Red Riesling, asparagus, fruit and tabaco
Bergstrasse wine, especially the Red Riesling, and white and green asparagus are among the region’s main specialities. During the asparagus season, producers also sell strawberries, raspberries, cherries and new potatoes at their booths. The region’s markets (see calendar of events) offer a particularly wide selection of flowers, fruit and vegetables from May to October. Direct retailers in the region sell German farmhouse bread, honey, fruit juices, cider, cheese ( Handkäse and Kochkäse), sausages, poultry and lamb. In autumn, game is added to the range on offer, and in winter there are booths that sell mulled wine over the counter. Many chefs use seasonal produce in their dishes.
Red Riesling is a very exciting rediscovery in the world of winemaking that only dates back some 20 years. Many connoisseurs of wine were unaware that the “king of white wine”, Riesling, had a “redskin brother”. Some experts are even convinced that red Riesling with its reddish skin is the original Riesling variety. However that may be, it has come to the forefront of wine connoisseurs’ attention again since the early 2000s. It is a specialty and a particular favourite of the Hessische Bergstrasse.
Driving along the motorway from Darmstadt to Heidelberg in spring, you can see asparagus harvesters at work in the sandy mounds of the fields. If you take the B 3 road, you can stop to buy produce there straight from the booths. Each spring, asparagus farmers invite the public to join them on the Lampertheim asparagus hike, providing information and a culinary programme.
Fruit and tabaco
With its fertile soils and mild climate, the Bergstraße is a garden of Eden. You can discover the many different kinds of fruit that are grown as you walk along the Bergstraße Blütenweg (Blossom Trail) or one of the educational trails. In Lorsch, tobacco fields and barns, and cigars such as “Lorscher Brazil” bear witness to a pre-war tradition. There are two museums devoted to this topic.