Indulging in hospitality and food in the Palatinate


The Palatinate was established by the Celts, then was under Hohenstaufen and then Bavarian rule for a long time. It has been strong, it has been weak, sometimes prone to emigration and sometimes shaped by immigration. It has been under French rule on many occasions and, sadly, many battles have been fought here too. All these historical changes have left their mark on the Palatinate and make it what it is today, the wonderful region of Rhineland‑Palatinate with around 1.4 million cheerful inhabitants and a wide range of culinary influences.

With some 1,800 hours of sunshine a year and an average year-round temperature of 11 degrees Celsius, the Palatinate is one of the warmest regions in Germany. With the benefits of this mild climate, various crops have been planted by different cultures over the centuries, including tobacco and Mediterranean figs, almonds, lemons and olives. The people of the Palatinate produce and enjoy Flammkuchen, sauerkraut, liver dumplings, bratwurst and stuffed pig’s stomachs. There are lots of little vineyards with estate restaurants attached, providing a lovely atmosphere in which to try some of these tasty treats.

Historical circumstances have led what were originally indigenous products, such as chestnuts, to become one of the real culinary highlights of the region. Life was hard for many of the immigrants to the region, including persecuted Huguenots fleeing France to the Palatinate Forest region. The soils were barren and crops struggled to grow. The new settlers grew humble potatoes and lived on what they could forage in the forest – berries, mushrooms and chestnuts. Known as ‘Keschde’ in the local dialect, they are now a real Palatinate staple and star in delicious treats such as chestnut cakes, chestnut cream and chestnut soup.

Gathering chestnuts (Keschde) in the Palatinate Forest, Palatinate

Gathering chestnuts (Keschde) in the Palatinate Forest and on the Pälzer Keschdeweg trail, Palatinate

There is even a 60-kilometre hiking trail, the Pälzer Keschdeweg, dedicated to chestnuts. The wealth of chestnut dishes served by the restaurants and wine bars along the way are an excellent incentive, especially in autumn.

Stuffed pig’s stomach with chestnuts in Hauenstein, Palatinate

Culinary speciality of the Palatinate: Stuffed pig’s stomach with chestnuts in Hauenstein, Palatinate

View of the hills and vineyards of the Palatinate

View of the hills and vineyards of the Palatinate

In the Palatinate, no meal would be complete without a lovely glass of wine. At 91 square miles, the Palatinate is the second largest wine-growing region in Germany after Rhenish Hesse and the largest red wine region. Lots of wonderful grape varieties, including Riesling, Muscatel, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, are grown in the Palatinate and very much in demand.

Increasingly, Chardonnay has also been playing a role in the Palatinate too, longer than strictly permitted. Chardonnay is grown on an area of around 1,800 acres, but this was not always the case. While the grape variety has long been synonymous with great French wines from the Burgundy and Champagne regions, growing it in Germany was not permitted until 1991. But as some of the Palatinate winemakers bought vines from France a lot earlier, some of the German Chardonnay vines are actually substantially older.

The cellars of the Palatinate are now producing some fantastic Chardonnays to bring a smile to any wine connoisseur’s face. If you visit one of the numerous wine bars, such as the Vinothek Par Terre in Landau or the Weinkammer in Maikammer, you will have the opportunity to taste these wonderful drops and it will soon become apparent that there is space for more than one favourite wine in the Palatinate.

Sampling wine at the Weinkammer wine bar, Palatinate

Sampling wine at the Weinkammer wine bar, Palatinate

You can definitely call it ‘savoir vivre’ in the Palatinate, as its people really know how to live. If you travel to the Palatinate, you can enjoy history, hospitality and wonderful food and wine all wrapped up in one.

More travel highlights and activities in the Palatinate:


German Wine Cycle Route

hard

97,8 km

7:00 h
At almost 100 km in length, this route explores Germany’s largest wine-growing region and showcases…

Geiersteine tour

medium

5,4 km

2:00 h
Short, varied and easy-to-walk premium tour.

Kraut und Rüben Cycle Route

medium

139,7 km

8:00 h
The Kraut und Rüben Cycle Route is particularly suited to recreational cyclists, as there are…

German Wine Gate, Schweigen-Rechtenbach

Schweigen-Rechtenbach It is the gateway to the German Wine Route as well as the landmark of the dual municipality of Schweigen-Rechtenbach. It was built in 1936 by Joseph…

Speyer Cathedral - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Speyer The cathedral of the diocese of Speyer, a Romanesque basilica founded prior to 1030 by Conrad II and consecrated in 1061 is one of Germany's most…

Hambach Castle

Neustadt/Weinstrasse In 1832, Hambach Castle became the "cradle of German democracy" (Theodor Heuß) and a demonstration of national unity and freedom...

Historical Museum of the Palatinate Speyer

Speyer The Historical Museum of the Palatinate regularly puts on large special exhibitions geared towards people interested in cultural history or families.…

Herxheim Museum

Herxheim bei Landau Stroll through the cultural history section and marvel at the cigar wrappers and looms. Immerse yourself in the history of tobacco in Herxheim. You…

Südpfalz-Therme spa

Bad Bergzabern In the most southern part of the Palatinate, nestled between vineyards and the Palatinate Forest, Südpfalz Therme offers visitors a warm welcome.…