Try out some traditional specialties of the region around Frankfurt.
There’s plenty of hearty food to be found in the regions south of Frankfurt. Mainz in Rhineland-Palatinate, for example, boasts an especially large selection of delicious traditional dishes:
- Stuffed pork stomach: a pork stomach is stuffed with a mixture of ground pork and chopped potato, carrots, and onions and then boiled. The result is then cut into slices and fried.
- Spundekäs: a spread made by mixing cream cheese, quark, paprika, black pepper, and minced onions. It is usually eaten with (giant soft) pretzels.
- Handkäs mit Musik (literally “hand cheese with music”): a traditional translucent yellowish cheese that is served with caraway seed, oil, and vinegar. The name of the cheese comes from the fact that it used to be shaped by hand.
Sweet chocolate specialties from Heidelberg:
- Student Kisses: a praline-nougat filling on a waffle base, coated with semisweet chocolate. This specialty was invented in 1863 and used to be a favorite gift that students gave young ladies to express their admiration.
- Kurfürstenkugeln (Prince Elector Balls): fine sponge dough balls with a core filling of nougat cream covered with marzipan and chocolate. They have been made by the Gundel Bakery in Heidelberg since 1896 to keep alive the memory of the love that burned so brightly between Prince Elector Frederick V and Elizabeth Stuart, a daughter of King James VI of England, in the 17th century.
You’re also invited to try some of the best wines produced in the Mosel and Rhine Valleys. Besides the well-known Riesling, be sure to sample a Rivaner, White Burgundy, Pinot Noir (Blauer Spätburgunder), and Dornfelder.
The best way to learn about the huge diversity of wines grown in this region is to follow the German Wine Route. It begins in Bockenheim about 70 km below Frankfurt, then winds south through the western slopes of the Rhine Valley. On the way you can discover countless vineyards, taverns, and wine cells. The highlights include Bad Dürkheim, where the world’s largest wine cask is located, and Deidesheim, which has 16 winemakers and one of the region’s largest Christmas markets.