4-28-19 Frankfort and 4-29-19 Speyer and the Vineger Tasting

Our next stop was Frankfurt. This central German city on the river Main is a major financial hub that is home to the European Central bank.

This was one of the buildings, right across from the river boat, it wasn’t destroyed and thus didn’t have to be rebuilt.

While we were docked close to the city center, the historical section is virtually all rebuilt after WWII but it gives a great idea of what it might have looked like during the day. Those buildings that have survived are few in number and unfortunately when they we anxious to rebuild many of the new buildings are stark 60’s style, very unattractive. However, the Square that now exists is lovely. In this square they have a traditional Christmas Market each year.

The square of Frankfort – most of these were rebuilt after WWII
One of the buildings in the square of Frankfort

 

A nice statue in Frankfort – no clue who it was at this point.
Maybe Janeen knows….
Holding back the bull market. These are located in front of the Stock Exchange in Frankfort

After getting back to the boat we cruised down the Main and back to the Rhine stopping at Speyer. Along the way, Janeen joined the Wine and Art Class on the upper deck.

Our budding artist with her instructor

There she had some interesting local wine and tried her hand at producing some floral art.

Making beautiful pictures

The Speyer Cathedral that includes tombs of eight Holy Roman Emperors and German Kings dominates Speyer. However, having seen one too many cathedrals, we opted for a special tour to a vinegar tasting.

Janeen at the entrance to the place

Now, we have done a LOT of wine tastings even done a Modena balsamic vinegar tasting, but this was our first experience tasting this style of vinegar. Making vinegar is so easy it can be done by accident. Making it on purpose for a specific reason is a whole different story. Our visit to Weinessinggut Doktorenhof (Wine Vinegar Doktorenhof) was certainly an educational trip to try and begin to understand what this was all about.

We began our adventure tasting five different vinegars, varying in sweetness and flavors.

Our guide – interesting fellow with lots of stories to tell

Each one was explained in detail, identifying the fruit or herbs used and also the uses of the vinegar. Some are used as an aperitif and others for overall well being.

Not a large pour but you didn’t need much

Each is infused with different flavor ranging from wild cherries, apricots, vanilla beans, fig, wild oranges, lavender and any number of other things. Basically you start off with a batch of wine and you spoil it using a “mother” starter. This turns the wine into vinegar. Once that is completed add various flavorings to infuse the entire batch with a specific flavor or aroma.

Our guide for the tasting, George, explained the manufacturing process that has been handed down from generation to generation and the philosophy of the house.

Very interesting tasting glasses being held by my lovely wife!

While they make a LOT of different blends (over 50) we tasted only five – Ficus – the Fig, Angels Kissing the Night, Tears of Cleopatra, Balsam of St. Damian and Giacomo Casanova. Each was preceded with a description of what was in the blend as well as a story or two. Additionally there was some tasting and even some blending suggestions (champagne and Angels Kissing the Night for example).   Each of the 5 different vinegars was tasted in hand-blown glasses together with chocolates and other treats.

A handful of tasting glasses

After our tasting we donned a monastic looking robe and headed into the aging cellars. The cellars look very like wine aging cellars – barrels filled with juice. The atmosphere lets one breath pure, healing, vinegar fumes.

Lots of different things are used to flavor the vinegars
Very large jars of herbs and spices for blending to create the flavors for the vinegars

There was also a room filled with herbs used as part of the blending process. Vinegars age for a minimum of 3 years and others can go as long as 10 years. The aging process is to fully infuse the herbs into the vinegar and create more complex vinegar.

While I have heard of people drinking filtered apple cider vinegar on a daily basis for health reasons, many people for the same reason use the vinegars produced at Doktorenhof.

Some of the items you could purchase. We bought the tall skinny white bottle

We did pick up a bottle of Angels Kissing the Night and I feel better already having had an ounce every day since.

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