Travelling just an hour out of Stansted by plane, I arrived in Frankfurt Hahn airport, on my way to visit a friend who’s living in the city for six months. Although picking cheaper flights into Hahn, rather than flying into Frankfurt main airport, meant an extended journey (it takes two hours by bus), it meant we saw the rolling green countryside that lay between the airport and the main city. It was a bank holiday weekend and from the road, you could see families pitching their tents up in the surrounding fields, ready for a long weekend camping.
My friend’s living just a few minutes walk from the city centre so it didn’t take us long to find the hustle and bustle of the Saturday morning food market…my favourite! And it didn’t disappoint – you really don’t have to go far to find lots of different traditions and cuisines.
My first find was a crate of brightly coloured painted eggs. After a little research, I’m still unsure if this is an Easter tradition and they’re trying to shift surplus stock (although it is now May) or whether they are in fact hard boiled eggs, painted so you’re able to differentiate them from their uncooked equals. Does anyone know?
Wandering round the market, it seemed every other stall we came to had some form of fresh herb pick ‘n’ mix offering everything from nettles to parsley. This guy’s were laid out in bunches on the table but others had theirs lined up in rows of boxes or arranged inside a nifty spinning container. Later that day we tried German Grüne Soße (green sauce) made with sorrel, chervil, chives, parsley, burnet, cress and borage. It’s traditionally a springtime speciality made with herbs from the first crop of the year which explains the abundance of herbs on offer all round the market.
Then we took a pit stop alongside other market shoppers to try some German Apfelwein. It’s a bit like apple cider with a very bitter taste but at €1,50 a glass, you can’t complain.
After perusing the market, we headed to the Palmen Garten botanical gardens as we’d been advised that the coffee and cake here was some of the best in Frankfurt. After we sipped coffee served on shiny silver trays and tried some of the treats on offer, we spent the afternoon rowing on the lake there and admiring the amazing grounds. My favourite find was this ‘Taschentuchbaum’ (left) also named ‘the dove-tree’ or ‘pocket handkerchief tree’ because of it’s beautiful white floppy petals.
For supper, we headed to Adolf Wagner, a wine tavern filled with long wooden tables that serves traditional German food (Bratwurst sausages, sauerkraut, wiener schnitzel) and, of course, more Apfelwein!