12 Funny food names and their meaning

Did you ever wonder about the curious names of certain food specialities? Some are in honour of an important person, others are named after a place or have a special story around it…Here are 12 well-known foods and the – perhaps surprising – meaning of their names:

1. Granny Smith apples: Named after Maria Ana (Granny) Smith, who grew them first in Australia.

2. Biscuit: coming from the latin’ bis coctus’ – with the meaning of ‘baked two times’, was initially referred to bone-dry hardtack – nowadays it is understood in continental European cuisine as a lightly baked delicacy.

3. Carpaccio: The colour of this thinly-sliced raw beef was similar to the red shades of paint, that Italian renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio used in his work.

4. Headcheese: nothing to do with cheese – it’s a jellied cold cut, initially made of parts like pigs head, feet and belly, in modern version also with game or even with vegetables.

5. Kalter Hund: we all know Hot Dogs – however in Germany, the land of sausages, a ‘cold dog’ describes a cake made of shortbread and chocolate ganache.

6. Morcilla: this could be the name of an evil sorceress in an ancient movie- but it is the traditional Spanish blood sausage, cooked and cured with rice, onions and spices.

7. Pumpernickel: a very dark and solid bread, made of rye – the old German name is probably describing a rough, clumsy person – or a knotted log of wood.

8. Sandwich: Actually, Sir John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, didn´t invite the custom to put meat between two bread slices – but he was famous to offer this casual snack to his high class friends in Britain at social occasions instead of multi-course formal dinners.

9. Tiramisu: ‘pick-me-up’ , the literal translation of this Italian dessert, might refer to such mood-lifting ingredients as cream cheese, sugar and coffee – or the desperate call for help with lifting from the table afterwards.

10. Pizza Margherita: this version of the classic Italian poor man’s snack was developed to honor the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, and the Italian unification by representing the colours of the flag with red tomatos, white mozarella and green basil leaves.

11. Welsh Rarebit: a classy British name for the always delicious grilled cheese toast.

12. Zwetschgenknoedel: this tongue-twister is a prune-filled sweet dumpling, famous in Austria.

Do you also know a funny food name? Please feel free to add to our list!

Frankfurt am Main in Trade and Taste

The city of Frankfurt am Main in Germany is often compared to Manhattan, New York. First, because of its economic relevance: Frankfurt headquarters the European Central Bank, the German Bundesbank as well as the Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse with the German stock exchange, countless important banks and finance cooperations, internationally important fairs and exhibitions like the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, the Frankfurter Buchmesse and  the Musikmesse, and it also counts with one of the worlds largest airport, the Flughafen Frankfurt (FRA). The skyline with some of the highest buildings in Europe adds to the comparision. Historic landmarks are the idyllic Römerberg, the Kaiserdom or the Eiserner Steg. Frankfurt is also a green city with almost 40% of protected green areas. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born here, and the cultural live of Frankfurt today is on a high level with the Frankfurt Opera house, the Schauspielhaus, countless museums, the Frankfurter Zoo and the Palmengarten botanical park.  In addition, Frankfurt am Main is a multicultural melting pot with people coming from all over the world to live and work.

The gastronomic landscape of Frankfurt also counts with superlatives –  from traditional local food to modern world kitchen – in Frankfurt you´ll find almost everything for every gusto!

One of the oldest local delicacies, already known from medieval times,  is the Frankfurter Würstchen sausage, a pure-pork smoked and cooked sausage, originally always served in pairs.  Another pork dish is the rustic Rippchen mit Kraut, a hearty portion of cured pork cooked in sauerkraut.  Rustic stews and potato dishes are also popular. An extraordinary speciality is the Frankfurter Grüne Sosse, a cold sauce made of 7 chopped fresh herbs and sourcream – delicious with hardboiled eggs and cooked portatoes!
For the adventurous visitor, there is also a speciality called Handkäs mit Musik. It is a fresh sour-milk cheese in a dressing with oil, vingar, caraway and chopped raw onions. With fresh bread, it is a common tasty snack in traditional taverns.

Famous sweet bakery goods from Frankfurt are the Frankfurter Kranz, a rich buttercream-filled cake with roasted nut-topping, the Bethmännchen shaped from marzipan and almonds or vrious apple-filled pastries.

The apple plays an important role in Frankfurt – as a popular ingredient for savoury and sweet dishes, but most important for the Frankfurter Apfelwein, a dry cider. There are countless cosy taverns where Apfelwein and pairing dishes are served. Very dry and refreshing, often mixed with sparkling water, the locals love to drink their Apfelwein in summer, or also mulled with some cinnamon, lemon zest and sugar in the wintertime.

Of course, in Frankfurt you can also taste very good local beers or the wines of the closeby Rhine region, especially the famous Riesling, as white wine or sparkling Rieslingsekt.

Young chefs and restaurant owners are proud to find a modern twist to the traditional Frankfurt kitchen, and a varied scene awaits to be explored in different areas of the city. So come and follow your Food Hopping guide to the best traditional taverns and insiders’ places of Frankfurt!

Germany’s culinary landscape

Germany is a parade example in terms of impressive cultural achievements, famous historical sights and beautiful landscapes, as well as one of the most advanced economies in Europe.  Great musicians like Beethoven, Bach or Wagner, famous poets and writers like Goethe, the Grimm brothers, Brecht, style-forming painters like Duerer, Rubens, Klee – all were Germans. And who does not know the emblematic Schloss Neuschwanstein, the Kölner Dom or the Berliner Brandenburger Tor? From the Baltic coastline in the north to the valleys of the alps in the south, you`ll pass rivers like the Rhine and the Donau, extended woods, rich agricultural lands as well as numerous city areas. Hosting all kinds of industry from production over high-tech to services and banking, with the European Central Bank located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany is a motor of the European progress.

When it comes to food, Germany has the fame to prefer rustic, filling meals with sausages, stews, sauerkraut and pretzel being the emblematic components. Sweet bakery goods like Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte, Obstkuchen or Windbeutel, the rich varieties of bread and cold cuts are admired worldwide. This is all traditionally true and still a good portion of the German diet in general. However, every region of Germany has its own specialities that they are proud of. Fresh vegetables, creative soups, colourful salads and a growing offer of vegetarian and healthy food styles add to the culinary landscape. Not to forget that Germany is an immigration country – even in the smallest town you find usually at least an Italian, Near Eastern and an Asian restaurant. Germans are curious and love to travel the world – on their vacation and on their plate at home.

The German “Reinheitsgebot“ limits the allowed ingredients of beer to hops, malt, yeast and water – in order to ensure a superior quality of product. There are more than 1400 breweries in Germany, and beer tasting is a serious social activity. The wines from the Rhine and the Mosel valleys are in millennial tradition from times of the Roman Empire, and young winemakers experiment with new grapes and maturation methods, to create a growing community of German wine fans. Remarkable is also the Apfelwein, a dry apple cider from the Hesse region.

With our Food Hopping tours in Germany, you will not only taste the regional traditional food and drinks as well as modern interpretations, but also discover the diverting tales around the food, the drinks and the region you are visiting. See you soon with Food Hopping in Germany!

European wine culture

What makes a tasty meal even better? Pairing it with a good wine! The fermented grape juice is almost as ancient as the human civilization, and plays his role in unnumbered myths, various cultural traditions, as well as a vast medical and important religous use. It has inspired Artists of all kind and its abuse has led to tragedies.
In general, wine is cultivated in white, rosé and red variations. Depending on the grape, the soil, the weather, the fermentation process and the secrets of the cellar master, wines vary from very dry to sweet. There are famous wine regions in the world who are reknown for their signature wines. Although wines from the Americas, Southern Africa and Australia hold a potent share of the market, we’d like to concentrate on the casual wines of some european major producing areas – wines that pair with the typical local food we discover during our Food Hopping tours:

Austria: ‘Grüner Veltliner’ and ‘Blauer Zweigelt’ are the most comon local wine grapes, and are mostly cultivated as crisp, dry wines. In popular wine-garden taverns called “Heurige” it is common to order a “Spritzer”, mixing the young wine with sparkling water.

Germany: internationally famous are the wines from the Rhine Valley, as well as from the Mosel. Traditionally, Germany is a land of white wines, from very dry, mineral Rieslings to sweet Eiswein. In the last decades and with modern cultivation methods, red wines gain ground and there is a growing community of german wine fans.

Italy: as one of the most important european wine producers, Italy counts with big names in white and red wines , like Barolo, Chianti, Frascati – only to name a few – sparkling Asti and sweet Vin Santo or Marsala.

Portugal: a land of contrastes, also in wines. From full-bodied red wines in the center, aged Port- and Madeira specialties to light Vinho Verde growing in the cool atlantic climate of the northern regions.

Spain: counting with the biggest wine cultivation area worldwide, spread into numerous denominaciones de origen, with the Rioja as the most famous. Every spanish region has regional cultivation areas and favourite grapes. Sparkling Cava is produced in Cataluña, spirited wines like Sherry and Malaga come from Andalucía.

With every Food Hopping tour, you´ll get to taste some of the regional wines and learn more about how they pair with authentic local food. So see you soon at a Food Hopping tour!

Table Manners around Europe

Eating together and sharing food and drinks has a strong social meaning in all cultures around the world. Therefore, there are quite a lot of table customs and implicit dining rules that differ from country to country.
Even around Europe there are peculiarities in each region – here are a few of them:

Austria: Use your fork to portion potatos or dumplings at your plate. As potatos and cooked pastries are usually soft and a little sticky, they can be easily parted with the fork. Using the knife indicates that your dish is not cooked well enough.

Germany: Meet the eye when toasting. Before taking the first sip, it is quite important to toast with every person in the party by clicking the glas, looking in each others eye and say a casual ‘Prost!’ – or ‘Zum Wohl!’ in a more formal occasion. Not doing so is said to bring bad luck – or just considered impolite.

Italy: Enjoy a black ‘caffè’ to finish the meal. A small strong espresso is the favored coffee during the day. Cappuchinos or Caffe Lattes are seen as a filling part of breakfast – if you order it after eating, it gives the impression you are not satisfied yet.

Portugal: Fold up your lettuce. Bigger leaves should be arranged with the help of your knife and fork into a little bundle that can be picked up with the fork. The salad keeps a nicer look than all cut down and mixed up.

Spain: Respect the ‘sobremesa’. After a good meal, it is custom to remain sitting, to rest and chat on a little while. So don´t rush to leave the table.

Do you want to add a table manner or an oddity you experienced when eating abroad? We are curious to read your anecdotes!