I have the weekend planned. Fixed. Data driven. A French Festival in Trippstadt. Sure of the date and place. Yep, have the brochure. Checked and rechecked.
Four friends pile in the car for the 45 minute drive in the beautiful German springtime. Luscious French food. Delectable cheeses. Splendid wines. What could go wrong? After more than an hour and a half of driving in Trippstadt and the surrounding area, I stop in a strange town, on a two lane road that is suddenly blocked to through traffic. I’m desperate to ask about the French Festival.
The German man whose restaurant I enter looks perplexed. “This weekend?” he asks. His eyebrows arch. “I don’t think it is this weekend.” He consults his catalogue of area festivals. “No,” he says, “the French Festival is in June.” I show him the brochure. He shrugs. Very Gallic for a German.
Anticipation slinks away. Desperation turns to frustration, much like Lady Macbeth tripping over her skirt, while searching for a washbasin.
Fortunately, in prowling through the countryside, we stopped to ask directions at the perfect spot. It’s a gorgeous restaurant next to a trout stream. Ah ha, Serendipity, my personal muse, rescued me and returned smiles to the faces of passengers who had begun to paw the earth and plot behind my back.
Ok, you caught me. Serendipity is not one of the Greek muses, the daughters of Zeus. Serendipity is far more personal than those singing, dancing, diaphanous gown-wearing sisters. She’s a wildcat of a woman who’ll lead you to scrap your plans, take the road less traveled, and with a knowing wink and sexy smile lead you to jump out of the box, start coloring outside the lines, and fulfill all those yearnings you never knew you had. My wife hates her.
Lemonade from lemons? Phooey! This day, Serendipity’s easy whim promised fresh trout and chilled glasses of the vintner’s best.
We’re conducted to a table and the wonderful German wine arrives in time to stave off death by kidney failure. I like to ease into it, so I order a Riesling Schorle, a combo drink of Riesling wine and a few splashes of mineral water. Refreshing.
The owner/waiter tells us, “You will never eat trout fresher than this.” He’s a mind reader and a prophet. The trout almandine is superb. Barely crusty on the outside, tender on the inside, and flecked with thin almond slices pan browned in drawn butter.
French Fest? Skipped my mind. Supposed to be one around here in June… I guess.