The Most Interesting Things in the Least Interesting City: Frankfurt’s Spring Festival

Dippe: What this fest is all about
Dippe: What this fest is all about

Frankfurt isn’t known for many things. A busy international airport hub, a thriving financial district, Goethe’s house, and a few traditional-style houses in its old town area. While two of the top ten must-sees may be train stations, even one of the least interesting major German cities has a little bit of local charm.

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Apfelwein
Apfelwein

Last weekend I got to see the best of what Frankfurt has to offer at the Frühjahrs- (spring) Dippemess festival: Apfelwein, Apfelwein pitchers, and Wurst. The only thing missing was Frankfurt’s signature green sauce. Believe it or not, that gets its own festival next month!

The Dippemess, which takes place for several weeks in both spring and fall, is a fair named in honor of the distinctive ceramic pots and pitchers known in Frankfurter dialect as “Dippe.” Handmade grayish kitchen containers of all shapes and sizes painted with flowery blue designs lined the shelves of several stands almost hidden at the heart of the fairground. Traditionally the pitchers are used for serving Frankfurt’s famously sour apple wine, usually poured into small glasses marked with crisscross patterns. In true German fashion, many of the containers had etched labels to avoid any kitchen confusion. Many short fat pots among these were, of course, for Handkӓs’, a pungent cheese considered to be another Frankfurt specialty.

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The rest of the Festplatz was packed with fun and rather ridiculous rides, carnival games, and delicious festival food. This year the Frühjahrs-Dippemess runs until April 19. More about the Green Sauce Festival in early May. Guten Appetit!

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