My first Thanksgiving in Germany was a small ordeal. I bought some expensive seitan gyro from the organic grocery store and ate it with a big salad at the little white table in my room with my au pairing host family. No turkey. No family gathering. No pumpkin pie. None of the traditions that I had grown up with in the United States. One little old flight across the ocean and there I was surrounded by people who didn’t even know what Thanksgiving was all about. I explained Thanksgiving to my au pair family, they nodded in interest, and life went on.
Fall is here, and I might not have even noticed if it hadn’t been for the Federweißer—a new wine, sold in open bottles mid-fermentation. It’s sweet like apple juice, with a delicious yeasty tone that lingers pleasantly on your tongue after every sip.
We were in a tiny village outside of Mainz when the subject came up. Was there Federweißer already? Or was it too early even for new wine? “Well why don’t we just walk over to the winery and find out,” my friend’s father said—a sentence that made me swoon for small-town Germany once again.