Food. While it might not be the reason I choose to visit a city it definitely is something I look forward to enjoying while traveling.
When I travel I look forward to sampling specialties of the area including both food and drink! I am so focused on finding traditional foods that I found myself surprised at all the non-German restaurants I ran into during my recent trip. I remember thinking to myself, “Why would anyone want to eat Italian while in Germany?” “Duh” Debbie, the people who live there might just want a variety of cuisine just like you do at home 🙂
So even though there were many different types of foods available, I was looking for traditional German fare. Fortunately I was able to find and enjoy many fantastic meals that fit this bill!
Although my foray into the cuisine in Freiburg started off simply with soup and beer, I continued searching for culinary traditions that Freiburg is known for. You really can’t start off better than at Oberkirchs Weinstuben. Sitting in this cozy historic restaurant sipping a wonderful glass of local wine while feasting on veal and spatzle (yah!) made me feel glad to be in Germany!
Since Freiburg is the center of a German wine region, I started my last evening with a little wine tasting at Alte Wache – Haus der Badischen Weine. The wine shop is located in an historic building that was once a guard house during Austrian rule. The shop offers a huge selection of regional wines and is a fabulous place to learn about local wines, enjoy a glass or even take a bottle or two with you! After enjoying wine I was off in search of Flammkuchen, one of Freiburg’s specialties! Continuing along the Domplatz I noticed a restaurant advertising Flammkuchen so into the Goldene Engel I went to nosh on salad, Flammkuchen and more wine 🙂 I really liked the old-fashioned décor even though it was overtaken by cherubs or as my friend calls them “winged babies”. The Goldene Engel is small, warm, traditional and full of people, which is usually a good sign! Oh, the Flammkuchen was excellent too.
Mainz is the wine capital of the Rhine Valley and wine is everywhere! There are wine booths dotting the Old Town and it was at one of these that I tasted a new and unusual drink, Federweisser which is a young wine made from just picked grapes that are slightly fermented. This slightly sweet juice only lasts a day, so you have to enjoy it while you can and it is wonderful. My guide treated me to my first ever Federweisser and I liked it so much that I stopped to have another later that afternoon before meeting up again for dinner!
Now its time for dinner in Mainz which ended up being one of my favorite of the entire trip. Weinstube Hottum is one of the oldest taverns in Mainz dating back to 1791. This cozy, traditional and family owned restaurant was charming and full of convivial people! The menu is handed to you on a small chalkboard and is full of wonderful options. The restaurant only has about 8-10 tables which helps create a very social atmosphere. The food was excellent but I think I enjoyed the quaint atmosphere and friendly people most! If you’re in Mainz, be sure to check out Weinstube Hottum.
Lovely Erfurt is full of dining options that fit my perfect type of restaurant including Zum Güldenen Rade and Zum Goldenen Schwan. Add in weather that was so nice I was able to eat outside and you’ve got a winning combination! The beer was good, pork exceptional as was the Beef Roulade, a traditional cuisine of Erfurt, but there were two things I couldn’t get enough of – potato dumplings and red cabbage. I had so many that I was lucky I didn’t come home looking like a dumpling 🙂 These Thüringen specialties are something you definitely need to enjoy when you visit Erfurt!
What local specialties do you enjoy?
Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at the Erfurt Tourist Office, Mainz Tourist Bureau and Freiburg Tourist Bureau! For more information please contact either organization or visit their websites. Even though most of my meals were paid for by these organizations, all opinions are my own.