It’s Federweisser time: the leaves are falling, the bubbles are rising!

It’s getting chillier outdoors, the first leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and together we’re ringing in the cosiest time of the year. Now, fruitily quaffable drinks like Federweisser sweeten the cool autumn evenings, accompanied by a savoury onion flan or a tarte flambée. But what’s so special about Federweisser (also known as “Sauser” in some parts of southern of Germany, “Rauscher” in Rhenish Hesse or “Sturm” (Storm) in Austria), and what’s the best way to enjoy it?

Wine or hazy grape juice – what exactly is Federweisser?

Federweisser is an intermediate product between grape must and wine – meaning semi-fermented grape must with an alcohol content of approximately four per cent when bottled. This grape must can, however, reach up to eleven per cent alcohol during the fermentation process in the bottle, changing its taste from fruity-sweet to pleasantly tart. Its name, by the way, is derived from the yeasts that dance in the glass like tiny feathers (Feder = feather, weiss = white) – these are also responsible for the light, pleasant tingle of the young wine. Federweisser, in contrast to wine, ferments directly in the bottle, which is why you should be very careful when you’re transporting it. Carbon dioxide is continually escaping, and you don’t want an explosion, do you? 🙂

So if, like me, you’re not all that fond of sweet grape juice, then simply leave the bottle to stand for a few hours at room temperature, then the Federweiser will continue to ferment. Federweisser, by the way, has a pretty high content of vitamins like B1, B2 and B6. These constituents are very good for your skin, your hair and your nerves, and in addition the young wine stimulates your digestion and your intestines, and even helps to detoxify you. Reason enough, surely, for raising a glass or three of it this evening :-).

We’re celebrating the start of the Federweisser season in Regensburg

At our facility in Neutraubling, we also have a very good wine-growing area not far away – the Winzerer Höhen near Regensburg. Every year, there’s even a small festival here in honour of Regensburg’s first Sauser. Around the Baier Wine Museum, around 600 litres of Federweisser are served, and enjoyed together with home-made onion flan, bread and dripping, camembert/onion spread, and Bacher vintner’s ham. A magnificent way indeed to start your autumn!

What’s the best way to enjoy it?

Traditionally, Federweiser is most relishably accompanied by pretty substantial, fatty foods, like onion flan, tarte flambée or quiche. I thought these traditional recipes were a bit too boring, so I’ve got a rather more exotic variant for you here :-). What are you waiting for? Tonight get busy in your kitchen and celebrate a cosy autumn evening in your own four walls!

 

Tarte flambée with feta and pumpkin:

This is what you’re going to need:

450 g of flour, plus some more for the work surface

1 packet of dry yeast                                                                     1 egg

Salt / pepper, 1 tsp sugar                                                 some fresh thyme

1 small Hokkaido pumpkin (approx. 350 g)                   1 tub of sour cream

2 red onions

 

Preparation:

  1. For the pastry, mix the flour with the yeast, 1 tsp of salt and the sugar, add approx. 225 ml of lukewarm water and knead into a dough. Cover it up and let it rise for around 30 minutes in a warm place. (Alternatively, if you’re as work-averse as I am, feel free to use ready-bought yeast dough J)
  2. Meanwhile, for the topping, crumble the feta, take the seeds out of the pumpkin, cut the flesh into very thin slices, peel the onions and slice them thinly as well.
  3. From the dough, form either 12 small flatbreads or one large one – then place this on a baking tray covered with baking parchment
  4. Separate the egg, and stir just the yolk and the sour cream until smooth – add salt and pepper (plus a pinch of nutmeg if you like), the thyme, and then spread the mass over the flatbread.
  5. Distribute the pumpkin slices, onions and feta, and then stick it in the oven – bake at 240 degrees for around 15 minutes until it’s golden brown.

 

 

All that remains to be said is: enjoy, relish and savour your Federweisser season, and have fun with the recipe! 🙂