Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Robert Theobald
I grew up with apple wine (Apfelwein) in Frankfurt am Main. Although there are 3 beer breweries in Frankfurt and the world renowned Rheingau and Rheinhessen wine regions just 30 minutes away from Frankfurt by S-Bahn or car, I would say that Frankfurt am Main is a city of cider. Frankfurt has a large number of traditional apple wine taverns, where you sit on communal benches, eat hearty local food and drink sour and tart German apple wine. Typically, there is only one apple wine – the house apple wine – available.
Zur Buchscheer in Sachsenhausen belongs to the small group of apple wine taverns that make their own apple wine and pour it in their apple wine tavern. 100 years back, this was the rule. Today, it has unfortunately become the exception in Frankfurt am Main.
I have compiled my private list of favorite apple wine taverns in Frankfurt: Schiller's Favorite Apple Wine Taverns in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Cider in the World
Cider is made all over the world. The French cidre is produced in Normandy and Brittany. It comes as cidre doux, cidre demi-sec and cidre brut, but most French cidre is sweet. Typically, French ciders are sparkling. Higher quality French cider is sold in champagne-style bottles (cidre bouché). German cider has a tart, sour taste. In the UK, cider is available in sweet, medium and dry varieties. In the US during colonial times, apple cider was the main beverage, but after prohibition the word cider came to mean unfiltered apple juice. Alcoholic cider is called hard cider in the US.
Cider was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the 11th century it was introduced into Spain and was used there as a medicine for scurvy. It was introduced into England in 1066 when William the Great brought some from France into England.
Apple Wine in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Apple wine is a German variant of cider. It has an alcohol content of 4%–9% and a tart, sour taste. Traditionally, it is not bubbly.
Much of the apple wine is consumed at the wooden, communal tables in the local apple wine taverns with hearty local food, like Green Sauce (made from 7 herbs and yogurt accompanied by boiled eggs and boiled potatoes), Rippchen mit Kraut und Brot (grilled pork, sauerkraut and bread). It is served in a Geripptes, a glass with a lozenge cut that refracts light. A filled Geripptes is called a Schoppen. If you drink more than a glass or are in a group, you typically order a Bembel (a specific Apfelwein jug). The different sizes of a Bembel are designated after their contents in glasses from 4-er to 10-er Bembel.
The apple wine tavern (Apfelweinwirtschaft) is as distinctive a Frankfurt institution as the Bierkeller is of Munich or the Weinstube of Mainz. Many of the best-known establishments are concentrated in Sachsenhausen, but others are dotted all over the city. They are strongly traditional. They offer hearty local cuisine, usually at moderate prices.
Zur Buchscheer in Sachsenhausen was founded in 1876 by Adam Theobald. Now in the fifth generation, it is owned and managed by Robert Theobald and Christian Theobald.
The name Zur Buchscheer goes back to the 16./17. Century and signifies an area in the forest where the peasants would take their pigs and the sheppards their sheep so that the animals could find nutritious food like nuts.
Then as today, the apple wine served at Zur Buchscheer is made on the premises. When you go to the Zur Buchscheer in the September/October period, you can observe it yourself.
Making Apple Wine at Zur Buchscheer
Robert Theobald took a group of apple wine lovers, which included me, through the process of making apple wine at Zur Buchscheer: “For our cider, we use carefully selected orchards of the Wetterau, the Taunus, the Odenwald, the Spessart as well as from the surrounding area. For the fermentation, we do not need cultured yeasts, as the yeast that sits on the apples is sufficient to get the fermentation going. In addition, the cider is clarified only by the tannins and acids of the apple orchard. We do not need to filter our apple wine, which would take aromas away.”
Pictures: Making Apple Wine at Zur Buchscheer and Aplle Wine Maker Robert Theobald
As in all apple wine taverns, you sit on communal benches, eat hearty local food and drink apple wine. At Zur Buchscheer, there is in addition to the regular restaurant a very nice and cosy garden restaurant.
The food served is hearty local food, like Green Sauce (made from 7 herbs and yogurt accompanied by boiled eggs and boiled potatoes), Rippchen mit Kraut und Brot (grilled pork, sauerkraut and bread). Robert Theobald: “In our kitchen, the meals are always freshly prepared. So, our mashed potatoes as well as baked potatoes made from fresh potatoes and seasoned with "good" butter."
Pictures: House Apple Wine and Single Variety Apple Wine
Zur Buchscheer Menu
Here are a few items from the Zur Buchscheer menu.
Rippchen Rib – boiled or grilled - with „Sauerkraut“ and bread € 7,50
Schlachtplatte Butcher’s Platter – boiled – with “Sauerkraut” and bread € 7,50
„Gref – Völsing’s“ Rindswurst Beef sausage – boiled with „Sauerkraut“ and bread € 4,20
Gegrilltes Schäufelchen Grilled cut of shoulder of pork with “Sauerkraut” and bread; by weight: between € 9,00 and € 16,20
Frankfurter Grüne Soße The famous Frankfurt cream-sauce speciality with seven green herbs! “Grüne Soße” served with 4 boiled egg halves and boiled potatoes € 8,00
Homemade sausages from the “Vogelsberg” (an area north – east from Frankfurt) - all served with bread an butter
Portion of “Preßkopf” (a terrine of pork) € 4,50
Portion of “Leberwurst” (a liver sausage) € 4,00
Portion of “Blutwurst” (a black pudding sausage) € 4,00
Handkäse mit Musik - a must for everyone visiting Frankfurt – very tasty
A Frankfurt cheese speciality with “Musik” (oil, vinegar and onions) € 2,60
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