Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween In Eisenberg...

Trick or treat, anyone?

My mum had warned us that on Halloween we are to expect a lot of knocks on our door as most of the village kids do the rounds. Dressed for success indeed. Costumes as far as the eye can see and some gorier than others. But, I got the distinct parental advice to make sure and buy enough sweets.

As one does, one follows parental advice...and not just the once! The last two Halloweens, Bob and I had put out all the stops. We especially went and got a selection of sweets. Both of us relived our childhood and overloaded the trolley with the sweets we would have loved. Mini Mars bars, Bounties, Gummi Bears etc. Of course the kids of today aren't stupid, as they accept cash as well. Never mind the usual;

" Cash or card "
that you hear in shops everywhere, no, here it should be
" Sweets or cash "
I only know because afterwards the various mothers tell me that the kids are always proud of the wad of dosh they collect over Halloween. Let me tell you, that they at times collect oodles of money and they try and improve on the amount every year. In fact they are rather genius as the various groups that go out to knock on doors make sure to have a little brother or sister along for the cuteness factor. Cute pays.

Our collection of villages lend themselves ideally for Halloween. The kids ( or the one day a year you can call them real Monsters ) can roam about without any danger. Well, the only danger they face is the often repeated face pinch of elderly ladies.

" Oh, aren't you cute! "
often goes with a pinched cheek. Believe me, the village kids tell each other where to stand just out of arm's reach...

To be honest, Bob and I have not had the trick or treat crowd at our door. Two years in a row we were left with a mountain of sweets. This year we are going to buy sweets that we like...dark chocolate ( 80 % ) which of course will keep the loop intact. Nobody under the age of 30 likes dark chocolate. The warning will sweep through Kindergarden and school...

" Careful at Bob and Biggi's house. They give you chocolate that has gone off! "

Setting the scene for Halloween. A ghostly stage indeed.
Trick or treat anyone?


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Drinking Wine Is The Easy Part.

October is wine harvesting time and full of activities.

Don't you just love traditions? I do. There is something soothing to know that certain things are done at the same time, year after year. It gives me a sense of permanence which is one of the most sought after commodities for an emi & immigrant. Or to put it simply, putting down roots.

We are into our fourth year in Burgenland ( or as I like to think of it, wine mecca ) and the mystery of how to make wine is making space for knowledge of how to make wine. Bob and I have mastered the lower rungs of the wine making ladder.

Such as the tedious cleaning ritual after every chore associated with making wine, which Team BiggiBob have mastered rather well. Working with a powerful water hose is second nature to us. Well maybe not so much as both of us tend to look like drowned rats afterwards.

Oh, don't feel sorry for me. It is such a privilege to have access to the inner workings of a vineyard. Before any bottle of wine gets filled, a great sequence of events takes place.

The amazing wine made in our area is almost as nature intended it to be. No added flavours needed except maybe a wooden barrel. When you drink our local wine, headaches never happen. That heavy limb feeling the day after a long dinner party...not here!

The Eisenberg hills have a mineral rich soil and a lot of the grapes have this heavenly mixture of minerals as their nourishment. One or two vineyards are joining the organic culture and as nice as our wine already is...the future vintages will taste even more divine.

Here are a few photos taken of the various stages of making wine. They are not in sequence and taken over the last three years.

This is at the end of harvesting day. The freshly picked bunches of grapes get de-stemmed but often little stems get through the goal post. Never mind, Biggi is here to pick them out. Standing at that angle for an hour is worth it when you get to taste the end result. Less stems, better flavour.
Filtering the wine is done a few month down the road. But what a great colour...
The de-stemming machine needs an attentive attendant. Those blades turning could take your fingers off!
Bob at work pressing the grapes...
My Mum & Bob manning the press!
The pressed result. Not yet wine but not grape juice either. I love this deep red colour.
Life in a wine making area is great fun. Everyone loves to talk, drink and tell you about their wine experience. Three cheers for Burgenland and its many interesting facets.