"Grapes don't have a nationality."—German proverb, 2019.
Upon visiting a handful of wineries scattered across three of Germany’s 13 major wine regions, I discovered that German winemakers are serious—but not snobby serious—about their wine. And perhaps that comes with being a bit in the shadows of major wine capitals to the west (France) and the South (Italy).
But perhaps it’s also a bit reflective of the local market.
After living in France, I became accustomed to the differences in prices of wine between Europe and the U.S. In France, you could pick up a bottle of good wine for as little as 2€—maybe 4€, if you wanted to splurge. (We had very little money as English teachers. I would definitely spend more now, clearly.) But that was at Carrefour—a big box grocery store.
At some of these wineries in Germany, deep in wine country, you could pick up one of the best bottles of Riesling, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Eiswein (Ice Wine), Sekt (similar to Crémant), or a memorable Rosé for as little as 5€. According to the winemakers (they said this—not me), Germans don't want to pay more than 8€ per bottle of wine—especially any wine made in Germany!
I also have to admit I was surprised by the food in Germany as everything I ate was quite good. (Although don’t let anyone fool you that speaking English will get you anywhere. Most people in these parts didn’t speak English, and there weren’t food menus available in English. Google Translate has never proved its value more.)
I've had a surprising amount of good salads (and fresh pasta) in Germany—and the portions are double the size here than the U.S., which is really saying something. I will also miss all the great muesli in Germany—it’s so popular there they have Jamba Juice-like chains dedicated to just muesli!
And seriously, based on our road trip, there must be a Michelin-starred restaurant in every village. In one suburb of Stuttgart alone, we ate at one of of the three restaurants in town—if you could call it that—one evening without a reservation.
I really should have done an entirely separate post for all the food I consumed—specifically bread and pasta—in Germany, but I’m not sure I’ll gather the strength. That said, maybe I’ll try to do a breakout post for one or two of my favorite spots…
And last but never least, my favorite: Flammekueche! Or rather, flammkuchen. This was one of my favorite things to eat while living in Nord-Pas-De-Calais. (It's basically white pizza, but it's also perfect winter food—although pizza is truly a good anytime food, but I digress.) Flammkuchen is a speciality specific to the French/German border, regional to Alsace, Baden-Württemberg, and the Rheinland-Pfalz regions. Quite simply, it's fantastic!