The land of schwein, brezels and bier is really venturing outside the culinary box. Germany is known for its meat and potato lifestyle, but is surprisingly vegetarian and vegan friendly at many festivals. Nearly a decade ago, the only veggie offerings at many public events around the world would have been french fries, elephant ears or a bun stuffed with cheese.
Not anymore my friends. Hannover has a thriving vegetarian and vegan scene that won’t leave you starving at large events. So, leave your snacks at home and try one of these delectable and delightful “essen und trinken” treats. You have until August 14th this year to check out the fest!
If you enjoy the sweeter side of life, say “prost” with a big class of fruit-infused sangria. There are many stands throughout the fest that serve cups of sangria out of the extra-large fish bowls, but just know that these drinks cost a pretty penny. It’s definitely more expensive than beer, which funny enough in Germany is cheaper than a bottle of water. And if you’re like me and have a tolerance of an 18-year old, then one drink you’ll start feeling good. After two, you’ll probably get a confidence boost and actually think your German is good enough to strike up a conservation with the locals.
If you love a nice-cold Radler, then you’d probably enjoy it’s sister, the cherry-flavored beer. The stand sits on the north bank of Maschee amidst posh lounges and cheap beer stalls. It’s not overly sweet and certainly spices life up a bit.
This mushroom stand changed my life. I was never a huge fan of mushrooms until I tried the mushrooms without the quark sauce. These shrooms made me fall in love with European cooking because they make something taste so delicious without it being a complicated recipe. Lightly cooked in olive oil with salt and pepper, it’s a clear testament that less is more. Simple is delicious. Bittersüss is also a small health food store in the Sudstadt neighborhood. Look for the stand on the east bank.
On the east bank you can find Hiller’s alongside The Loving Hut. Together, they serve up plenty of vegan options. Pretty much anything and everything is worth trying. However, if the Loving Hut has their vegan schnitzel doner, don’t think twice and try it. It’s one of the best vegan sandwiches I’ve ever had. First, the "meat" is cooked with some tomato sauce and the vegan tzatziki sauce gives it a flavor that is something not commonly tasted at home - out of this world amazing. For a cheap meal, try the chickpea curry noodles. And the Hiller's seitan is phenomenal. If they have their crusted "steak" like they serve at the restaurant - its a must must must try!
If you’re okay with eating dairy than you must a try a Dutch soft-served. These sweet memories remind me of childhood where we’d eat soft serve ice cream every day from the ice cream stand located down the road. Sometimes less is more and sticking to the basics of vanilla or chocolate is like a party in your mouth. Creamy, soft and sweet, nothing says summer like a face full of fluff. Look for the stand on the east bank.
Oh what the heck, nothing soaks up a beer better than a nice brezel. I’ve found the brezels at the festival are on par to what you’d experience in Munich. Big, soft, salty and so damn good. You can find them everywhere, but try the north bank stands.
Whatever you do and eat, savor the moment. The festival is wonderful and alot of handwork and dedication goes into building this "little city" on the lake. Cheers!