THE green sauce of Frankfurt curiously perhaps predates the phylloxera that wiped out its wines, appearing in a text book in 1830. There are other green and herb sauces but this one is distinct to the region and has not migrated. It should be at least 30 per cent herbs mixed with sour cream but the herbs must be local and should be a combination of borage, cress, chervil, parsley, burnet, sorrel and chives. Usually it served with eggs or with its eponymous sausage or here as a cold soup…
To most people Frankfurt does not figure on any gastronomic scale, but it does have a secret, by way of its unique apple wine taverns which are as much a part of the local culture as the visiting exhibition goers to the gigantic messe halls…Munich might be known for beer, but post the phylloxera epidemic in the late 1880s that wiped out their vines, Frankfurt and the area around, adapted its technology to its apples and created a fresh, low alcohol, sour cider that resembles if anything a Reisling poured out of iconic bembel jugs into rimmed glass gerippte. The tourist board assures that it is less calorific than white wine and has unusual health benefits.What it does do is go well with the kind of essential German, provincial cooking of hunks of pork, sauerkraut, which tend to be served in what you might call a generous, literal way.
Like German football teams there is not much to choose between the taverns themselves beyond personal choice – long tables, no beer, maybe a garden or outside space, wooden panels, meat centric menus. Most people go in groups of minimum of four. They are loosely described as what a good British pub used to be and sadly which you would be hard pressed to find anymore.
The best known is the Adolf Wagner founded in 1931 and now in its third generation in the same family. It expands concertina like when there is a big exhibition in town and feels almost Disney-esque in its consumption of tourists. Bucolic waiters bring out trays of pretty much the entire pig roasted in various ways.
Trip Adviser lists Ebbelwoi Unser as the best which is fine by me, my own preference lags down in 51st position but is round the corner perhaps because it is more favoured by locals. Confusingly it seems to be two restaurants divided by a street. Go early.
And as you might notice in the photograph, finish with schnapps.
Apfelweinwirtschaft Fichtekränzi. Kai Buhrfeindt, Wallstraße 5,D-60594 Frankfurt am Main
Tel/Fax: +49 69 612778 fichtekraenze.de