The state of Rhineland-Palatinate is known for growing wine, two-thirds of the wine produced in Germany come from this region: Ahr, Mittelrhein, Rheinhessen, Rheinpfalz, Rheingau and Mosel-Saar-Ruwer.
Hearty vegetable soups and stews are very common in the Rhineland region. German Potato Soup (Kartoffelsuppe) is one of those comfort foods, easy to make, healthy, and a German traditional recipe. For a quick meal, this traditional soup is a great choice. Seafood is also a favorite, with dishes such as eel, perch, trout, carp, and mussels.
Pfälzer Saumagen, literally “sow’s stomach” is just that, the stomach lining of a pig. However, similar the the Munich “Weisswurst”, the stomach lining serves merely as a casing to hold the contents.
The filling consists of a mixture of minced veal, diced potatoes, diced vegetables, herbs and various spices such as marjoram, nutmeg and pepper. Sometimes eggs and carrots are also added as are a mixture of other herbs and spices such as coriander, garlic, bay leaves, cardamom, basil and parsley. While potatoes are a must in the traditional Saumagen, they can be either diced or mashed depending on local preference.
The filled Saumagen must be cooked in hot water but must not be boiled lest the casing burst. It is served sliced and often fried in a pan, in which case the casing may be eaten along with the filling. Saumagen is usually accompanied by mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and a dry white wine.
Saumagen was originally a peasant dish that was invented in the 18th century using leftovers. Today, only the best ingredients are used to make this popular dish. During the ’80’s and ’90’s the dish become more popular by Helmut Kohl, the then Chancellor of Germany who served his native dish to world leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
Pfälzer Spundekäs is another specialty. Originally from Mainz, it is made from a combined mixture of cream cheese, quark and sour cream. Other recipes use various ingredients, such as a mixture of finely grated semi-hard cheese (Schnittkäse), whipped cream (Schlagsahne), butter, with finely chopped onions, salt and spiced with Kümmel (caraway seeds). Pfälzer Spundekäs is best served with newly baked farm-baked bread (Landbrot) with crispy crust. It can also be served with boiled potatoes (Pellkartoffeln), and fresh vegetables (Salat), such as Feldsalat, Romanasalat or Bataviasalat. Pfälzer Spundekäs is usually served with a glass of wine and pretzel crackers.