Last year when we moved to Germany I saw a few advertisements here and there for “culinary hikes” but pictured them as some strange group activity where you walk to specific restaurants and are given food that I can’t eat and have no way to escape. Dramatic I know, but BOY was I WRONG! The latest culinary hike that happened in our region seemed to pique enough interest of friends and colleagues that I decided if there was ever a time to try one, this was it.
Some of the culinary hikes are paired with a type of alcohol as well. The Culinary Beer Hikes don’t interest me much since I can’t drink the beer (damn gluten) but this was a culinary WINE hike and well, we all know how I feel about wine <3
So the hike was essentially a 5 mile loop around a village, over hills, around farms, and just winding through the countryside. The hike (or walk) is broken up by 6 food and wine stations relatively equally spaced out, and some “1/2 stations” with only wine in between some of those. When you park at station 1, you pay (if you choose) for a wine glass and neck holder — like a wine glass hammock for your neck — and then get the wine at 50% off for all of the stations.
Each food station had different options so if you didn’t want the massive grilled meat stick at station 1, you could get the lamb burger at station 2, the asparagus sausage or wine-marinated beef at station 3, the wild boar at station 4, the fresh smoked salmon at station 5, or more brats/burgers at station 6. The stations were also from different wineries so you had the opportunity to taste a lot of different wines from the local wineries. The “pour” sizes are .1L or .2L so keep in mind that .1L = 3.5 oz, just under what is considered “one drink” so if you stick to .1L you are able to try a lot more options over the length of time you are there while still remaining legal to drive away at the end.
If it sounds like a lot, it probably is. However, if you spread it out over 6 hours in the spring sunshine like we did, you have a relaxing German Sunday. Yup, we spent 6 hours walking, drinking, eating, and lounging around in the sun. You don’t always know when your next sunny day in Germany is going to happen so you really want to make the most of it when you can and enjoy the outdoors. It was also really great because, like most places in Germany, you can bring your dogs as long as you keep them on leash! Merlin and Lola had a great time walking around all day and were SO well behaved that they even got some compliments from people when we were waiting in lines for food or wine! I have never had them both on leash for 6 hours non-stop before so I really appreciated that they chose to remember their training and manners. When we got home they both laid down right away and were out for the night!
The culinary hikes are a nice change of pace from festivals because you’re still getting that German cultural experience but with less noise and carnival food, and a lot more exercise! Considering how most things in Europe are closed on Sundays, it is an even better opportunity to make the most of your weekend! If you live here or on vacation long enough to be able to spend a day not touristing, I definitely recommend this refreshing daytime activity!