Brotzeit – A Gift of Time

Jul 6, 2023

Good things take time, great things take a little longer.

Giving one’s time is one of the most precious gifts to receive. In a world of instant gratification where faster, higher and further has become a twisted mantra, and time seems to run faster than ever, we start to realize the real value of time. How often do we allow ourselves a time out without plans or an agenda? How many of us feel lazy when not maximizing our time to the fullest?

Many years ago, Chef Annie participated in a Vipassana 10-day silent meditation retreat. No talking, no interaction with others, no reading nor exercise for distraction, just 11 hours of focused meditation every single day. This experience is compared with the physical exhaustion of climbing a high mountain. Our mind is not used to being still, it likes to be entertained and distracted. And yet in silence, there are treasures to be found. Allowing ourselves time away from all of life’s distractions and focusing our attention on ourselves is one of the greatest gifts that no one else can give us.  Time is precious.

When we talk about conscious and mindful eating at The Culinary Alchemists, we also put our focus on the time that is spent with those sacred plants, the gifts of Pachamama. The time the farmer spends preparing the soil, planting the seeds, and nurturing the plants till they are ready to merge in the circle of life. Our part starts with the preparation of those plants. We are mindful and conscious, and we enhance them with our creativity and skills to prepare dishes worthy of a Gastronomic Ceremony. Next, we guide our participant’s focus to appreciate the visual aspects, the colors and the presentation of each composition. Exploring the kinetic by touching and feeling the different textures. And indulging in the rich and bold flavors while merging and becoming one with those plants.

Our Brotzeit Plate represents perfectly the gift of time. Not only in the preparation process but also in the way of eating and enjoying this plate. Brotzeit, meaning Bread Time, is a German term for an afternoon snack. It can also replace a meal.  Breakfast or dinner usually contains bread and different spreads and toppings. Unlike an already prepared sandwich, at a Brotzeit there is a variety of deliciousness to choose from. At home, everything is placed in the middle of the table and encourages interaction by having to ask for the butter, cheese or other toppings. It allows everyone the opportunity to mix and match and explore different combinations of flavors and textures. It takes time to eat a Brotzeit, a great opportunity for sharing with family or friends. We like it especially, as it symbolizes the buffet of life; an abundance to choose from where we truly have a choice, as it’s up to each one to choose where we put our focus and what we take in.

This plate is a gift of time. One not only has to take time in eating it but also the time that was given in the extensive preparation process. This plate took almost two months to prepare. A long time to enrich a plate with awareness, skills and love. We start by making sauerkraut, using only natural mineral salt and time to start the fermentation process of green cabbage, garlic and turmeric. After six weeks, the sauerkraut was ready and we were especially excited to use the brine to make plant-based Gouda-style cheese. Together with rejuvelac, living water that was made from homegrown sprouts, the cheese has an extra dose of probiotics and the taste is just divine.  Our Brotzeit plate also includes Italian-style Giardiniera (meaning: from the garden) which is traditionally a mixture of pickled vegetables, but we fermented them for additional flavor and nutrition, homemade garlic and herb butter, sundried tomato pesto, green herb pesto, caramelized cashew cream cheese, fresh greens, and tomato served with a hearty crispy onion garbanzo-yuca bread. An abundance to choose from. A gift of time, enriched with colors, textures and bold flavors.