Pope Food at Wiesenstein on Sat 9 October 2010
Seeing the Pope in the UK recently stirred my religious roots, which are profound and of a nature not often encountered, despite my priest trying to stab me during confession. More important than my childhood trauma is that the Pope reminded me about how much our little club has persistently neglected German food. Over the years, we have rarely tried normal traditional German cuisine, mainly because I don't think Germans have much of a cuisine. I know it is probably unfair and a matter of taste but stuff like cooked-to-death meats like tafelspitz and schweinhaxe does not really do much for me, and neither does sauerkraut or knodel. Saying that though, once in a while, some German dishes have surprised me, like a good leberspaetzle or a nicely textured weisswurst. The general impression I have is that food from Southern Germany is probably more interesting and varied than stuff from the North, and the Pope seems to have done pretty well too. With this in mind, I have decided that we will go for a Pope-inspired Swabian dinner this month.
The place is called Gasthaus Wiesenstein at Viktoria-Luise-Platz 12a, which serves Schwabische food such as Badisches Schneckensüppchen, various kinds of Maultaschen and something (substantial) called Elefantenohr. They also do some interesting offal dishes which I find is sort of a badge of authenticity as most German restaurants would be too wimpish to serve favourites of the Pope like tripe, kidneys, heart and lungs. Not that I am religious enough to often eat the stuff myself but it shows that this place is the real thing, or at least, has heart. :o) Anyway, the website is on http://www.wiesenstein.de/html/wiesenstein-_viktoria-luise-pl.html if you want to check it out.
As they only do wines from the region, which would probably be not a little sharp-tasting, we elected not to try for a special inclusive menu. The menu is also very (very) varied and it would have been too much of a responsibility to choose the dishes for the dinner and more importantly, I don't want to be blamed for the wine selection. So please order and pay on the night - no need to pay anything up front for this dinner. The dishes are also pretty inexpensive so I would not think anyone other than the Pope can eat more than 20-25 Euro for dinner, plus wine/beer/water.
Anyway, dinner is set for Saturday, 9 October 2010 and if you want to try good old real Schwabian food (as eaten by Popes), do email asap to let me know by Wednesday 6 October and I will try to fit you in for the dinner. I know that the notice is pretty short but I can only sneak away from my job in London on limited dates. We don't have a big booking at the moment but if more people want to come, then I am sure we can expand the booking.
See you soon!
How it went on the night...
To be honest, I had not very high expectations for the dinner, especially as I understood that the Pope had deliberately misled me about being from Schwabia when in fact, he is actually Bavarian. But I soon understood his predilection for Schwabisch food because it was actually surprisingly unexpectedly amazingly rather good! I had the Badisches Schneckensüppchen (snail in cream) soup and it was simply great. Creamy, silky, aromatic, with the snails perfectly textured and tasty. Since Helmut Kohl was recently on TV, I ordered the Schwäbischer Saumagen (stuffed pig's stomach) in his honour, and I can now understand why he insisted that every head of state that visited Germany had to have one. And unlike President Chirac, I rather enjoyed mine, though I have to also add that it may be some time before I order another one as it was so substantial!
Oh, and the gay bar where we met up before dinner must be the most innocent gay bar in Berlin. There were no men in moustaches kissing, no women playing tongue ping-pong and all we got were some suggestive orange swizzle sticks (which Isabella was modelling in one of the pictures). Oh well.
The next day, I was wandering around the Botanical Gardens and took rather a lot of somewhat boring pictures but since this is my website, I can put up whatever I want, so here they are.