Good EssenCharles de Gaulle once famously remarked on the difficulties of governing France, with its 246 different kinds of cheese. That’s nothing compared to Germany, with an estimated 600 types of bread and 1,200 types of pastries and rolls. German cuisine also varies dramatically from region to region. Hessian cuisine combines the best of northern and southern German dishes, while that of Baden reflects the influence of neighboring France. The states in eastern Germany, on the other hand, incorporated the thick soups of Russia and the Ukraine.
Perhaps the most famous German culinary export is its wines, and the most famous wine-growing regions are along the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Grapes have been grown here since the days of the Romans, with the best wines generally coming from those grapes grown closest to the rivers, where the soil gives them a notable complexity. As you travel from winery to winery, a glass of one of the region’s famous Rieslings pairs well with views of age-old castles and charming villages. One of the best ways to hit the wineries of the Rhine and the Mosel rivers, without worrying about getting behind the wheel between tastings, is on one of the short round-trip cruises or waterbuses which let you hop on and off. Koblenz, where the two rivers meet, is a popular starting point.