Franconia and the German Danube Feature

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What to Eat in Franconia

Franconia is known for its good and filling food and for its simple and atmospheric Gasthäuser. Pork is a staple, served either as Schweinsbraten (a plain roast) or with Knödel (dumplings made from either bread or potatoes). The specialties in Nürnberg, Coburg, and Regensburg are the Bratwürste—short, spiced sausages. The Nürnberg variety is known all over Germany; they are even on the menu on the ICE trains. You can have them grilled or heated in a stock of onions and wine (saurer Zipfel). Bratwürste are traditionally served in denominations of 3, 6, or 8 with sauerkraut and potato salad or dark bread.

On the sweet side, try the Dampfnudel, a kind of sweet yeast-dough dumpling that is tasty and filling. Nürnberger Lebkuchen, a sort of gingerbread eaten at Christmastime, is loved all over Germany. A true purist swears by Elisen Lebkuchen, which are made with no flour. Both Lebkuchen and Bratwürste are protected under German law and are only "legal" when made in or around Nürnberg.

Not to be missed are Franconia's liquid refreshments from both the grape and the grain. Franconian wines, usually white and sold in distinctive flat bottles called Bocksbeutel, are renowned for their special bouquet. (Silvaner is the traditional grape.) The region has the largest concentration of local breweries in the world (Bamberg alone has 9, Bayreuth 7), producing a wide range of brews, the most distinctive of which is the dark, smoky Rauchbier and the even darker and stronger Schwärzla. Then, of course, there is Kulmbach, with the Doppelbock Kulminator 28, which takes nine months to brew and has an alcohol content of 12%.

Updated: 2014-03-11

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