Wednesday, 22 December 2010 by kinakoJam
The pleasures and calorific terrors of Christmas eating here in Germany are truly hard to resist (I was encouraged at my Iyengar class yesterday to see that even the most dedicated of yogis had developed seasonal paunches).
As usual, December has been a month of heavy eating for me, but our work Christmas party two days ago was the cherry on the cake. Three colleagues arrived from Munich with a whole sack full of pretzels from cult bakery Hofpfisterei and boiled up a pot of Bavarian weisswurst with sweet mustard.
Then, a couple hours later, we all set off from the office by foot, through the snow, for an evening at a local organic cooking school which holds classes throughout the festive season. The classes are more of an exercise in group bonding & eating than anything, though they do give you some pointers on chopping red cabbage. For minimum stress, they take care of putting the goose in the oven a couple of hours before your group arrives, so you can concentrate mostly on getting drunk.
Knocking out out comfort food classics with workmates was a good time, even though we usually have very different tastes: some people watch their diet, others eat cake every day, some love putrid french cheese, others can't stand any cheese apart from the stuff on pizza, & one is an orange food phobic except when it comes to Fanta. German comfort food brings everyone together.
We were fitted with aprons, served wine or rosewater bubbly and a toasted coconut and lentil soup as a starter, then set to work peeling parsnips, chopping a massive pot full of red cabbage, and mixing ground almonds with rosewater & honey for chocolate-coated marzipan bonbons, at three different workstations (one for salad, and seitan for the vegetarians, one for hot side dishes, and one for dessert).
Within a short space of time, fingers stained purple from the cabbage, we were feasting on the goose with psychedelic-hued 'rotkohl' in a buttery-textured apple juice and spice reduction, potato-parsnip-horseradish mash topped with crunchy candied pumpkin seeds, and a warm 'chutney' made of chopped chestnuts with rosemary and organic store-bought marmalade. Followed by the dark chocolate marzipan bon bons and a frozen parfait that our dessert team had made just a couple of hours earlier from whipped soya cream and crumbled spicy 'lebkuchen' gingerbread pieces.
To me, it seemed the soya cream didn't leave the same sour, sick sensation in the stomach that large amounts of regular cream tend to. So I felt it was my duty to indulge in multiple servings, each one doused with a spicy warm plum compote.
I'm sure I've never eaten so many ostensibly wholesome calories at one sitting.
But you know what they say. Gluttony only comes once a year.
Denis sorting 'postelein' leaves for the salad.
Erik the chestnut-preppin' weapon.
'Bonbonbaklat', said Jens.
Yannick's brother Sven has 3 michelin stars. Yannick doesn't eat a lot, but he's pretty good at cutting cabbage.
Genesis of rotkohl.
Christmas is coming, the Goose is getting fat (me too).
Lebkuchen parfait penitence.