Going to someone’s home for supper can be an intimating experience. What should I bring, how will the meal be, will I interact with everyone? It can be overwhelming for someone. When I was invited to dine with six complete strangers I had a couple of thoughts, but said to myself this could be a very interesting experience. Chez Dine offers such an experience. Owner Jen Stokes has created this unique way of dining with people. Chez Dine concept is to interact with Chefs, Foodies, and the culinary world to enjoy a meal in local homes. Chez Dine welcomes guests to experience not only a different way of dining, but to meet other diners as well. I happen to attend a Chez Dine German In-Home Dining Experience. I will admit I can be quite adventurous, but have my downfalls now and then. I will say heading down Edison St. in Hamilton Ont. in the dark gave me a few thoughts and heading to someone’s home I had no idea what was in store, also it gave me a few thoughts, but I went with a skeptical yet open mind.
Yes, I can think both ways! I climb the stairs and enter Chef Maria Bier Haus home and with a warm welcome Chef Maria invites me and my colleague in. A beautiful table setting, and my Authentic German Dining Experience begins. Soft German Pretzels with smooth and Bavarian grainy mustard are ready to enjoy, as the other guests arrive, I introduce myself and enjoy the atmosphere, with family photos, and German décor grace the room. I head to the kitchen to speak with Chef Maria at this point I am in my comfort zone the kitchen. Chef Maria and I joke around and speak about traditions and the menu for myself and her guests. I notice a medium container of cubed butter and curiosity gets the best of me, but Chef Maria keeps me guessing as the evening progresses with our menu.
As we all sit down our German menu begins. A beautiful colorful dish of bright red cabbage slaw with a tart but sweet taste, beside is shaved thin slices of cold cut and dill pickle garnishes with slices of sweet white onions and parsley served with a slice of toasted “Bavernbrot” known as German Farmer Bread this starter was fresh, exciting and very flavorful , I could have enjoyed a second helping but knew I had more German dishes on the way.
Remember that butter I was speaking about. I was curious about the next course and Chef Maria did not disappoint explaining to me that butter is the only way to prepare proper pork schnitzel and she was right. A buttery extra-large tender yet crispy pork schnitzel with hints of garlic & capers is presented. Our side dish was kaese spätzle (Spätzle is a German dumpling made of eggs, flour, milk and then sautéed in butter) served with fried onions and shaved cured ham. This dish was delightful and full of German pride. I told you that butter would play a key role and it did it, each bite more satisfying than the next.
With much chatter about our meal, getting to know one another, the German beer was poured, laughter was loud, and guards begin to come down. It really was quite impressive how Chef Maria discussed each dish and her German background, and how everyone at her table started to become friends. This is what Chez Dine is about good food and meeting around the table. It’s an experience, a moment to understand what dining was like before social media came into play. Just enjoying some fantastic cuisine, and interesting conversation & what having company is really about.
You cannot enjoy a fantastic German meal without German Apple Strudel for dessert. Also known as “Apfelstrudel” I also really enjoyed pronouncing all the names of these dishes in German, whether I pronounced correctly or not what a language. A beautiful slice of homemade apple strudel arrives and the aromatic scent of apples, cinnamon & other spices smell amazing. Decorated with shaved almond slices and a creamy vanilla thin custard. Authentically made with strudel dough this German treat was the perfect ending to a German traditional meal.
Chez Dine and Chef Maria Bier Haus did an impressive job at making this German Authentic dining experience a memorable one. I did go in as a stranger and left with not only an evening to speak about with other culinary friends, but I left with knowing six wonderful people, I hope to meet again at some point.
Chez Dine will take your culinary aspirations and turn them into an evening of intriguing entertainment.
Thank You Chef Maria Bier Haus & Chez Dine for sharing your home and your German background with my taste buds. Danke dir!
Ryan is an entrepreneur, graphic designer, Co-founder of Bruha and the head of growth and marketing at Chez Dine. Craft beer and whisky are his go to drinks, and you can usually find him hanging with his daughter and family when not working on Chez Dine.