Monday, April 07, 2008

In search of the illusive fashion herb

We went to Polenztal in the Sächsische Schweiz yesterday, braving rain and cold in search of the very fashionable Bärlauch, aka wild garlic. This time of year you can get rolls with wild garlic, cheese with wild garlic, every foodstuff you can possibly imagine, all with wild garlic!! This has only been going on for the last couple years, as far as I can remember. Supposedly, it tastes like a mild garlic (which it does) but doesn't stink like garlic (which I contest, as do some of my students). You can see it above, that lovely long leaf in the middle. At least that looks like it. You see, wild garlic has a wicked little Doppelgänger, the pretty and highly poisonous lily of the valley. Last year at the same time we had to throw away a whole bag of leaves that looked like wild garlic because I also picked a whole bunch of lily of the valley leaves. Oops. So what we did this year, which is probably pretty forbidden, was dig up a couple of the little guys and plant them on the balcony to see what they turn into - lilies or Lauch? We already had some wild garlic, but with our lovely German weather this spring, it started growing and then got frozen.
What we did get yesterday and eat was a whole bag full of watercress. My in-house chef turned it into a delicious salad with endives and some homemade dressing. It tasted good, but if I die suddenly, you'll know he didn't clean it well enough and I got a fox tapeworm. My life is so adventurous!

I stayed out of the herb collecting this time around, what with my massive failure last year, and hung out, looked after the kid, and took pictures of the scenery, asking myself the whole time: "Why did we bother going to Gomera for Christmas when we can see all this cool moss and rainy forest scenery right here practically in our back yard, with way easier trails?"

Everything was so green!

And so fantastically mossy!

Then we got stalked by some ducks. I think they had rabies.

We were even lucky enough to see this precious little doc hopper.
By the time doc hopper hopped along, I was getting hungry and moody, because I hadn't expected the herb collecting to be so successful and thus take so long. But all the waiting and picture taking (...without my regular camera, because I thought it was broken. It turns out I just forgot how to use all of the settings. The frog pictures could have been so much better...) paid off! We went to the Czech Republic, to Decin, a super beautiful city on the Elbe River with big supermarkets that are open on Sunday and are full of delicious exotic sweets we don't know in Germany and can't pronounce in Czech!

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