Germany off the beaten track

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Regional cuisine - a rich diversity of regional foods

We have the Romans to thank for another German specialty - wine - which they brought to the Mosel near Trier nearly 2,000 years ago. Today, vineyards line the banks of Mosel, Saar and Ruwer Rivers, as well as the Rhine from Wiesbaden to Koblenz and beyond.

Wine also plays a major role elsewhere. For instance in Freiburg, at the heart of Baden's wine-growing region, you can savor a quarter-liter goblet of the nectar of the gods, accompanied by mouthwatering specialties such as Black Forest ham, locally grown white asparagus (between mid-April and mid-June), Black Forest trout, and game dishes.

Würzburg, the former capital of Franconia, is a grape-growing center with a number of famous large vineyards. The "Bürgerspital-Weingut Zum Heiligen Geist," for example, is believed to have invented the "Bocksbeutel," a flat, pouch-shaped bottle that is the hallmark of Franconian wine. Here you can participate in wine tastings and wine cellar tours, and the same holds for the Staatlicher Hofkeller and the "Weingut Juliusspital" (Juliusspital Wine Estate).

In Wiesbaden, follow in the footsteps of Fyodor Dostoevsky and stop at the Weinhaus Kögler, a typical wine pub. The Rheingau region houses the Riesling wines that mature to their highest perfection here. Visit to wine-growing monastery/cloister, wine seminars and wine tasting or even taking part into the harvest show all aspects of wine.

Savoring the specialties from the Koblenz region is a particular and unique experience. Enjoy original dishes such as "Debbekooche" (potato pancake made of grated potatoes, bacon and onions), together with a young or mature wine from the steep slopes of the Moselle vineyards or the Rhine valley.

Thuringian bratwurst sausages and dumplings are served in Erfurt´s many beer gardens and restaurants. These local specialties are not to be missed!

In Münster you will find traditional fare like Westphalian ham, pork ragout, hearty stews, Pumpernickel (the black bread "born" in the region) and Rote Grütze (a cooled, just lightly boiled and sweetened ragout of fresh berries, topped with cream).