One of my favorite things to do while traveling is trying weird local foods, especially the kind of stuff I can’t get in Moscow or New York or London. I might not always love what I’m eating, but I always have fun experimenting. Here’s what German exploration (which apparantly was so fun that I forgot to take photos of the foods, thus Instragrams!) has brought:
Hand Cheese with Music
Handkäs mit Musik is an extremely pungent cheese, made by hand from sour milk, and usually served marinated with some raw white onions. It’s as good as it sounds. The German totally lied to be about the whole “with music” business of its name. He kept saying that because the taste is so strong (not in the best way), that it forces people to sing? Yeah, it didn’t make any sense to me either. And now I know why – because the real explanation is a lot less polite, and refers to the sounds produced with other body parts after eating this very, um, special dish.
Would I ever say no to strange foreign booze? That was a rhetorical question, obviously. In Germany, I didn’t just broaden my schnapps experience, but actually learned what schnapps is, and how it’s made (it’s like vodka but made from fruit instead of grain or potatoes). It’s a little sweet for my taste, but I think it’d be great in a cocktail with soda water and some lemon. Is that a thing, or should I patent it right now?
Frankfurter Grüne Soße is made of sour cream (yum!), pureed hard-boiled eggs (surprisingly not gross), and of course, herbs. Seven specific herbs, to be precise: borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet (I only know three from this list). The whole mixture (plus some spices, olive oil etc) is served chilled on top of potatoes, eggs — what have you. It wasn’t as fragrant as I’d expect this kind of mix to be, but it was a really nice, refreshing addition to the more simple foundational foods. I liked it as a dressing on a salad AND on sliced-up sausage.
I’m not one for sweets or pastries (that melon pan only snuck through because it was more bread than cake), but Schneebälle seemed to be THE defining food specialty of Rothenburg, so I had to have it. It’s pretty delicious, very rich, and very, VERY messy. If you’re getting any kind of flavor involving chocolate, make sure to eat it sitting down and with a pile of napkins. I actually took a fork to mine and STILL had to lick my fingers clean.
Ham & Pineapple Breakfast Quesadilla
Perhaps my biggest food adventure in Germany happened when The German abandoned me to my own devices one morning (work errands, meh) and dropped me off at a local cafe for a few hours. A local cafe in a non-touristy suburb of Frankfurt, where nobody spoke English and there was no English-language menu in sight. Thank God for WiFi! First it was Google Translate to the rescue, but because German dishes exist only in the very special German universe, I had to stop trying to translate menu items and rely on image search. Let me tell you, Frankfurt folk have some very interesting ideas about breakfast food. Which is how I ended up starting my day with a ham and pineapple quesadilla with a lettuce-cucumber salad under yogurt sauce. Totally into it!