Back soon! Eating Wiesbaden is returning in February…

A slice of Sachertorte
A broken bit of cake; a terrible visual metaphor for my broken website.

…but not as you know it!

After two weeks of battling some mighty peculiar technical problems, I’ve finally fixed my website. Well, I’ve sort of fixed it.  The comments are back up and running (in case you have any questions about being vegan in Germany!), but I’ve had to sacrifice all sorts of other functionality to get them there… so I’ve made a decision.

Instead of soldiering on with a half-broken website, I’m grabbing the opportunity to finally relaunch Eating Wiesbaden, a thing I’ve been trying to do a good six months.  I’m going to leave this site looking a little bit wonky and unloved for a couple of weeks – sorry! – and at the beginning of February, a brand new sort of Eating Wiesbaden will be revealed in its place.  So, please bear with me whilst I finish creating a new home for my forays into the world of German food – I’ll not be gone long.

If you’d like to be the first to know when the site’s relaunched, I’ll be sharing updates (and all sorts of other things) on the Eating Wiesbaden Facebook page.

See you on the other side!

p.s. I was thoroughly excited about sharing the vegetable love this month, and I’m very sorry none of that’s up here yet.  It’s coming just as soon as the new site’s up, I promise!

A Month Without Meat: An Introduction (plus How to be Vegan in Germany)

Multi-coloured radishes

Hello, one and all, and happy new year!  Let’s start with a quick show of hands: who’s doing a new year’s detox?  A dry January?  Sustaining from sugar for the first four weeks?  Or spending a month eating meat-free?

I don’t remember how or why it started, but every year since we met, my husband and I have chosen to give up sweets, meat and alcohol during January.  The rest of the year, we eat everything (mostly in moderation), however the excesses of the seemingly unavoidable annual feasting over Christmas mean that come January 1, we’re ready to calm things down in the kitchen and clean up our diet.

I’m not talking about dieting or detoxing – I don’t believe in either of those at all – rather, taking a step back and considering what we’re eating.  We both feel much better for eating less meat, and a month without it reminds us how easy it is to be creative with vegetables when you give it a moment’s thought.  For the next four weeks, there’ll be plenty seasonal vegetables chez Dietz, lots of pulses and fruit, and absolutely zero pork chops, wine or sneaky squares of chocolate.  It helps us to reestablish the good eating habits that tend to get a little lost towards the end of the year and I, for one, have been itching to get started.

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December Favourites: food tours and Facebook friends

Frost on plants

This is my last collection of German food-related bits and pieces from around the internet for 2014, and, well, what a year it’s been.  I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you all very much for reading – Eating Wiesbaden has come on leaps and bounds in the last few months (I can’t believe we’re at nearly 500 Facebook friends!) and it’s made all the more fun for me by all your comments and messages not just on here but also on Facebook, on Twitter and Instagram.  So, thank you, and here’s wishing each and every one of you a very happy new year and a wonderful 2015!  But, before the clock chimes twelve…

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My 5 favourite meals of 2014: German food for all occasions

A glass of white wine and roast beef with green sauce at Kruger-Rumpf

“The best meals of 2014” seems to be a bit of a thing on all my favourite food blogs this year. I’m not one to leap wildly onto bandwagons, even culinary ones, but I did realise that a “best of” post made for the perfect opportunity to give a nod to some very good restaurants I ate at this year that I never got round to writing about (see: small baby, new job, etc).

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What do the Germans eat for Christmas?

Traditional German Christmas dinner of roast goose
Traditional German Christmas dinner: roast goose, red cabbage and dumpling | Image credit: Ginger & Bread

I may be married to a German; and I may have spent almost five years living in the country in which he was born and raised, but I’m rather sad to say I’ve never been treated to a proper German Christmas dinner.  I usually spend Christmas Eve in Mainz, with my husband’s family; and go to London to celebrate with mine on Christmas Day.  But even if I stayed in Germany for 25 December, I’m afraid I’d never get a taste of a traditional  Christmas meal.  My father-in-law finds goose too fatty; and my mother-in-law finds turkey too dry: so, every year, my husband and his sisters cook something completely different, and the Christmas traditions all lie elsewhere instead.  So, every year, around about this time, I can’t help but think about what other Germans up and down the country will be dishing up for Christmas.

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Seasonal Eating Guide: What to eat in December (A Winter Meat Special)

Venison sausages with red cabbage at Weinhaus Schreiner
Venison Bratwurst with red cabbage and cranberries

We had a few tiny flakes of snow last week here in Wiesbaden.  I’m grateful it tried: it would be wonderful to have a blanket of the white stuff covering the ground, but this being one of the warmest parts of Germany – and one of the warmest years on record – I’m not holding my breath for a white Christmas. But it’s cold, if nothing else, and for me that’s excuse enough for putting a pot of stew on the hob or roasting winter roots (or Brussels sprouts!).  Rather than focus on seasonal vegetables this month, I thought I’d cover some of the meat options traditionally eaten during the winter instead.  So, with apologies to the non-meat eaters amongst you, for my last Seasonal Eating Guide of the year, here’s what to eat in December…

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How to Assemble the Perfect German Christmas hamper – plus one to give away! (Giveaway closed)

Wrapped chocolate Santa Clauses
An army of (non-German) Lindt Santa Clauses

Germany has the most miraculous array of festive treats available in the run up to Christmas.  There’s the beautifully-packaged sweet treats on offer at the Christmas markets, of course, plus the supermarkets are filled with mountains of cakes and chocolates and there are even pop up shops dedicated to seasonal foodstuffs.  So now’s the perfect time to wrap up a small selection of edible treats to send to your loved ones, or to take back home after your visit here.

However, there are so very many edible treats – and brands thereof – that the choice can be a little overwhelming, so I thought I’d put together a quick guide to the very best of the foodie Christmas treats that Germany has to offer; ones that happen to be inexpensive, handily-sized and (mostly) non-smashable for shipping off to your loved ones or for squeezing into your suitcase.  There’s nothing included that might be tricky to get through customs or liable to go off in the post – if you want to post some mountain cheese or a wild boar pâté to your mum, you’re on your own!

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How to make… Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Advent Biscuits)

German vanilla crescent Advent biscuits

Last week, I mentioned I had a ball of vanilla-flavoured dough sitting in my fridge.  Ten days and another two balls of vanilla-flavoured dough later, I feel I’ve been well initiated into the world of German Advent biscuits, or Plätzchen, and I wanted to share the recipe for the ones I’ve been making: Vanillekipferl, or vanilla-flavoured crescents.

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6 Christmas Markets Treats You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Christmas market stall in Germany

In the market squares of towns and villages all over Germany, fairy lights are twinkling on the branches of towering Christmas trees and the roofs of little wooden huts beneath them.  Tall, thin streams of hot, Glühweiny steam rise from between mittened hands and the scent of Lebkuchen and roasting chestnuts fills the air.  It’s a pretty magical time of year round here, and you’d have to be a bit of a Scrooge not to get caught up in the seasonal cheer.

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How to make… Christmas Stollen

Slices of German Stollen
Image credit: Helwyn Jones

The first time I ever tried Stollen was in my brother’s flat in Paris, in 2003, where he served me a slice with a spoonful of creme fraiche, and it was love at first bite: a heavy, bread-like loaf, it’s the only fruitcake I’ve ever liked – and I don’t even mind the marzipan in the middle.  Now, each Christmas I get to watch everyone else eat mountains of it (my mother-in-law made me a gluten-free one last year but it fell apart before the knife even touched it), as at the start of every December my mother-in-law bakes two: one to be eaten with my husband’s in front of the fire on Christmas eve; and another for me to put in my suitcase to take to my family for Christmas Day in London.  I can’t say packing a weighty Stollen does much to help me stay within my luggage allowance, but it does do wonders for inter-familial relations.

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