Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cochem Medieval Dinner

Trek's squadron had the best squadron party last night. Trek is the one that put most of it together, & I was a little skeptical at first (mainly because we had to cancel our mini-vacation to Wernigerode to run the whole thing), but I'm SO SO SO glad we did end up going. We all went up to Cochem Castle (my favorite castle in our area) for a personal tour of the castle followed by a 3 hour medieval dinner inside the castle. The "Lord" of the evening. . .Lord Klaus asked Trek & I to sit at the head table with him. We didn't really know what that meant, but we said, "Sure, why not?" Talk about an adventuresome evening. . .

Well, sitting at the head table meant that I was the visiting "Countess" for the evening. Trek was my squire, aka SERVANT BOY! I was there at the castle visiting Lord Klaus & had an entire assembly & banquet held in my honor. So basically, I was the guest of honor & all eyes were on me all night long!!! And for anybody that knows me particularly well, I HATE BEING THE CENTER OF ATTENTION!! I thought I was going to DIE! Trek got a kick out of it!

First they took Trek & I into a back room & dressed us up in costumes!

Then, the Lord Klaus took me by the hand & they announced my arrival at the banquet. I had to walk down this red carpet while people whistled & hollered at me. Cameras were flashing everywhere. I was red as a beet. Poor Squire Trek had to walk 2 meters behind me. Then we took our seats at the head table.

The Lord Klaus announced that on the tables were filled cups for toasting to each other. He toasted the assembly & we all drank. Right after he toasted he announced that though we had asked for grape juice, that they had run out & that wine was available. Trek & I both just about starting spitting everywhere. Klaus laughed at us & said, "Obviously you two don't drink!" Luckily, they had enough grape juice for it to be the 1st drink of the night. It was grape juice in our cups like we had originally ordered, but if we wanted a 2nd or 3rd drink, we'd have to get something else. Trek & I were both very relieved.

We were a little bit bummed because sitting at the head table meant that we couldn't sit with all our friends from the squadron. We just sat with each other & Klaus. But Klaus was fun. He figured out we were mormons & asked a bunch of questions about it. He thought we were nuts for not drinking, & we thought he was nuts for how much he DID drink. But he was a fun guy to talk to.

While we were talking, a minstrel came & serenaded us on his kazoo & guitar. He played music for us the entire evening. It was fun listening to all the old German folk songs.

On our table was a basket full of vegetables & a German Ranch dip. It didn't taste like American ranch, but it was good. Klaus also bought Trek & I our 2nd drinks since we were his main guests. Since we don't drink, we got apple juice & mineral water. Our favorite German drink is to mix the apple juice & mineral water together to make Apfelshorle. Mmmm.

First they brought out buckets of water to wash our hands in. And then they brought us baskets of bread & lard. The bread was fantastic (as European bread always is), but the lard wasn't my cup of tea. It tasted like Crisco. Klaus said that it was supposed to line your stomachs so you could endure a large feast without getting ill. I just thought it was kind of gross. I ate lots of bread, but I only used an itty bitty bit of lard on it.

While we were enjoying our bread & lard, Klaus stood up & accused a man of doing something (I don't remember what he was accused of) & ended up chaining him to the wall until he bought Trek & I a 2nd drink. That cracked me up. I loved my homemade apfelshorle though. The apple juice was "Dany" apple juice. Even though I don't spell my name that way, I felt like it was MY special juice.

After the bread & lard, they brought in the soup. They walked in with a huge bucket that was steaming. Klaus picked somebody to "taste" the soup to see if it was poisoned. So he got up there & was ladled a spoonful of soup. He tasted it, didn't die, so the soup was served to everyone. One nice thing about being the countess was that I was always the first person served. Mmmm. The soup was awesome. Since we didn't have utensils, we had to drink it from a bowl. Klaus put wine in his to cool it down & we braved the heat without wine. After you drink the broth, you use the bread as a spoon to scoop out the meat & veggies. It was one of the best soups I've ever had.

After we ate the soup, Klaus stood up & told us that in medieval tradition, before serving the main course, everyone in the banquet hall would take some tobacco & sniff it up their noses. He then grabbed my hand & shook a gold container over it. Powdery black stuff was all over the back of my hand. I just laughed. There was no way they would actually give us real tobacco, right? I smelled it & pushed it around on the back of my hand. To me it smelled like paprika. Trek thought it smelled like chocolate. Klaus sprinkled some on everybody's hands & then told us all to sniff it. When another lady asked what it REALLY was, he told her straight out: "It's TOBACCO!" I brushed mine off my hand & onto the floor as politely as I could & Trek raised his hand up & waved to some of his buddies so that the tobacco slid off the back of his hand. I still can't believe they actually gave us tobacco. I've lived a very sheltered life, I guess. A lot of the guys did snuff it. Their faces were red & there were tears streaming from their eyes. They said it burned really bad. My question is, why do people do that to themselves? It's so dumb.

After the tobacco scare, Klaus came & got me & made me dance with him in front of the entire assembly. Again, my face was beet red & I was mortified to be doing something in front of everyone else, but it was fun. He taught me a medieval little shuffle dance & I caught on pretty fast. I only wished it was Trek I was dancing with instead of a stranger. I think I would have been a little more comfortable.

After dancing, it was time for the main course. The servants came & placed a large piece of sliced wood down on our table. Who knew wood could make such a great plate? Then they brought out a wheelbarrow FULL of the biggest turkey legs I've ever seen in my life!!

They slopped a turkey leg & another loaf of bread onto every "plate." I was already so full from all the bread, soup, & veggies I had eaten. This thing was massive!! But as soon as I took a bite, I couldn't stop eating. That was the best seasoned turkey I've ever eaten. No, I didn't eat the whole thing, but I did eat a lot considering everything else I had eaten before. It was fantastic, & very messy! Thankfully, they had another bowl of water for us to wash our hands in after we were done eating.

So, after the main course, Klaus stood up again & talked about how at these huge banquets, they always served hard liquor after the main course because it is supposed to settle your stomach. So the servants brought out all these little bottles of liquor for everyone. They had peach schnopps for the ladies & hard stuff for the guys. The peach schnopps had 18% alcohol in it & the hard stuff had 40%. Can you believe that??? Trek & I, of course, turned ours down, but we watched as the rest of the crowd downed these shots. It burned terribly & you could see how bad it burned by the looks on their faces. Wow, what a night! Wine, Tobacco, & now liquor. Talk about having to "Say NO" a lot!

After the Schnopps, we had a group dance. Klaus took me to the front again & danced with me for about a minute, then I went & grabbed Trek while he took another lady to dance with. Every minute or so, we'd split off & get a new partner. Trek danced with the commander's wife, & I danced with the commander. (Talk about awkward) By the end of the song, everybody was out on the dance floor having a great time. It was really fun.

After dancing, it was time for the after meal food. (Yes, more food) They brought us a basket of grapes & cheese (mmm. . . gouda cheese. . . mmm) & biscuits. I really thought I was going to puke at this point, but I ate a couple grapes & one piece of cheese to be polite. The cheese was fantastic. I even got to feed Trekkie some grapes too. That was fun.

Even though we didn't get to sit among our friends, Klaus was a fun guy & we enjoyed our dinner with him at the head table.

After dinner we had a knight tournament. Trek picked the commander & Sgt. Billups to compete for the title of Knight of Cochem. Each knight had to compete in 3 tasks: First they had to saw through a log with a hand saw, then they had to serenade to the ladies of the court, & then they had to down a stein of beer. They tied so they were both knighted.

Klaus put them on their knees & then knighted them with a sword like you see in the movies. Both men got certificates of knighthood. It was great.

And after they were knighted, I got to put my hand in a cup of wine (first tabacco & now wine) & wipe the wine across their foreheads. Then, Klaus made me KISS THEM!! At first I kissed my fingers & put my fingers to their cheeks, but Klaus wouldn't have that. So I ended up having to kiss them on the cheek. Do you know how awkward you feel when you're kissing your hubby's BOSS???? Holy cow! I was mortified. Trek was laughing SO hard because though kissing somebody on the cheek isn't a big deal to most people, it's HARD for me. Trek is the only guy I've ever kissed in my life!! That was the most awkward thing I've ever done & Trek got a kick out of that. Then Klaus took me by the hand to lead Trek & I out. . . he made some comment about the rest of the guests going home while he took the countess up to the bedroom! And then HE KISSED ME!! (just on the cheek), but sheesh. . . talk about a corrupting evening!

It was a super fun night, even if there was a lot of things that we didn't participate in. I can't believe I can say I had a medieval dinner in a real medieval castle in Europe. How cool is that?

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