A Skywalk and a Lemon Scented Asparagus Egg Feldgieker Tart

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On a Spring day in April, I packed my camera gear and props to make the roughly one-and-a-half-hour drive from Weimar to Eichsfeld. The weather was, as true to April's nature, fairly changeable. It was warm, my spirit was high and I was really looking forward to this trip. The district of Eichsfeld is a beautiful region in Thuringia, with its rolling hills and untouched nature, the landscape at times reminds me of something taken from the chapters of a Jane Austen book: a Nature of beauty and grace.

I was not only going to discover some of that beauty and grace on my visit to the Sonnenstein, I was also going to take a walk on a glass footbridge above the Sonnenstein cliff. If that was not enough excitement, I was going to have the opportunity to taste some of what the Eichsfeld region produces and is famous for. 

The "Skywalk", a glass catwalk protruding approximately 14 meters from the cliff of Sonnenstein, allows the hiker to take in a 360-degree view of the stunning Thuringian landscape before them. It was completed in the Spring of 2017 and offers ethereal views not only of the Eichsfeld region in Thuringia but also the Mittlegebirge and Harz.

 

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The hike up to the Sonnenstein begins at a parking place at the foot of the cliff near Holungen. It is a fairly steep climb but once mastered, the reward is a magnificent view of the breathtaking scenery and Spring colours. The hills painted in various shades of green and rape-yellow and the candyfloss like clouds against a baby-blue sky provided a much-needed comfort to my eyes. Moments like these always remind me why I fell in love with Thuringia and why I have chosen Weimar as my home. Leaving the hustle and bustle of big cities like Dubai, San Francisco or Doha behind me, it is the mix of this intact nature, the culturally rich heritage, the timeless architecture, and design, the pure generosity and friendliness of the Thuringians, and of course the food, that makes me call Thuringia home now.  

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Once on top of the Sonnenstein plateau the "Friedenskreuz", a ten-meter-high cross to honour the local poet and pastor Dr. Hermann Iseke is one of the first things that catches the eye. The location invites the visitor to linger, enjoy the moment and the views into the distance. Each time the light changes the panorama is painted in different hues for unforgettable impressions.

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It is not just the diverse range of different nature types and the remarkable sights that has given this state the label of "the Green Heart of Germany". Thuringia is famous across the borders for its fabulous sausages. The mighty Bratwurst is probably the most well-known export but sausage-making in Thuringia has evolved through the centuries into genuine culinary art. The variety of different steamed, scalded, and cured sausages is truly astounding. While the taste and texture of the sausages also depend on the types of meat used, mainly pork and beef, but also turkey or venison and game, the true character of the finished product is defined by the blend of seasonings which is every butcher’s well-kept secret.  

As I headed to the Eichsfelder Landschlachterei Am Ohmberg, I was very much looking forward to getting more insight into discovering more about these secrets. I met with Herr Zappe, an affectionate and good-humoured man in his sixties, although he looked far from it. We quickly found a sympathetic rapport with each other and Herr Zappe openly narrated many stories about his company and life.

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Shortly after the Wall came down, Herr Zappe, who was working at the Landwirtschaftliche Berufsgenossenschaft (LBG) during the DDR era, decided together with his partner to establish a butcher-shop as a subsidiary company of the LBG. However, the family Zappe were keen to offer more transparency and take many of the processes into their own hands. In 1995 they decided to cut out the middle-man and with the advice of the veterinary inspection office, they decided to process each step themselves - from keeping the animals to the humane slaughtering and finally to the production of their own sausages and cured meats.  

In the summer of 1998, they opened their own firm in the form known till today - the Eichsfelder Landfleischerei Am Ohmberg. 

Since then the family Zappe have opened four shops in Thuringia, selling their special Eichsfelder sausage and cold-cuts. While the main shop is still on the old grounds in Bischofferode, Herr Zappe is proud of the achievements over the years. The company has grown, employing 20 butchers and vendors and as a 100% subsidiary of the agricultural association another 50 employees as farmers and cultivators (Landwirte) work there. Today they make over 1.5 million Euros in revenue, a fantastic sum considering Herr Zappe does not believe in extensive marketing but rather depends mainly on word of mouth.

"Es ist ein Selbstläufer!" (“It’s a sure-fire sucess!”) he states

As we walk through the cold-rooms of the butchery, where sausages hang in rows and rows at different stages of air-drying, Herr Zappe explains the several processes required to make a specific type of sausage. Pork is the main source of meat and they make sure that almost every part of the pig is used, not wasting anything. They slaughter a limited amount of pigs during the week, during the seasonal holiday period howerver, they increase their production. 

It is easy to see that Herr Zappe is filled with a certain pride at what he has achieved, although he says a few times that it is not an easy business. He introduced me to his daughter Kathrin who was behind the shop counter serving the customers who came to the shop in regular streams. As I was setting up my food shot in the shop, one thing that I noticed was that each customer that came into the shop was greeted by name.  This personal treatment is something that is of true value for Herr Zappe. 

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I ask Herr Zappe if he is happy doing what he does. He looks at me and smiles. It is a different kind of happiness - a kind that has not been easy to achieve, with the ups and downs and the ever-changing demands of our times.  

As a student in agrochemistry at the University of Halle, he graduated in 1986 as Dipl. Agrar Ing. Coming back to Eichsfeld he joined the LBG as "Pflanzenschutz Agronöm". At that time, he tells me, agriculture had a different value in the DDR, it was an important job. Shortly after the Wall came down he became Chairman of the board of directors at the agricultural association and Managing Director of the Eichsfelder Landfleischerei. Together with his wife, who also works at the Landfleischerei, they have 3 kids and he proudly tells me that is a 4-time grandfather at 60!  

Helping me style my shot of the sausage board, Herr Zappe is very open and tells me some of the ingredients and spices that make the sausages so tasty. The items offered at the counter all look amazing and as Herr Zappe sees my enthusiasm he carefully asks me if I eat pork. He seems surprised that I do! But I assure him that being married to a Vogtlander and living in Thuringia since 2008 I would be missing out on the good stuff if I deprived myself of the sausage and cold-meats available here. Herr Zappe disappears for a few minutes and returns with a bag of fresh bread rolls.

TTG-Eichsfeld_Sonnenstein-0081 After my shoot, he invites me to the office spaces where his wife and 2 employees have already laid the table with a small selection of the sausage, spiced mince, and the fresh rolls. From my food props, I offer the gherkins and mustard. We all chat amiably and laugh at anecdotes, and once again I am overcome by a feeling of pure contentment. 

Herr Zappe offers me a few slices of a sausage, looking vaguely similar to a salami.

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The "Feldgieker" is a specialty of the Eichsfeld region and differs to many of the other sausages. It is made fresh, after the slaughtering when the body-temperature is still at 25 C. Pork mince is seasoned with a blend of spices and put into casings, after which they are left to air-dry in maturing cold-rooms for several weeks. The thicker the sausage, the longer they have to hang to dry and mature, to allow all the flavours to unfold. Sometimes this process can take up to a year.  

Back at home, I am keen to create my own recipe. The idea has been developing in my head ever since I left Herr Zappe and his team in Bischofferode. That day as we were seated at the table tasting the Feldgieker, I was told that sometimes it is pan-fried and served with eggs. I have been playing with the idea ever since then. An awesome specimen of the "Feldgieker" has been hanging in my kitchen for a few days.

In my recipe, I look forward to commemorating the Eichsfeld region, but also celebrating Spring and the colours I experienced at the Sonnestein and honouring the day I spent with Herr Zappe in beautiful Eichsfeld.    

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My tart has a wonderfully light flaky crust and is spread with a simple mixture of thick sour-cream and quark, seasoned with a hint of smoky paprika. Caramelized onions offer a sweet aroma, offsetting the robust flavors of the Feldgieker sausage. The grassy flavour of green asparagus highlights the essence of spring and does a great job counterbalancing the aromas of lemon zest. And the egg sunny-side up is my personal tribute to the Sonnenstein and the day spent with Herr Zappe and his team - kind, honest and incredibly friendly people who made this a memorable day for me.  Don't worry about making your own crust if you do not want to – buy a good store-bought crust. Best of all, this tart tastes great cold and can be wrapped, put in a picnic basket and enjoyed outdoors. Take it with you on your own trip discovering Thuringia.

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Recipe: Asparagus Egg Feldgieker Tart

By
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 store-bought or homemade tarte flambée crust (alternatively use puff pastry
  • 200g natural quark
  • 100g thick sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Sea salt and freshly crushed pepper to taste
  • 500g green asparagus, washed and woody ends cut off
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 to 3 slices of Eichsfelder Feldgieker, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium sized red onion, cut into slices
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • Dried edible flowers (optional)

Method

  1. Roll out the dough on to a tart form, lined with some baking paper. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (please check the instructions on the packet of your crust). Mix together the quark, schmand, smoked paprika, dried thyme and season to taste. Set aside.
  2. Lay out the asparagus in a baking pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the sprigs of thyme, mix and roast in the oven for approx. 15 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan to medium heat. Add the onion slices and slowly sauté till golden and caramelized. Set aside.
  4. Put together your tart by spreading the quark-schmand mixture on the base of the crust. Spread the caramelized onions, then lay out the asparagus spears. Spread the Feldgieker sausage over the tart. Break the egg in the center of the tart and immediately place in the hot oven. Bake for approx. 15 to 20 minutes or until the egg has set and the sides of the crust are light golden.
  5. Take out of the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle with the zest of lemon and if using some of the dried flowers. Enjoy warm or cold, with a salad and some olives.
Notes:
  • Not everyone will have access to the Feldgieker – if you cannot make a trip to Eichfeld and get your hands on this sensational sausage then use any spiced salami or even a chorizo instead.
  • The sour cream in this recipe needs to be fairly thick. If yours is thin and runny, place a cheesecloth into a sieve and allow to hang and drip for a few hours.
 

You might like these summer tart ideas from WFLH:

Roasted Tomato Aubergine and Tahini Tart (0009) by Meeta K. Wolff Bacon Cheese Leek Tart (0081) by MeetaK Polenta Tomato Basil Tart (0055)
Roasted Tomato Aubergine and Tahini Tart Bacon, Cheese and Leek Tart Tomato Basil Tart with Polenta Crust


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2018 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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33 comments:

  1. Meeta your photos are absolutely stunning. I felt like I was on the trip with you. The asparagus egg tart looks mouthwatering, but I'm jealous of those amazing salumi... YUM!

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  2. this tart looks absolutely amazing! and your photos are gorgeous

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  3. Oh boy.. this tart looks delicious and tempting..with the asparagus and that sausage.. its a winner.
    From: Calleigh

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  4. What a stunning looking tart. This would really wow lunch guests.

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  5. Meeta! This is just absolutely stunning! I so enjoyed reading about it and seeing the world you saw through your gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing this incredibly experience with us!

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  6. What beautiful scenery! And the asparagus tart looks delicious. I'd enjoy a visit to the butcher shop and I love how they greet everyone by name.

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  7. Beautiful looking countryside and that sausage looks delicious. The recipe is something totally new to me.

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  8. Oh my gosh, what a beautiful area. Heck, even the tart is beautiful. I would love to go here and try the tart one day.

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  9. Oh my gosh all of these pictures are absolutely gorgeous. That hurt is stunning. I would not want to eat it it's a work of art LOL. We will definitely make this.

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  10. This tart is absolute perfection! How do you make your meals always look like a piece of art?!

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  11. I love asparagus! These photos really bring the food to life! Need to try this pizza for myself!

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  12. This looks so fresh and amazing! My kind of meal for sure. Your pictures are fantastic and the platter of fresh sausage at the end of the post well that's just my kind of lunch. Doesn't get fresher than that.

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  13. The dish looks amazing and we love asparagus. Those sausages do look special as are the views from the top. Would love to go there someday.

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  14. Oh my goodness how good does that tart sound and what a beautiful looking place to spend some time relaxing and enjoy it!

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  15. The skywalk looks like such an amazing experience. Your food photography is amazing, and I love how you show how these great local ingredients were brought together for such a cool unique recipe.

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  16. What gorgeous images and an area that I'd love to visit! My husband grew up in Europe and this is just the type of recipe that he would enjoy.

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  17. Wow what an amazing history and photography behind this beautiful dish. It looks too good to ruin by taking a bite. It looks like a piece of art.

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  18. Everything on this page is gorgeous and I absolutely love the addition of the colorful edible flowers on the tart! so cool!

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  19. That tart not only looks delicious, it's beautiful! You have such a dreamy approach to photography that makes your blog so unique.

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  20. Oh my! These picots are simply stunning! I love the views you captured here!!

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  21. What an amazing dish! The colors and the photography are absolutely stunning! I want to try it just from the pictures!

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  22. Okay, that looks absolutely delicious! I love asparagus and this dish makes my stomach growl.

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  23. Wow! What a beautiful experience! This looks absolutely delicious! I feel like I could almost taste it with the amazing photos!

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  24. This looks incredible! I’ve never tried asparagus before can you believe that? I’d love to give this dish a try though and see how I like it! - Jeanine

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  25. Wow what beautiful photos. I enjoyed seeing the sausage making too. And that tart looks so delicious and vibrant.

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  26. Wow that Skywalk is so cool and the view is breathtaking! Reminds me of a similar one I've been to in British Columbia.

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  27. oh, my goodness! breathtaking views and delicious platter....heaven! Thanks for sharing!

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  28. This place looks so beautiful and peaceful! I almost forgot the post was about food until I got to the last several pictures! You're photos are so beautiful and make the food look delicious!

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  29. Sonnenstein looks spectacular and I love that you ended your post with such a delicious tart recipe :)

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  30. I can't help myself from scrolling over and over. Looking at the pictures makes me really drool and imagining all of it in front of we. Would be saving the recipe so I can try it on my own as well.

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  31. It's so fun to travel the world, eating all of the foods native to the area. This tart has me hunting for my passport.

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  32. Oh wow. It looks so beautiful! All the photos are stunning. I bet the tart was delicious!

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  33. That tart is absolutely gorgeous. I love the colors so much.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta