Try Bethmännchen, Frankfurt’s famous sweets
I briefly checked if VT has any tip on this delicious local sweets and as there is none (Don, why didn’t you already wrote about them?), I thought, I could mention them.
Bethmännchen (literally translated into little Bethmann, albeit more of these) is a very much delicious pastry which we eat for Christmas. It consists of marzipan, almonds, sugar, flour, egg and rosewater, all formed to small balls, which are decorated with almond halves, glazed with egg yolk and then baked.
The name derives from an old family, local to Frankfurt. Their pastry chef Jean Jacques Gautenier has developed the recipe in 1838, at least is what legend says. Originally they are said to have four almonds, one for each of the Bethmann sons Moritz, Alexander, Karl and Heinrich and that after Heinrich’s death in 1845, one almond was left aside. However, this is what legends say, and they might be even older, as the father Simon Moritz von Bethmann died already in 1826.
Well, legend or not – they are very much delicious and a perfect gift to bring back home, in case you are at Frankfurt during Christmas times :-)
I should mention that I took the photo and then they vanished to please my tastes and stomach, and only then I transferred the photos to my computer.... When I realised that I was a bit out of focus... it was too late. Sorry !
- Business Travel
- Food and Dining
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Frankfurt's National Drink - Able-Voy (Ebbelwoi)
Anybody can drink beer, but only true Hessians live to drink Apple Wine, or Apfelwein, as it's properly called. The Offenbachers just call it "Ebbelwoi" or "Ebbler" or "eine Schoppe".
Keep in mind that this stuff for the untrained tongue will taste like vinegar to some, or brake degreaser to others. If any true Frankfurters bother to read this page they will be insulted.
This wine is traditionally made from Speierling Apples, small, sour tasting apples that produce lots of sugar acid when it ferments, to give the wine it's characteristic taste.
There are different forms of this product, including Cidre, which is cut apple wine with lower alcohol content. The real McCoy has approximately 5.8% alcohol, which puts it near the alcohol content of German beer. What most people don't realise is that apple wine doesn't stop fermenting when it hits your stomach, and can even turn the food you just ate into alcohol too, especially if you have eaten anything sour.
The good and bad news: Apple Wine is a double-whammy drink.
They serve it traditionally in the glasses like in the picture, which are quarter liter glasses - two glasses and you need to take a taxi home.
For those who aspire to become one of the natives, you can ween yourself into liking it by ordering a "Zus-ge-spritz-ter" or half wine, half 7-UP. Then move on to "Zower-ge-spritz-ter" or half wine, half soda water. Then you can graduate to the real thing. Frankfurters can hardly wait until Fall, when they can finally order "Rauscher". Rausch is the German word for "stoned", or for Apple Juice that has just turned into wine. Whoever can drink a half a liter of Rauscher and walk a straight line can honestly claim he cannot get drunk.
Doctors claim that a few glasses every now and then are actually healthy, because the acid content is high enough to kill virus-loaded bacteria, helicopter bacteria, fungus, mold and other forms of alien life in your intestines.
- Wine Tasting
Green Sauce - Try It, You'll Like It!
The very first time I ordered this dish, my first thought was, "Oh my God! The cook barfed on my plate!" Let's face it, genuine Frankfurter Green Sauce doesn't look appetizing, but it tastes FANTASTIC. Just like guacamole, green sauce is a cold sauce that is usually served with boiled potatoes and pickeled meat or hard boiled eggs.
It tastes so good, that it's even rumored that it was Johann von Goethe's favorite dish. Real Frankfurter Green Sauce is made from at least 7 herbes, including parsely, chives, dill, chervil, pumpernickel, sorrel and borageo. Then they add fresh plain yoghurt, curds (cottage cheese), sour creme, a dab of mayonaise and a spoon full of mustard and a touch of horse radish, plus salt and pepper and a dash of white wine vinegar.
Once you try it, you'll never forget it, and now I committed a Frankfurter crime - I spilled the beans and told you the receipe.
- Food and Dining
This fat-bellied pitcher is called a Bembel. It is the traditional stoneware pitcher in which apple wine is served. The origin of the name is not really known, but you usually won't see them outside of Hesse, and in other German states they may not even know what they are.
They come in all sizes - from ½ to 3 liter size. The Hessians have their own colloquial phrases for them, so you can order like the locals as follows:
Bembel-shaw = ½ liter
Oy! = 1 liter
Oy-yoy! = 1-½ liters
Oy-yoy-yoy! = 2 liters
Oy-yoy-yoy-yoy! = 3 liters
Whenever I'm in Frankfurt on a Saturday, there is a demonstration. Maybe it's a coincidence, but there certainly are lots of demonstrations, usually between the area at the city hall -Roemer - to the area at the old opera house, or vice versa.
The picture here is from a demonstration asking for better schools and more teachers. While parents and teachers were marching, waving their banners, there were also some kids marching along. They were shouting" School's out! School's out!"
Somehow I think they didn't quite understand what this was all about...
Main Cafe - a must during Summer
It is only open during Spring/Summer, whilst the weather is still warm. Its also one of the few bars to make use of the park running along the river, the Maincafý is no more than a bunch of tables and a beertap in a park. It's an incredibly popular spot on warm nights, when hundreds of people lounge around on the grass, Weissbier in hand, to watch the sun set behind the skyscrapers and the pretty lights come on. Beer, cocktails and nachos are available.
Its mostly locals that go here and the tourists don't yet know about it. This is chilling out in Summer, Frankfurt-style. All ages, all people, all welcome. Enjoy !! :0)
You'll find it on the southern Main bank, near the Architecture Museum and between the Untermainbrýcke and Holbeinsteg bridge.
Offenbach is a large city that practically forms a part of Frankfurt, but stubbornly refuses to join it. There is a history of antagonism between the two cities, and it lingers to this day. They don't like each other at all, and although you can live in Offenbach and see Frankfurt on the other side of the river, they see themselves as two distinct identities.
When Frankfurt was an Imperial city, those who were refused entry inside its city walls took refuge in Offenbach. All the outcasts: the immigrants, the poor, the Jews and the others not welcome inside Frankfurt lived here, and the difference between the two cities remains today.
Frankfurt's city center can be seen from all over Offenbach with its shiny skyscraper's advertising their wealth across the river. In comparison Offenbach is a scruffy and undistiguished suburban sprawl. Amazingly, though, Offenbach ends up being even more cosmopolitan than its neighbour, with an even higher proportion of foreigners in its population than even Frankfurt itself.
If its your birthday...
If you are fortunate enough to be working in Germany and you have a birthday that falls on a work day, then you are expected to bring in a birthday cake to the office. You might also be expected to take your colleagues for a drink after work to celebrate. And yes, you pay! But its certainly considered rude not to at least bring a cake on your birthday!
a hot aeppler?
As you could imagine Frankfurt has of course a Christmas Market!
Around Roemer you find everything which is typical for a German Christmas Market. A lot of stands selling Gluehwine, sausages and other food and drinks.
As you are in Frankfurt you can also get hot aeppler. I tasted it last year for the first time and it was quite good, a nice change to gluehwine ...
- Family Travel
Appler in Bornheim
This is a really potent apple wine - served in this warm typical German neighborhood restaurant (more about the food in the restaurant tip). Note that this appeler was laced with clove, spices and a lemon slice. Note also the oranges imbedded with clove - tintellating aroma!
- Food and Dining
Street Festival Sachsenhausen
Frankfurts city district Sachsenhausen celebrates a street festival in summer with lots of food, drinks and music. You can meet people from almost all over the world at this multicultural event.
We came here during a VT-meeting at the end of August (don't know if it is every year at this time) when we were looking for a place to dine. So we found this by chance.
A local favourite
Äppelwoi, Äppler, Appelwein, Ebbelwoi, Ebbelwei, Schoppe, Stöffche are all names that can be used in Frankfurt to indicate the most typical local drink: apple wine.
I am not an expert of cider, but I enjoyed several glasses of Apfelwein before and during a dinner at a typical “Apfelweinlokale” and I found that its fresh, slightly acidic taste goes together well with most foods.
I learned that this Apfelwein is made only from apples, of the varieties "Schafsnase", "Trierer Weinapfel", "Rheinischer Bohnapfel", "Kaiser Wilhelm", "Bittenfelder", "Brettacher" and "Roter Boskoop", without any addition of other fruit. Its contents of alcohol is around 5 or 6 %.
The jug you see in the picture is a miniature copy of a Bembel, the typical jugs used to serve Apfelwein. It is made of clay, cooked at 1200°C, and glazed with salt. It is traditionally decorated with a blue design on a grey background.
In September 2011 the Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York, protesting inequality, the power of banks and “the greed and corruption of the 1%” – meaning the richest one percent of the population. The movement quickly spread to other cities throughout the world, including Frankfurt as Germany’s principal financial center.
After a false start in September, protesters in Frankfurt set up camp in October 2011 under the big Euro sign in the park in front of the EuroTower, which is the provisional headquarters of the European Central Bank.
The sign under the big Euro reads: "Let us talk about the future! Now!"
Second photo: This sign reads: “Dear Occupy-Critics, do not expect finished solutions. Come and help us find some!” Discussions about how to end inequality and solve the world financial crisis are conducted daily and anyone is welcome to join in, including bankers who work in the nearby skyscrapers.
Third photo: Tents in the banking district. The banner in the foreground says: “You occupy money. We occupy the world.” The building in the background on the left is the Frankfurt Opera.
Fourth photo: Notice board entitled “Breaking Banks”, with an Italian Peace flag at the top.
Fifth photo: This sign is in French: “For a better world.”
For more photos of “Occupy Frankfurt” see my tip Frankfurt Skyline Countdown, # 13 on my Land Hessen page.
Frankfurt's skyline is dominated by skyscrapers, near its historic center/ downtown unlike some other German and European cities who restrict these constructions around historical areas. Due to its inumerous skyscrapers, and also because Frankfurt is bathed by River Main, it is often called Mainhattan or Chicago am Main.
The reason for Frankfurt's skyscrapers is related to WWII bombings. The historic centre of the city was highly damaged by bombs, and only part of the main landmarks were rebuilt. So, it was easier to approve the construction of high buildings than in other cities whose historic centre was well preserved.
The first skyscrapers date from late 1960s and are still not well accepted by locals.
Street art by herakut
Up to now Frankfurt has not been known as a hotbed of street art, but that may be changing with this large mural called "Better than Perfection" by herakut, two German artists (Hera and Akut) who have been working together since 2004 painting wall murals all over the world.
You can find this wall painting near the Eschenheimer Tor, behind the construction site where the English-language movie theater Turm Palast used to be. On YouTube there is an interesting time-lapse/split-screen video showing how they created this large painting.
"Better than Perfection" is part of a series called “The giant storybook project”, a children’s book in the form of large wall paintings spread all over the planet, for instance in Toronto, Melbourne and San Francisco. The one in Frankfurt is the newest (as of the end of 2013), but it shows the beginning of the story, with the heroine ‘Lilly’ as a baby in her mother’s arms. As the story continues, Lilly grows up as an outsider but eventually finds her way in life and presumably will also find her twin brother who grew up on the other side of an impenetrable wall.
For those who do not wish to contribute to air pollution by flying all over the world to see these paintings, herakut will no doubt publish photos of them as a book at some point. They have already brought out two books: The Perfect Merge showing their work from 2004 to 2009 and After the Laughter, a scrapbook from 2009 to 2011.
The reason they called their first book The Perfect Merge is that the two of them have very different painting styles. When they make a new painting, Hera starts by spraying the outlines in long, spontaneous, curvy and sometimes aggressive black lines. Then Akut takes over and fills in some of the spaces with surface textures and photorealistic details.
Hera’s real name is Jasmin Siddiqui. She was born here in Frankfurt am Main in 1981. In an interview on German television she said she got her start by writing “Truth Hurts” on walls when she was twelve. Another thing she says in interviews is: “If you have trouble spraying a straight line, then don’t do it.”
Akut’s real name is Falk Lehmann. He was born in 1978 in a town called Schmalkalden, Thüringen, where herakut now have an atelier. Hera and Akut are very conscious of the fact that they grew up on different sides of a wall, so it is no coincidence that the twins in their “giant storybook project” also grew up on different sides of a wall, but a fantasy wall, not the one between East and West Germany.
Unlike Jana and JS, another woman-and-man painting team of the same generation who also roam the world making huge wall paintings, Jasmin and Falk are not a couple in their private lives. In an English-language interview in The Lab Magazine, Jasmin said they had once been lovers for a short time, but “then we totally realized it wasn’t about that at all. We’re like twins in a way. We’re so close a relationship wouldn’t work.”
So now, when they are not painting somewhere together, Hera (Jasmin) lives in Heidelberg with her boyfriend and Akut (Falk) lives in Munich.
More videos about herakut on youtube.com.
Videos about herakut on vimeo.com.
Update April 2014: herakut have just come out with a completely new website (with the same URL http://www.herakut.de/). It now includes a full page on their Frankfurt project. Among other things, they write: “Frankfurt will have this mural for three years.” – meaning presumably that in 2017 some new building will be built in front of the painting.
They also say that they are preparing a new show in Frankfurt with the title “Blood, Sweat and Tears” – “more infos coming soon”.
Colours of Resilience by herakut in Frankfurt am Main.
Castle Festival and Street Art in Bad Vilbel, near Frankfurt am Main.
Street Art in Butte-aux-Cailles, Paris, featuring Jana & JS, the blood-sucking HADOPI and Miss-Tic.
Street of the Five Diamonds in Paris, featuring Miss-Tic in the second photo.
Jana & JS on Joan of Arc Street in Paris.
Belleville: Beware of words by Ben Vautier, in Paris.
Belleville: Jean Le Gac's detective in Paris.
Gaza Strip by Blu, in Prague.
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