Most of us do not give a second thought to pickles, they are just there, we feel this way because we are used to getting them with sandwiches, and us cooks, are used to throwing one on the sandwich plate in a busy kitchen.
Like all things worth eating, there are good pickles , bad pickles and mediocre pickles. I personally place 99% of commericially available pickles in the mediocre category. My mother in-law is from a small German village called Dinkelsbuhl in Bavaria. She has shown me many family recipes, some that date back generations. To me , the real value in visiting a country or any destination , is what food culture exists. Scenery and attractions are nice too, but its the food culture, traditions, and product availability that charge my batteries.
One such highlight in the food category are those Stark pickles, that is my mother-law's maiden name. I had the opportunity to meet all the family and many villagers in summer 03, facinating! Back to pickles..
Her pickle recipe is fabulous, spicy, loads of real dill flavor, crunch etc..
I have attempted this recipe several times with dismall failure as a result. The reason is using the wrong pickle variety, using baby dill instead of the real stuff with dill heads on it, wrong vinegar etc. This time however, I bought an entire bushel of Kirby cukes, and had my mother -in law fedex the fresh dill. I followed her recipe card to a T, they turned out perfect, I tried them yesterday, 2 weeks earlier than I was advised, but I could not wait, I mean these are incredible. The key is the dill, I never could find the type she used. Other than baby dill, in most restaurants or markets, you never see the real stuff. It is a completley different product. It smells like rye bread. When the package came, I could smell it as I opened the box.
It took a few hours to process them, but now I have 32, quart jars of these little luxurious finger snacks. Done right, even pickles are a worthy centerpeice on a sandwich plate!!
I bet I could sell them to pregnant ladies for $1,000 a jar!