Frankfurt has all the International food options and as well, there are plenty of opportunities to feast on hearty German fare. But when in Frankfurt, you really should do as the locals do and eat some of the specialty foods that Frankfurt has to offer.
Green Sauce – Grüne Soße
This is more than just one of the specialty foods of Frankfurt, it’s a delicacy throughout Hesse. The ‘green’ comes from the blend of herbs – you finely chop them and mix them into a base consisting mainly of sour cream and yoghurt. For ‘true’ Green Sauce, you need parsley, borage, sorrel, chives, cress, chervil and salad burnet.
Green Sauce tastes best when made from freshly harvested herbs. During the growing season the you can buy the herbs in bundles at the markets around the city. Each pack contains the correct proportion of each herb – all you have to do is chop them and add them to your base.
Traditionally Green Sauce is served cold with boiled potatoes and hard boiled eggs. However, it works perfectly with meat: enjoy it with warm boiled beef, cold roast beef or fish. Serve it with schnitzel and voilá you have a Frankfurter Schnitzel. You can find Green Sauce accompanying dishes on the menu of any restaurant that promotes itself as specialising in local cuisine.
Local cooks have incorporated Green Sauce into all sorts of recipes over the years. Green Sauce recipe books are available, but only in German. Green Sauce even has its own festival every year, in early May. Click here to find out about the next one.
Hand Käse mit Musik
Hand Käse with Musik translates as ‘hand cheese with music’ and is truly one of the local specialty foods of Frankfurt as you can only find it in and around the city. The cheese is low in fat and salt and is quite strong and thus not everyone appreciates it. Each cheese is the size of your palm and in earlier times people shaped them manually, hence the word ‘hand’.
In traditional establishments they serve the cheese with oil and vinegar, caraway seeds and raw, chopped onions. These onions are where the ‘musik’ comes from – it is said that they make music in your stomach! You eat the mixture with farmhouse-style bread and it is often accompanied by Apple Wine. The bread functions as the eating implement as traditionally no fork is provided – only a knife. You can find Handkäse mit Musik on the menu of restaurants serving local specialties.
Apple wine – Apfelwein
Apfelwein, or Ebbelwoi in the local dialect, is the local beverage and is full of history and tradition. It was first brewed out of necessity – a failed grape crop more than two centuries ago led the people of Frankfurt to turn their apples into wine instead.
Traditionally you pour apple wine from a ’Bembel‘. These are grey stoneware jugs decorated with blue swirls. The glass you drink apple wine from is also special. It has a pattern of diamonds that give texture to the outside and also give it its nickname, ‘Gerippte’ (‘ribbed’).
Although the flavour of apple wine is quite sharp, local people drink it without diluting it. However, others may prefer it either with mineral water or with lemonade. Locals particularly enjoy a glass of Apple Wine in the warmer months of the year.
Frankfurt has a couple of sweet treats for you to try, as well.
Frankfurt Crown Cake – Frankfurter Kranz
This is the local torte. It is a plain butter cake which you cook in a ring tin. You then slice it horizontally and add layers of butter cream and red jam (e.g. strawberry or cherry jam). Finally you coat it with butter cream and cover it with chopped, caramelised nuts. To finish it off, you can pipe swirls of cream on the top and adorn each swirl with a drop of the red jam or a cocktail cherry. The decorated cake resembles a crown, honouring Frankfurt as the city where the Emperors-elect of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned.
Most cake shops and bakeries have Frankfurter Kranz available – try it with coffee for morning or afternoon tea.
It is said that these small marzipan delicacies celebrate the Bethmann family, a well-to-do Frankfurt banking family. Bethmännchen are made from a dough made from marzipan and almond flour. The cook who created the bite-sized treats pressed almond halves, one to represent each Bethmann son, into the sides of each little piece.
Buy them from confectionery or souvenir shops throughout the year. They are also available from stalls at the Frankfurt Christmas Market.
Hopefully this overview of these specialty foods of Frankfurt has whetted your appetite. If you would like to know more about Frankfurt cuisine, or if you have other questions about Frankfurt, please fill out the form below.