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GermanyisWunderbar GermanyisWunderbar
GermanyisWunderbar April 2011

Farty nun, anyone?


The zanier side of German food and drink

Britain, with its jellied eels and bubble and squeak, has its fair share of quirky delicacies, but in Germany you can dine out on anything from rusty knights to nun’s farts, with heaven and earth in-between. And the nation that gave us Blue Nun also offers Kröver Nacktarsch (literally ‘naked arse from Kröv’), a palatable Riesling from the Moselle Valley which supposedly got its name when a cellarman caught two boys syphoning off his wine (see left). Glass of bare bum, anyone?

  • Nonnenfürzle (literally ‘small fart of a nun’) is actually a very nice choux pastry traditionally eaten around Carnival, and only in Swabia known as Nonnenfürzle. The dish was actually called Nonnenfürtchen from the old German word nunnekenfurt which simply means ‘best made by nuns’. Some joker thought Nonnenfürtchen could easily be turned into Nonnenfürzchen by substituting one letter (Fürzchen = small fart).
  • Rostige Ritter or Arme Ritter (literally ‘rusty knights’ or ‘poor knights’). The main ingredients are old bread rolls softened in milk, and similar recipes can be found all over the world, including the UK’s ‘poor knights of Windsor’.
  • Saumagen (literally ‘sow’s stomach’) is the German version of haggis local to the Palatinate (Pfalz) region. It had its moment in the limelight a few years ago when former chancellor Helmut Kohl, himself a Pfälzer , had the dish served (albeit it in a very refined way), to all of his state visitors from Gorbachev to the Queen.
  • Himmel und Erde (literally ‘heaven and earth’). Himmel und Ääd in proper Cologne vernacular consists of potatoes and apples mixed together and eaten with black pudding, onions and bacon. Not heavenly at all if you are a dieting vegetarian.
  • Handkäs mit Musik (literally ‘hand cheese with music’) is eaten in Frankfurt and the whole Rhine Hesse area. The dish is a very specific local sour milk cheese that is marinated with onions. The music bit allegedly refers to the sounds that might be produced after digesting the onions; blame any nuns sitting nearby!

More Wunderbar info for foodies


Wunderbar goes German


Our front cover feature for the Guardian Travel section (‘Wunderbar! The Best of Germany’) back in March was picked up by the German press in the elegant city of Leipzig, where it made headlines. Because they were the first of a list of 20 travel gems, the Leipziger assumed that meant they were the best. Sadly, we had to point out that the list wasn't in fact a ranking, but nevertheless for a week or so our site was getting more daily hits from Germany than from English-speaking countries. Welcome, you Germans!


Hints, tips and offers


Bavarian Alps’ UK promotion

London dwellers should keep an eye out for a new tube stop over the next couple of weeks. Courtesy of Bavaria Tourism, one of Bavaria’s most famous sights, Neuschwanstein Castle, will lighten up the UK capital in a poster campaign ‘Next stop: Bavarian Alps’ featuring a new tube station emerging at the castle gates. This will coincide with a special Bavarian Alps promotion on the travel site Travelzoo featuring discounted offers and information on highlights such as the Zugspitz region, Lake Chiemgau and Ludwig’s castles.

Nuremberg’s Blue Night

It might sound vaguely pornographic, but actually this cultural celebration is nothing of the sort. Blue Night is an annual event, this year on 28th May, when all the city’s museums throw their doors open right into the pre-dawn. In addition, there are special music and theatre performances all across town, and the whole city is bathed in a numinous blue light. This year’s theme is ‘strange worlds’; strange worlds indeed.

Parkschlösschen’s Karma cure

Europe’s first luxury Ayurvedic spa resort, located in the elegant Moselle valley, is offering clients a discount of 15 percent on all overnights and its special summer Panchakarma cure, when taken between 1st June and 15th September 2011.

The Panchakarma is a light detox which involves a nine-day minimum stay, and is just right for warm summer days. Massage, yoga and cleansing peelings work holistically on the body, mind and soul. Meanwhile the Parkschlösschen’s picturesque park, its extensive sports programme, and its gourmet vegetarian cuisine add to a deep sense of good health. Flat rate for treatment is € 1,715.

Frankfurt’s apple wine weekends

The commercial capital’s favourite tipple is central to special weekend packages focused on Sachsenhausen, the city’s traditional, relaxed, going-out district, south of the river.

The apple wine weekend packages (from Friday to Sunday) include two nights’ hotel accommodation, Frankfurt Card for two days, a one-hour city tour on the ‘Apple Wine Express’ Frankfurt’s historical streetcar, and a dinner of Goethe’s favourite (boiled filet of beef with Frankfurt’s famous ‘green sauce’) served at a typical Sachsenhausen apple wine pub, including a free glass of apple wine. From €104 per person sharing a double room.

Halle’s Handel Festival

With a great sense of international diplomacy, the composer Handel shared his life equally between the UK and Germany, so that both countries can truthfully claim him as their own! He was born, however, in Halle in the Cultural Heart of Germany, back in 1865, a fact which the city celebrates every year.

This year’s Handel Festival runs from 2nd to 12th June, in various venues throughout the city, and the programme is not just music, for there are associated exhibitions, workshops and lectures, too. The concert performances feature other composers, mostly Handel’s contemporaries, but the showpiece events are dominated by the great man himself.

Oberstaufen’s hiking paradise

When a hiking trail fulfils a certain number of quality criteria, they like to give it a special stamp of approval in Germany and call it Premiumwanderweg, a premium hiking trail. Oberstaufen in Bavaria’s Allgäu region can rightly claim to be a veritable hiking paradise with 300km of trails altogether, and a few of these premium ones thrown in. Routes take in secluded waterfalls, idyllic mountain huts and impressive views from the 1,833-metre high Hochgrat mountain.

Baiersbronn’s foodie trails

Here’s something for all the foodies who like to combine exercise with indulgence: the Black Forest community of Baiersbronn is launching four very special hiking trails this May. The 10km- to 12km-long trails lead hikers through forests and past lakes but each one also offers plenty of opportunities for stops in Wanderhütten , hiking lodges serving traditional dishes and regional beer. All of the trails are circuits and all fulfil the criteria necessary to receive the premium hiking trail label.

Koblenz flower power

From 15th April to 16th October Koblenz will host this year’s Federal Horticultural Show turning the city on the Rhine and the Moselle into a bonanza of flowers, trees and landscape design. Apart from three exhibition areas at the Kurfürstliches Schloss, the ‘Flower Court’ and Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, the embankment along the Rhine will be transformed into a promenade where visitors can dip their feet into the river. Themed rooms in Fortress Ehrenbreitstein will also host a travel exhibition presenting the area’s highlights. Meanwhile, don’t miss your chance to win a trip for two to visit the Federal Horticultural Show in our current GermanyisWunderbar competition.

Niedersachsen’s architecture gems

The region around Osnabrück in the northern German state of Niedersachsen has some surprising architectural treats. Osnabrück itself features the Felix-Nussbaum-Haus, designed by US architect Daniel Libeskind and built in commemoration of the works of the Jewish painter Felix Nussbaum, a local of Osnabrück who was killed in Auschwitz. A newly designed entrance will open this April.

By contrast, the old listed farmhouses of the Artland, a region north of Osnabrück, feature the traditional timber-frame design. More than 100 farms have been kept intact as a reminder of the times when the rich farmers of the region expressed their wealth in their buildings.


Masthead images

Left to right, T top, B bottom: Black Forest gone blue, Achim Mende. Brandenburger Hof hotel. Schloss Lübbenau (T). Bundesliga, GNTB (B). Ski lift at Fichtelberg, Oberwiesenthal Tourism (T). Martin Luther (B). Chilled gnome, DZT (T). Rügen cliffs, GNTB (B). Cherry cake, pa (B). Berlin S-Bahn.

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