Serving pie is not as common here in Germany as it is in other parts of the world, especially in the US where it is part of nearly any celebration. The perhaps best-known and likely most popular pie over here is apple pie. In fact, many here will not know that pie is not always sweet. In defence, this is partly because we call our pies ‘pastete’ and these usual come without the crust and a more finely worked body of meat, poultry, or game. Which means, the whole pie thing is somewhat lost in translation over here.
I’ve played with the idea to make a ‘proper’ pie on a couple of occasions but actually never got around making one. Mainly by fear of screwing up the artful crust toppings.
But it’s 2021, and that means it is time to overcome my fears and accept the challenge!
In fact, with annual Pie Day looming on 23rd January, there was no further excuse.
It might have been easy to settle for an apple pie, but considering all the sweets, cakes, and desserts I devoured over the past holiday season, it needed to be something heartier. Thus, my choice fell on this savoury vegetarian broccoli-zucchini pie. It’s easy-peasy to prepare and as it turned out, there is no reason to worry about the crust (recipe below if you want to try it yourself).
The only other question remaining to be resolved was: What I am going to pair it with? Of course, a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir would all have work well. Which in the end seemed so down to the textbook that I had to go for something more unusual.
Pairing whisky with food
The idea pairing whisky with food (or better food with whisky) would perhaps never have crossed my mind had I not received an invitation to join a food and whisky pairing evening at one of my favourite German country hotels two years ago.
That evening had left me quite intrigued with whisky in general (I’ve never been a whisky drinker before) and whisky and food pairings in particular; especially since I would have never imagined this to work as wonderfully as it did.
Read all about that experience here: A night of whisky and fine dining at Hotel Hohenhaus.
In fact, whilst not your traditional pairing, recently whisky and food pairings indeed seem to become more popular.
Much like pairing food and wine, off course, not every whisky pairs well with any type of food. Yet, like food and wine pairings, which whisky to pair with which food in the end comes pretty much down to your own taste.
That said, off course there are some pairings that work better than others.
If you are curious to try a whisky and food pairing, go for seafood, salmon, sushi, lamb, poultry, grass-fed beef, roasted pork, root vegetables, and a variety of cheeses including cheddar and aged gouda. On the sweet side, whisky pairs well with orange flavoured chocolate, apple pie or fruitcake.
About Wild Distillery
There are now around 250 whisky distilleries in Germany, almost twice as many as in Scotland. Did you know?
It would be perfectly understandable if that number surprises you. Honestly, I was fairly surprised myself when I started looking into German whisky and found out about those stats.
So obviously, the recent global whisky boom has not gone unnoticed here and the number of whisky distilleries popping up lately is quite astonishing. And it’s not only a numbers game. Local distilleries are also ramping up awards and accolades for their excellent products.
Not all of the German whisky distilleries are new, however. It is indeed fair to claim Germany is full of small-batch family-owned distilleries handed down over many generations to current owners. Only that in the past most would mainly produce fruit brandies or the famous German ‘schnaps’.
Wild Brennerei (distillery), founded in 1855 by family tycoon Bernhard Bruder is one of those historic family-run distilleries. It started with production of fruit brandies but being handed down from generation to generation, the range of products steadily continued to grow.
Today, it is Franz Wild junior looking after the distillery and his particular interest in distilling has led to the creation of an awesome range of different spirits you would not expect to come out of Germany. In addition to whisky, this includes gin, rum, and vodka.
Working with regional products is a top priority at Wild Distillery. That goes as far as using spring water from the distillery’s own well.
With the Black Forest region one of the destinations I am currently hoping to visit this year, once travel is firmly back on the cards, combined with the interesting tasting options on the distillery’s website, a visit to Wild Brennerei is definitely only a question of time for me.
Review: Blackforest Wild Whisky
I am all about enticing design and the Blackforest Wild Whisky (as the other spirits in the Wild category) is an astonishing example of superb design. It makes you want to try what’s inside and curious how the aromas and taste are living up to what you see on the bottle.
Though the design might lead you to expect something wild and rough, this single malt from the Black Forest is instead one of the softest whiskies found in Germany, which comes from triple distillation.
Contrary to most German whiskies, for the production of Blackforest Wild Whisky, not the whole barley is distilled. Instead, refined barley is used. In addition, for fermentation in-house grown fresh yeast is used, which has a particular ability to create fruit-forward aromas.
The whisky is aged for 8 years first in new American white oak, followed by a finish in sherry and cognac barrels. The final product is complex and expressive with fruity notes of dried fruits and raisins combined with vanilla, caramel and hints of dry spice and oak.
Recipe: Vegetarian Broccoli-Zucchini Pie
1 fresh broccoli, about 500 g
½ zucchini, chopped
½ onion, chopped
200 g Cheddar cheese, shredded
200 ml milk
4 eggs + 1 for to brush the pastry
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Heat oven to 200°C.
In a saucepan filled with salted water add broccoli and bring to a boil. Cook until almost tender, drain and let cool.
Grease a pie plate. Roll out half of the pastry and line the pie plate.
Stir together cooked broccoli, zucchini, onion, and Cheddar. Add to the pie plate.
Mix together milk, eggs, salt and pepper and stir until combined. Pour over the broccoli-zucchini mix.
Roll out the other half of the pastry to make a lid for the pie. Make a hole in the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape.
Decorate the top of the pie with leaves made from pastry trimmings and brush all over with beaten egg.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden-brown. Cool for a few minutes before serving.
Are you a whisky lover? Have you ever tried a whisky and food pairing? Let me know about your experience.