What to Eat on the Romantic Road

To sample the authentic food of this area, venture off the beaten track of the official Romantic Road into any small town with a nice-looking Gasthof or Wirtshaus. Order Sauerbraten (roast beef marinated in a tangy sauce) with Spätzle (small boiled ribbons of rolled dough), or try Maultaschen (oversize Swabian ravioli stuffed with meat and herbs), another typical regional dish.

Franconia (the Franken region, which has its "capital" in Würzburg) is the sixth-largest wine-producing area of Germany. Franconian wines—half of which are made from the Müller-Thurgau grape hybrid, made from crossing Riesling with another white-wine grape—are served in distinctive green, flagon-shape wine bottles. Riesling and red wines account for only about 5% of the total production of Franconian wine.

Before you travel north on the Romantic Road, be sure to enjoy the beer country in the south. There is a wide range of Franconian and Bavarian brews available, from Rauchbier (literally, "smoked beer") to the lighter Pilsners of Augsburg. If this is your first time in Germany, beware of the potency of German beer—some can be quite strong. (In the past few years more and more breweries offer excellent alcohol-free versions of their products.) The smallest beers are served at 0.3 liters (slightly under 12 ounces). Restaurants typically serve 0.5 liters at a time; in most beer tents and beer gardens the typical service is a full 1-liter stein.

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