A German Vigil Feast for Genoveva

Fresh soft cheese from the vigil table

My good friend Genoveva von Lübeck is going to be inducted into the Order of the Laurel. I am so happy and proud of her. I offered my help in any way possible — and she gave me the pleasure of asking me to help with the food for her first vigil! It was held in our Barony of Cynnabar at Terpsichore at the Tower on March 5, 2016. She’ll be having another vigil at her elevation, which will not be until the beginning of May and out of town, so this was a very special occasion that this portion was locally.

After a quick meeting with her to find out her vision for the elevation – which, of course was going to be German-themed – I started to develop a menu. I’ve always been of the mind that vigil foods should be ‘finger foods’ because most people who stop in to visit  tend to mingle while they grab some small bites. And so, together with my friend Ilse, we found a multitude of German recipes. My goal was to keep things period…in at least look and concept…and to find things that would taste good to the modern pallete. Many items created were traditional German foods that are still served today, and some are distinctly more modern. Special care was taken to present the food in a period manner so that it didn’t appear extremely modern.

Here is the whole menu:
  • Bierocks: 
    A meat small hand-pie folded in a 3″ square made with a was a special homemade sweetened dough. They were filled with ground beef, shredded cabbage, a little chopped onion and some paprika.
  • Schinkenröllchen mit spargelr:
    This is a ham-wrapped asparagus. I used a Black Forest ham and wrapped it with a partially cooked blanched asparagus. These were laid out on a platter along with some fresh greens and sage. The greenery and the ends of the asparagus were arranged to forma “Laurel” wreath.
  • Zwiebelkuchen:
    This is an onion and bacon tart seasoned with lots of caraway seed that’s still served in Germany today. Traditionally, it’s made with a crust and cut like a pie. We made these in mini-muffin pans and opted to skip the crust. The tops are sprinkled with more caraway for appeal.
  • Weisswurst and Landjäger (sausages) with homemade mustard:
    The sausages we served were purchased at an authentic German Market on the South side of Toledo.  GEnoevea mentioned that the weisswurst, a traditional German sausage made with pork and veal and sage were her favorite. We also got some Landjägers with are a hardened ‘hand’ sausage similar to what we call hunter’s sausage. These were all chopped them into smaller pieces so that they didn’t disappear too quickly! I also served this will my homemade mustard — which is made with yellow and black mustard seed, cider vinegar, honey and spices.
  • Gefüllte Eier:
    We had a selection of deviled eggs (gefüllte eier) made in the same modern way you’ve probably seen before! About a quarter of them were served with pickled herring on top. They were only vaguely popular….but very traditional!
  • Käse Pfålzer Art:
    A cheese plate set out with soft cheese, vegetables and beet pickled eggs. This was served with pumpernickel breads and sweet gherkin pickles. We made the soft cheese with lemon, milk and cream so it was smooth and spreadable. (You can see my cheese recipe at on Genoveva’s site.) Each of these items were meant to be stacked together on the bread as you liked.
  • Sauerkraut Balls:
    Not at all traditional…but OMG a huge hit!. These were a mixture of sauerkraut, corned beef, cheese and onion rolled in spices and breadcrumbs then deep fried. We served these warm along with a horseradish dip. Huge, huge hit even for those who didn’t care for sauerkraut….I mean, it’s deep-fired cheese…come on!
  • Pretzels and Ale Cheese Dip:
    Genoveva’s son Alexander made homemade soft pretzel balls and some ale and cheese dip. The cheese was served warm and was a big hit also!
  • Lebkucken:
    A traditional spiced German  cookie. These are nicely spiced and not terribly sweet. They were cut into a small a heart shape to go with her personal heraldry.
  • Linzer Herzen:
    A beautiful two-part  butter cookie that was filled with raspberry jam and also cut in a heart shape
  • Erdbeerbowle
    Genoveva was impressed that we served drinks at another vigil I helped host, so we wanted to be sure to have something to drink. This is meant to be a strawberry wine punch — but since the site was dry (no alcohol allowed) we mixed up a punch with sparkling strawberry cherry wine, club soda and some berry flavored fruit juice to sweeten it. We floated sliced strawberries in it. It was not too sweet — and rather tasty. We also has water with lemon.

This was a challenging vigil menu in that several things needed to be presented warm. We managed to just use a commercial chaffing dish to do that. While it took away slightly from the presentation, it was better to have warmed food. A crockpot was used to keep the cheese dip warm, too.

I know Genoveva was pleased…because she has flattered me by making an entire blog post about this event along with my soft cheese recipe. You can see her post by clicking here. There are MANY photos!