Welcome to my first ever monthly round-up, a mix of food news from around Germany, brief restaurant reviews and previews for Wiesbaden and Mainz plus a selection of the very best of the month’s German food-related reading and recipes. I’ve no idea what to call this feature, so all suggestions are welcome – if I end up using yours, I might even be able to come up with a prize! Since September was pretty packed, I’m going to forgo the “Autumn! Pumpkins!” preamble and just get down to business. But please be sure to let me know what you think in the comments…
Autumn has arrived, but here in Wiesbaden we are enjoying the most beautiful of Indian summers. The sun shines brightly, yet low enough in the sky that one can bask in its rays without breaking into a sweat; the evenings are growing darker, but are not yet too cold; and best of all, some of my very favourite cooking ingredients are slowly coming into season. From the farmers’ market I bring home the sorts of fruit and vegetables that have earthy, comforting flavours perfect for stews and gratins, crumbles and autumnal cakes. Here are five of my September favourites, plus recommendations for what to do with them.
Curry Manafaktur has long been the leading Currywurst outlet in Wiesbaden. Located on Römertor and also appearing twice a week at the farmers’ market at the Marktplatz, they do a consistently roaring trade of excellent, regionally-produced sausages, Belgian-made sauces and freshly-packaged (as opposed to frozen) chips to a loyal brigade of happy customers.
Various other Currywurst joints have come and gone in the time I’ve been here, from Curry Papst on Goldgasse, whose late night DJs and wildly flashing lights couldn’t do enough to keep the customers coming, to The Best Worscht* in Town, who positioned itself laughably close to Curry Manufaktur, covered its sausages in curry powder rated on a scale of zero (“because you find yourself too hot already”) to “Fucking Burning Injection”, and promptly closed back down. It seems that Wiesbaden likes its Currywurst done in style.
Taking all this into account, you’d think that anyone opening a new fast food restaurant in town might think twice about making it a Currywurst joint. Unless of course, they think they’re really in with a chance of stealing Curry Manufaktur‘s crown.
Ah, Autumn. Paler skies, cooler air, darker evenings and one or two falling leaves; I probably say this at the beginning of every change in season – and I’ll admit it’s largely to do with the excitement of all the new food ahead – but Autumn really is my favourite season of all. Bright orange pumpkins are already popping up all over town, and there are figs and cabbages and heaps of ripe plums at the market; soon it will be time for wild boar and venison, and then mulled wine and Christmas biscuits. But I’m getting a ahead of myself…
10 of the best-loved Brühwürste (scalded sausages)
Think of Germany, and many a stereotypical image – probably of beer, Lederhosen and Schnitzel – springs to mind. But there’s another image that probably gets there before the rest, and that’s of a lovingly grilled, mustard-slathered sausage. And not without good reason: the Germans each consume an average of 60kg of sausages per year, some 18kg more than the rest of us (source). Boiled for breakfast, curried for lunch, sliced for supper, there’s almost nothing they won’t do with a Wurst.
There’s estimated to be over 1500 different types of sausages in Germany which is, of course, far beyond the number I could list here, but in this three-part series I’ll cover all the classics plus some traditional meaty treats that you may well never have heard of. It’s a short yet detailed guide that will hopefully help you to decipher the odd menu and provide some assistance when you’re standing, overwhelmed by choice, at the butcher’s counter!
I’m absolutely exhausted after the most brilliant weekend spent celebrating the marriage of my (German) husband’s sister to a cracking English fellow. On Thursday we travelled to Oppenheim, the small town perched on top of a hill overlooking the river Rhine in which my father-in-law grew up. We wandered around the town and its surrounding vineyards before leading a merry brigade of very international wedding guests into the labyrinth of underground medieval tunnels in which my husband played as a child (they’re now open to the public), finishing up the evening with a few rings of Fleischwurst and a bottle or two of wine in the beautiful candle-lit cellar of a very hospitable relative.
Please allow me a moment to divert from the wonderful world of German food. Having spent the last two and a half weeks driving all the way down to the Mediterranean coast and back again, I would just like to take a moment to say, oh France, how I love you. My husband, the Mini Dietz and I travelled through Lorraine, Burgundy and breathtakingly beautiful Auvergne as well as all over Languedoc-Roussillon, stopping overnight in all sorts of wonderful locations, from chateaus to pig farms to converted barns as well as hotels and b&bs. The meals we ate, the food markets we shopped at, the sunshine we sat in, the water in which we splashed: all of it was absolute heaven. This site is unfortunately not the place for my French travel recommendations, however, so if you’d like any tips then please get in touch – I’ll be only too happy to share them!
I was very glad to discover, returning to Wiesbaden yesterday afternoon from our holiday in France, that the worst of the summer heat appears to be over: I’m not good with sticky, sweaty weather, and the regular thunderstorms do very little to break the stifling humidity. On the plus side, either the sun or the rain or a combination of both seem to do absolute wonders for fruit production: there are huge piles of all kinds of plums stacked up all over town. So without further ado, here are a few sweet and savoury recommendations for what to eat in August.
The Germans enjoy, as they say, not just the usual three meals a day, but a luxurious fourth one too: there’s Kaffee und Kuchen – coffee and cake. Any day of the week you can walk into a Konditorei (cake shop) mid afternoon and discover just about any sort of person you can think of enjoying a hot cup of coffee alongside a (very) thick slice of cake. And in Germany, there are so very, very many cakes to choose from. A peek into even the smallest of Konditorei curved glass counters reveals a mind boggling range of cakes and sweets, from vast gateaus and Strudels to truffles and petit fours. But for me, there are 4 greater than all the rest. What follows here are to my mind, the four greatest German cakes of all…
Greetings from Languedoc-Rousillon in the south of France, where the sky is bright blue and the sun is shining on a lunch-table laden with fresh baguettes and unsalted butter, goats’ cheeses and thick, cured sausages flavoured with porcini mushrooms. My husband B, the Mini Dietz and I travelled down here together by car last week, stopping overnight along the way to stay at a crumbling old chateau, an organic pig farm and a friend’s beautiful house north-east of Toulouse.