Delicious old-fashioned potato recipes are permanent fixtures on the menu during the Hunsrück Potato Festival in October. The most famous potato dish is ‘Schales’: grated potatoes are fried in a cast-iron pan known as a ‘Dibbe’ until a crust forms on the bottom of the pan, then they are turned over.
The recipes are handed down from generation to generation and vary from village to village. This is still the case today, making the Potato Festival a little more interesting, with spuds grated, fried, boiled, steamed and mashed and served up as mash, soup, potato cakes, potato hash, stuffed dumplings or even potato sausages. The regional word for potato, ‘Grumbiere’ roughly translates as ‘ground pear’, as a potato is like a pear that grows underground. Dialectical variations on this in Hunsrück include ‘Grumbeere’ or ‘Krumbeere’.
There are around 30 chefs with dishes featuring Hunsrück potatoes on their menus in October, one of whom is Michael Böhme, head chef at Bergschlößchen in Simmern. He has researched all the old Hunsrück recipes carefully. “As a chef, I like to combine the traditional and the modern, putting my own spin on the regional dishes”, he explains. He invites his guests to enjoy a range of dishes featuring Hunsrück potatoes during the Potato Festival. Of course, these include ‘Schales’, called ‘Hunsrück potato cake’ at the Bergschlößchen, which is his take on the ancient potato dish from grandma’s recipe book. The local potatoes are also perfect in his ‘Alsace potato soup’ with white wine and onions, served in small or large portions with French bread.