European Feast

European Feast

In honor of not cooking this Thanksgiving, here are some of my all-time favorite food and drink pictures from all over Europe over the last three years. Guten Appetit & Happy Thanksgiving!

Note: I wasn’t too big on taking food pictures until recently. A few not pictured favorites include mussels in Belgium, Indonesian food in the Netherlands, Sacher torte (a kind of chocolate cake) in Austria, stuffed peppers in Romania, Scotch and shortbread in Scotland; Guinness in Ireland, fondue and Raclette in Switzerland, pasta-sauerkraut-cheese stir fry in the Czech Republic, smoked salmon in Sweden and Norway, and gelato, coffee, pizza, etc., etc. in Italy.

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50 Shades of Green Sauce

The number of people who don't know green sauce
The number of people who don’t know green sauce

Green sauce with the traditional hard-boiled eggs and potatoes. Green sauce on schnitzel. Green sauce on fish. Green sauce on French fries. Even green sauce sorbet and chocolates. These were a few of the treats offered at Frankfurt’s recent Green Sauce Festival.

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So what is green sauce exactly? (For, as one festival banner astutely noted, most of the world outside of its hometown Frankfurt is in the dark about “Grie Soβ” – so called in the local dialect, as opposed to the standard German “Grüne Soβe.”)

The 7 herbs
The 7 herbs

It’s actually quite tasty, contrary to how it may sound. Sour cream- and yogurt-based with chopped hard-boiled eggs, oil and vinegar. The greenish color comes from a mix of seven herbs, half of which I’ve never heard of before: borage, burnet, chervil, chives, garden cress, parsley and sorrel.

Traditional green sauce with eggs and potatoes
Traditional green sauce with eggs and potatoes (and Apfelwein)

As I mentioned, this creamy sauce is traditionally served with more hard-boiled eggs and potatoes, usually along with Frankfurt’s sour specialty drink: apple wine. But at this small street festival, bordered by food trucks and more traditional food and drink stands, Frankfurt went all out experimenting with other possibilities.

In addition, each Frankfurter has their own style of making the local dish. So a contest was held over the week the festival ran to determine whose green sauce is the best this year.

Green sauce sorbet
Green sauce sorbet

By the way, the green sauce sorbet tasted exactly like you would expect an herb-based ice to taste. Interestingly, the herby “green” taste was complemented by a sweeter layer of strawberry sorbet. The white chocolate truffles filled with green sauce cream were also a mix of herb and sweet flavors, and surprisingly delicious. Well worth a visit just for the creative experimentation with this local sauce.

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For more on Frankfurt cuisine: Frankfurt Tourism Site

And to make your own Grie Soß: Green Sauce Recipe

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!