke flavor you won’t settle for the often used smoke condensate or artificial flavorings. Congratulations: your brains are learning what your tongue already new!
What to drink with the fish? The answer is only 7 meters away at her “STEHTISCH”, or bar table. Maria offers me cup of “FEDERWEISSER”, translated freely it sounds like white feather. It looks green and it tastes green, with tones of freshly cut leaves, earth and with a sweet tune to it. This is new to me, and I wonder if I like it.This juice from the freshly plucked and pressed grapes is in the process of fermentation. Little feathery flocks of yeast are still swirling and turning the sugars in to alcohol.
Maria like to drink it with her friends together with a freshly traditional baked “ZWIEBELKUCHEN”, or Onion pie. I think I can get the hang of that without to much effort! Frequently I am remembering this moment because of the smell of wine still lingering in our car. Only that evening I found out that “FEDERWEISSER”, only 0 to 4 percent alcohol, comes with a plastic capsule but without a cork! The yeast in this green wine is so active that it tolerates no obstructions, the best remedy is drinking it on the spot.
There are more places in the world that will have the freshly pressed grape juice, , this is the season now is the time. If you can’t find the “Federweisser”, you can try an apple cider, which for me comes closed. With it must come the “Zwiebelkuchen”, or onion pie, so here are a few links for the recipes.
Zum wohl, theDUTCHCOOK
Harald Nonn “smokehouse” is to be found on Saturdays at the Uckendorfer Strasse 14 in Niederkassel, Germany
Harald Nonn fishing gear shop is to be found at the Hauptstrasse 34 in Niederkassel, Germany tel: 0049-(0) 2208-769 714
Vineyard “Korvettenkapitan Ernst Heschler” is to be found in Alzey-Heimersheim, Germany, at the Sonnenbergstraße 50.Germany tel: 0049-(0) 6731 41247
Broicher Hof is to be found at the Uckendorfer Strasse 14 in Niederkassel, Germany tel: 0049- (0) 2208-3890