Hesse ~ Regional Food

Hesse, Germany map

More than 2,000 years ago, the Germanic Chatti tribe settled in the region just to the west of Thuringia and the name Hesse is a continuation of that tribal name.

In the northern part of Hesse, the poor soil had created an impoverished people heavily dependent on potatoes.

In the south, fertile soils and warm sunshine influenced the foods as much as the merchants that traveled through the area.

Years later, Hesse has become one of the largest and healthiest economies in Europe with one of the best transportation networks of autobahns, high-­speed trains, and waterways crisscrossing the state.

It was in Hesse that Jacob (1785­-1863) and Wilhelm (1786­-1859) Grimm, both law students, were persuaded to study ancient German folklore. Among the best-­known story tellers of folk tales from Europe, the Brothers Grimm collected, wrote, and compiled hundreds of folk tales, many from Hesse including the enchanted Rheinhardswald, the fairytale forest, which is part of the largest forestry area in Germany.

Among the tales is the story of Hansel and Gretel and the Gingerbread House. Now, with Christmas almost here, the Gingerbread House is a staple treat to have under the Christmas Tree. Read more about this Christmas tradition and others.

Frankfurters also originated in Frankfurt. These generously spiced pork sausages are cold­smoked. Simmered for 8 minutes in hot water (NOT boiling), they are served with mustard.

Hesse's Favorite Foods

  • Green sauce (Grüne Sosse) ... recipe below
  • Frankfurter Würstchen ­ 100% pork sausage and Frankfurter Rindswurst ­ 100% beef sausage
  • Sausages of all types and using all types of meats, including the rind (Schwartenmagen) and the head (Presskopf)
  • Potato (Kartoffeln) in salads, soups, baked, braised in broth, in cream, mixed with apples (Himmel und Erde), and even as sausage stuffing
  • Fruits such as apples (Äpfel) for juice and wine and in drinks such as Apfelschorle, pears (Birnen), strawberries (Erdbeeren), cherries (Kirschen), and plums (Pflaumen)
  • Desserts such as Frankfurt Crown Cake (Frankfurter Kranz) and Marzipan Cookies (Bethmännchen)

My Favorite Hesse Recipe

Grüne Sosse (Green Sauce)

Green sauce and eggs? That's a favorite that originated in Frankfurt, Hesse. Borage, chervil, cress, parsley, burnet, sorrel, and chives are the seven herbs that make this special sauce that's often served with hard boiled eggs. Traditionally eaten on the Thursday before Easter, it's also served with fish and meat dishes together with boiled potatoes.


  • ½ cup plain yogurt
1 cup sour cream (schmand)

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 small onion, finely diced

  • 1½ cups finely chopped herbs, see hints below
  • ½ tsp. sugar
salt, pepper

  • 2 ­- 4 hard­-boiled eggs, finely diced or pressed through a sieve 


  • Mix everything, except the eggs, together in a bowl. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and mix well. 
  • Cover and put in fridge for at least 1 hour. 
  • Finely dice the eggs and add to sauce. 
  • Mix well. 
  • Refrigerate at least 30 more minutes. 
  • Serve cold with potatoes cooked in their skins and hard­-boiled eggs. 


  • Use vinegar instead of lemon juice 
  • Replace ½  cup sour cream with ½ cup mayonnaise 
  • Use any combination of herbs. Traditional herbs are Borage, chervil, cress, parsley, burnet, sorrel, and chives. You can also include dill, tarragon, and/or lovage. 
  • Omit onion if desired ap

More Recipes from Hesse ...

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