The historic region of Swabia, known lovingly as “das Ländle”, is located between the Black Forest and Lake Constance, and is not to be confused with the administrative region “Bavarian Swabia”.
The region was named after the medieval Duchy of Swabia and although the political boundaries of of Swabia no longer exist, the people identify with the “Ländle” by dialect, culinary preferences and characteristic behaviors. While the Swabian dialect still passes for “cute” and the culinary specialties of dumplings and spaetzle are generally popular, the unconditional will to save money is not always a cause for amusement in the rest of the republic, also, the economic success of the Swabians is not necessarily seen positive.
Dumplings, spaetzle and more
Indisputable is the good food in Swabia. While the terms Weckla for rolls and Wibele for cookies can be traced back to the dialect, there is a story behind Herrgottsbscheißerle (God trickers): the monks of the monastery in Maulbronn, through unexplained circumstances, got their hands on a piece of meat during Lent. Times were hard and renunciation was not an option – the monks minced the meat, mixed it with herbs and filled it into dumplings in order to camouflage it – hoping the fraud would go unnoticed in the eyes of the Lord.
Dumplings and noodles are now appreciated all over the country in Germany. However, the dumplings in the local supermarket shelf have about as much similarities to the original product, as canned Ravioli with handmade pasta from Italy and also, the Spaetzle in the supermarket are not comparable with the original Swabian version. The Swabe is a hard worker. For the housewife it is a matter of honor to manufacture the local specialties by hand, only the dough for the dumplings is bought from the local butcher.
Liquor and beer in Swabia
Dumplings, noodles and lenses are not a light meal so a good fruit brandy for digestion is recommended – but, typically Swabian, any brandy won`t suffice – the different fruits are distilled unmixed, for pear brandy there is the hunting pear, pastors or palmisch pear, for apple brandy there is the Gewürzluiken, the bean apple etc. The orchards along the Albtrauf with their old varieties of fruit trees provide the raw materials for the small distilleries and vinegar factories which produce small quantities in handraft. Also noteworthy is the concentration of breweries – similar to the Franks, the Swabians have managed to maintain the small breweries and enjoy the conventional variety with local pride instead of cheap industrial beer. When it comes to food and drinks, it is enjoyment and pleasure before stinginess.
The lenses, traditionally grown on the barren soils of the Swabian Alb, have been replaced by higher-yielding varieties and were almost extinct. Thanks to the merger of some local farmers, the tastefull and nutricious Alb-Leisa Lenses are grown again and became an Arch-product of Slowfood. We use the Alb-Leisa during the Swabian weeks, not only because they taste better than the lenses from the supermarket, but also because we want to support the “Alb-Leisa” project.