January 21, 2014

0976 GERMANY (Hesse) - A Bembel of Apfelwein, please, and Handkäse mit Musik!

Cider or cyder (named also "apple wine" in some regions) is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice, traditionally apple juice, which varies in alcohol content from 1.2% ABV to 8.5% or more. Can be classified from dry to sweet, its appearance ranges from cloudy with sediment to completely clear, and its colour from light yellow through orange to brown,  the variations in clarity and colour being mostly due to filtering between pressing and fermentation. Is popular in the United Kingdom, that has the highest per capita consumption, as well as the largest producing companies in the world, but is also traditional in other European countries, such as Ireland, France (Brittany and Normandy), Spain (Asturias, Basque Country and Galicia), Poland or Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse).

German cider, usually called Apfelwein (apple wine), and regionally known as Ebbelwoi, Apfelmost (apple must), Viez (from Latin vice, the second or substitute wine), or Saurer Most (sour must), has an alcohol content of 5.5%-7% and a tart, sour taste. Is mainly produced and consumed in Hesse (particularly in the Frankfurt, Wetterau and Odenwald areas), in Moselfranken, Saarland and the Trier area, as well as the lower Saar area and the region bordering on Luxembourg. Apfelwein may be served in a Geripptes, a glass with a lozenge cut that refracts light, but is also available in the Bembel (a specific Apfelwein jug). The paunchy jar (made from salt-glazed stoneware) usually has a basic grey colour with blue detailing. Hot Apfelwein is commonly taken as an old household remedy against colds, or as a warming beverage in the cold season. It is heated and served with a cinnamon stick, possibly with cloves and/or a slice of lemon.

Often, with Apfelwein is served as an appetizer Handkäse (literally: hand cheese), a regional sour milk cheese (similar to Harzer), translucent and yellow, with a pungent aroma, commonly round in shape. It is traditionally topped with chopped onions, locally known as Handkäse mit Musik (literally: hand cheese with music), and eaten with caraway on it. If strangers to this custom will ask where the musik is, they will most likely be told that Die Musik kommt später (the music comes later), an euphemism for the flatulence that the raw onions usually provide. Handkäse is popular among dieters, but also among bodybuilders, runners, and weightlifters for its high content of protein, while being relatively low in fat.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting an elk, is part of a series of two dedicated to recolonization of native wild animals, about which I wrote here. The second, depicting a tagetes, belong to the set Blumen, about which I wrote here.

Cider - Wikipedia
Apfelwein - Wikipedia
Handkäse -  Wikipedia

sender: Claudia Bukur-König (direct swap)
sent from Wiesbaden (Hesse / Germany), on 19.12.2012

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