Become a schoppeptzer

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At the Apfelweinfestival, apple wine festival

At the Apfelweinfestival, apple wine festival

In the UK, cider is a popular drink and, although in recent years expansion has caused every fruit under the sun has been used by the major drinks’ companies, at its heart is the apple. In Frankfurt however, the use their orchards to create apple wine and apple juice.

To celebrate the drink, Frankfurt hosts a ten day celebration every year at which you can sample different apple wines which include sparkling dry and sweet varieties. This year’s apple wine festival begins on the 7th of August and makes an ideal short break for us since there are so many regional flights into Frankfurt.

Not only drunk as a summer wine, apple wine is often drunk in the evening. Strengths vary but generally are comparable to wine but the number of calories apple wine contains is about half as much as wine making it a popular diet alternative. It can be diluted slightly with sparkling water but many locals would view this with disdain.

the traditional bembel for serving apple wine

the traditional bembel for serving apple wine

There are apple wine pubs but almost any pub in and around Frankfurt would have apple wine stocked along with the traditional serving glass and jug. Yes, it has its own style of glass, a straight glass (gerippte) but with ribbing so you can get a better grip, presumably harking back to the days when the wine might spill down the glass. It is traditionally served in a greyish jug called a “bembel” which has blue decoration and has become so well known that today it is a symbol of Frankfurt.

My way of enjoying apple wine - with redcurrents and pretzels!

My way of enjoying apple wine – with redcurrents and pretzels!

Like all festivals, the apple wine tasting and drinking is accompanied by entertainment, music and any amount of dancing over the ten days. Locals will pack a few bottles in baskets along with pretzels, cheeses, onions radishes or – in my case – bunches of redcurrents and head to the parks or the hills that are only about twenty minutes drive from the city. I too become a schoppeptzer – apple wine drinker – within a short time of arriving in Frankfurt!

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