Tomatoes, chanterelles, the most fragrant fresh berries I’ve ever tasted – the Muenster market had incredible seasonal produce just as we arrived in time to catch the tail end of asparagus season in Germany.
I haven’t always been a fan of white asparagus because the spears we get in the US are dry and stringy. German white asparagus is a whole other story – it’s tender, juicy and extravagant when topped with a hollandaise sauce.
I made a bit of an upheaval when I prepared the asparagus with pancetta and balsamic vinegar, instead of the traditional cream-based sauce, the old German stand-by.
“Isn’t it fun to try something new,” I said to my mother-in-law and her friends, trying to convince them that it’s ok to use pancetta with asparagus. A handful of wild chanterelles, cooked with fresh garlic and parsley, made a flavorful addition to our salad for a vegetable-rich lunch. A half glass of crisp white wine later and the asparagus had quickly disappeared.
Later that afternoon, we spent two solid hours shopping through the market, stopping at a nearby cafe outside the tower of St. Lamberti’s steeple, attached to the church that dominated the square.
“What are those cages?” I asked my husband as our Aperol drinks arrived. “Not sure, but I remember something about them putting people in there. The must have done something bad,” he remarked as we sipped on chilled beverages.
Apparently, in 1534, there was great political and religious rebellion started by a group called the Melchiorites, led by John of Leiden. Once the rebellion was overthrown, the lead Melchiorites’ corpses were displayed in these cages. Now these empty cages are sad reminders of a morbid scene that overshadow this square in a lovely town. I preferred to turn my thoughts to our evening plans at family friends’, where a feast in our honor was being prepared.
Rudy and Regina invited us to eat wild game, from Rudy’s personal freezer stock that he fills on his routine hunting expeditions. The menu included wild boar and “reh” which is a “roe” deer, a slightly smaller reddish deer with short antlers.
Wild boar stew might sound exotic or even a bit scary, but it really tastes like a cross between pork and beef. Now, I’ve had wild deer before and this one was no different, as it had that strong odor that most people call gamey or as I think of it – “sweaty socks”.
“Have some black berry sauce with it,” my husbands said as I wrinkled my nose. Almost instantly the pungent flavor melted away into sweet and sour bliss.