Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Essen from Hessen: Frankfurt

In our share house, we live with a guy who is from Frankfurt (am Main, not Oder). So when we found ourselves in the city, not only were we prepared for the skyscrapers – something rarely seen in Germany – we were also ready for the experience that is Handkäse.

Hand cheese. Not the most appetising name; and if the name doesn't put you off, then perhaps the sight will. Given its name for the way in which it is traditionally formed – by hand – this sour milk cheese resembles a piece of translucent, yellow fat. I'm not kidding.

Fat: yellow and gelatinous (source)
Hand cheese: translucent and waxy
Given that the two things we knew we had to try were this horrible-sounding cheese, and its less offensive matching beverage, Ebbelwoi (dialect for Apfelwein – cider) we went head first and ordered both at a little Biergarten specialising in the regional cuisine. We also each ordered schnitzel chasers.

The Ebbelwoi came out first. As we both love cider, we knew that this would be a beverage we would like. The glasses soon formed condensation due to the lovely weather, and we happily sipped our cider, waiting for the scary part.

Roughly the size of a doughnut, our Handkäse mit Musik – hand cheese with finely chopped onion on top, came floating in a bath of oil and vinegar, and a served slice of rye bread. I was pleasantly surprised I didn't want to gag, despite the pungency of the offering. In fact, once in my mouth, it was quite nice – the texture somewhat waxy and finishing off with a taste similar to Camembert. Washed down with a gulp of cider, the whole experience wasn't too bad.

Mr von S's Schnitzel mit Speck und Zwiebeln
Next, our schnitzels. Mr von S ordered his with bacon and onion with a side of roast potatoes. I ordered the Frankfurter schnitzel, which came served with roast potatoes, a side salad and Grüne Soße (green sauce). I took a punt on this one, and the result was interesting. The sauce was very green, and to me tasted overwhelmingly like parsley and not much else. But according to wikipedia “The Frankfurt-style [of green sauce] is made from hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, salt, and generous amount of seven fresh herbs, namely borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet.” Hm. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure my sauce did not include chervil nor borage – only parsley. Despite the fact that the sauce is served cold, I quite enjoyed it, and liked the freshness it added to the otherwise heavy meal.

My Schnitzel - with green sauce.
The schnitzels were well cooked and much better than any pub schnitzel or parma I've had – and a fraction of the price – at €7.00 each, I don't know I'll ever be able to order a sub-standard parma for AU$20.00 again.

After a second glass of cider, we enjoyed a very slow stroll around Frankfurt, feeling rundum wohl and full of Gemütlichkeit.

Next: the beautiful university town, Heidelberg and Schneeballen

xoxo Fifi

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