Hessian cuisine is based on centuries-old recipes, and forms a major part of the Hesse identity. Reflecting Hesse's central location within Germany, Hessian cuisine fuses north German and south German cooking, with heavy influence from Bavarian cuisine and Rhenish Hesse. Sour tastes dominate the cuisine, with wines and ciders, sauerkraut and handkäse with onions and vinegar popular.
The Rheingau, which overlaps with western Hesse, is one of the main wine-growing regions in Germany, and the smaller Hessische Bergstraße region produces dry wines popular in South Hesse. Cider is also widely drunk, especially in the Frankfurt-am-Main area. The local Apfelwein ("apple wine", known as Ebbelwoi in the Hessian dialect) is traditionally served from a large clay jug called a Bembel and drunk from a glass with a diamond pattern called a Geripptes ("ribbed"). Hesse also includes a number of breweries, with local brands tending to dominate the market in each area.
Handkäse, a strong sour milk cheese, is associated with the Frankfurt area, where it is often served "mit Musik" ("with music") — a dressing of vinegar and onions — the "music" referring to the flatulence brought about by the raw onions. Another dish traditional to Frankfurt is the green sauce (Grüne Soße or locally Grie Soß) — a mixture of herbs, eggs, oil and vinegar — which can be served with boiled eggs, potatoes, dumplings or meat.
Outside the Rhine-Main area, the north Hesse town of Kassel has its Ahle Wurst, an air-dried or smoked sausage; Speckkuchen, a bacon quiche; Weckewerk, a brawn sausage; and its Duckefett - a sauce of bacon, onions and cream.
Although the area is not known for its sweet recipes, Bethmännchen are popular in Frankfurt at Christmas time, and Haddekuche, a form of hard gingerbread scored like a Geripptes, is a traditional accompaniment to Apfelwein.
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- (German) Peter Lesniczak (2003). Alte Landschaftsküchen Im Sog der Modernisierung. p. 137.
Reflected in the cookbooks, Hessian cuisine is a transitional form between North German and South German cuisines
- (German) Hannelore Dittmar-Ilgen (2008). Familien-Erinnerungen: Ein kulinarischer Streifzug. p. 49.
My Grandma frequently cooked vegetables this way; it is a sour style typical of Hessian cooking.
- "Hesse: A Culinary Tour of Hessen and Frankfurt". GermanFoods.org. German Foods North America, LLC. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- Elizabeth Riely (2012). The Chef's Companion: A Culinary Dictionary. p. 139.
- (German) "Kassel: Die Gebrüder Grimm Stadt". Logitravel. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
Typical dishes that you should try are Speckkuchen, Kasseler green sause and Weckewerk.
- (German) Walter Steinmetz (1999). Meine Kinderheit in Nordhessen 1943-1950. p. 73.
Duckefett is a simple meal typical of north Hesse, made of a roux with rich bacon and fried onions, served with jacket potatoes.