Kölner Kölsch

Not for want of writing, but gastronomic highlights are few and far between in this teutonic land. Let me attempt a brief description, as now, at 22.57, I am seated in an S-Bahn rolling through every poxy station between the fair cities of Köln and Düsseldorf.

As you may recall, it was decided to spend the evening with my Man in Turkey, who is staying in Köln . Accordingly, we set off from the fairground at closing time, and with the assistance of an Intercity train, we arrived in Köln at 19:15. Rapid visit of the Dom to refresh my knowledge of gothic architecture, then an obligatory shopping visit in Kaufhof to buy wind-up aeroplanes, Barbie doll sets and Gameboy cartridges for the kids – yes, I assure you kids are very expensive!!!

It is raining. We have no raincoat nor brolly. My intended place of call, Em Krütschke in the Altstadt, is firmly geschlossen, being it Montag. Hence we repair to the nearest hostelry, an anonymous Gasthof, where we are offered the most standard germanic fare: Bauernplatte, Herrenplatte, Jägerschnitzel and variations of pork meat in brown sauces, Bratkartoffeln and Krautsalat. Yes, OK every now and then, but tiring after six days in a row!! But my MIT is an entertaining fellow, and we wistfully reminisce about favourite Istanbul kebap establishments.

We exit the Gasthof. It has stopped raining. We head back towards the Hauptbahnhof, but then I make a beeline for an old haunt of mine, Cölner (sic) Hofbräu Früh, maybe my favourite German brewhouse next to Spatenhaus in Munich. This, fellow Gastronauts, is the home of Kölsch, where the Köbes serve the beer direct from the barrel, and the refills arrive as soon as the glasses are emptied. A most delicate amber nectar, light and very drinkable, so much so we down three glasses each before remembering we have to head for Düsseldorf!! The Speisekarte is also very enticing and makes us regret our earlier hurry to get out of the rain!

Gute nacht!

more German food…

German food is not known for its lightness and delicacy. Rheinischer Sauerbraten or Düsseldorfer Senfrostbraten are staples. At this time of year you can get Spargel – asparagus – , but they insist on smothering it with Hollandaise Sauce, accompanied by Wienerschnitzel and gigantic Beilagen.

Yesterday night was different as we went with my Man in Japan and friend to a Japanese restaurant: sushi, sashimi, grilled eel, rice, pickles, Altbier, Pils, warm and cold sake. Proceedings were enlivened by a loud group of Japanese at the next table. MIJ commented that Japanese abroad behave in a less constrained manner than at home – hence get drunk and rowdy!

We are feeling somewhat tired after several days on the go and with the dreary wet weather. So tonight has been decreed rest night and I will relax with my latest Harry Potter instalment.

Monday night has been booked with my Man in Turkey. We will take a train down to Köln and go straight to Früh am Dom – a real Cologne institution where the Köbes (waiters) serve you Kölsch non-stop. Kölsch is a most wonderful light beer that slips effortlessly down your throat!

Ein Prosit!


Exhibition time again – I’m spending the week (!) at our largest trade show in Germany. Finally got to Düsseldorf last Monday at 18:15. 1.025 km exactly from Bassano, in about 11 hours. Not bad going, considering the endless sequence of Baustellen on the Autobahnen. Seems as if Schröder wants to spruce up the roads before the election, but has failed miserably.

Arrive in hotel to discover it’s a DUMP. An EXPENSIVE DUMP! Not that it’s dirty or anything serious, but at DM 300 a night for a single I’d expect wallpaper that wasn’t peeling, sheets with no holes and a telephone with some minimal kind of connectivity to hook a modem. I don’t even have the option of moving elsewhere as it has all been paid for in advance. Never mind. I console myself with the idea that I won’t be in the room for much anyway.

Evening meal at my one of my favourite Düsseldorf breweries, Schumacher in the Oststrasse. House motto: “Ein jeder spricht vom vielen trinken, aber keiner spricht vom grossen Durst“. Standard German brewery fare: Eisbein, Haxe, Schlachtplatte and variants of hearty dishes. To drink: what else but the famed Altbier! This will be the Leitmotiv for every evening in Düsseldorf. Other good addresses for you: Brauerei Frankenheim in the Wielandstrasse, Zum Schlüssel in the Bolkerstrasse and Zum Uerige in the Bergerstrasse!

Tonight, being it Friday night, is pub crawl Abend: with my Man in Japan, Man in UK and Woman in Switzerland and assorted hangers-on. Should be fun!

Exception: Japanese meal on Saturday night with MIJ and the head honcho of the company I visited in Nara last January. It’s the return match and I will be paying!!!

The Messe itself is VERY, VERY BUSY! I hardly have the time to uncork a bottle of wine or gouge a piece of Parmigiano extravecchio that hordes of punters invade the stand. Great to be rushed off one’s feet.