We don't grill, we roast

The gemstone town of Idar-Oberstein is famous throughout the world for its jewellery makers. As recently as around 100 years ago, there were 48 water polishing workshops along the Idarbach that polished the agates found in gemstone mines around Idar-Oberstein into glittering jewellery stones. But the gemstones to be found in Naheland were limited, and even in the 18th century, there were not enough to keep all the agate polishers in business. So many of them emigrated to Brazil, where the gemstones were extracted through open-cast mining or prospected in rivers. The agate polishers shipped the gemstones back to Idar-Oberstein for further processing.

In Brazil, the German emigrants not only loved the rich gemstone veins, but also the way they cooked their meat, especially beef, on swinging grills circling above beechwood fires to produce really juicy, tasty results. The gemstone shipments were accompanied on their travels to Idar-Oberstein by the Brazilian art of ‘churrasco’ and the recipe for the spit roasts that have now become a traditional part of the local cuisine in the form of ‘Obersteiner gerollter’ or ‘Idarer Schwenkbraten’.

Rolled roasts use a large piece of pork neck seasoned with salt and pepper and stuffed with onions. The swinging version is a cut of beef or pork marinated in salt, pepper and lots of onions. The rolled joint is fed onto a long spit and cooked over an open beechwood fire for up to two hours. Swinging roasts are suspended above the fire on a movable grill.

A regional speciality from Idar-Oberstein: ‘Obersteiner Gefesselter’, Idar-Oberstein

A regional speciality from Idar-Oberstein: ‘Obersteiner Gefesselter’, Idar-Oberstein

There are a few places specialising on this local speciality in Idar-Oberstein. For example, it is served in the ‘Zum alten Goten’ wine restaurant in the old town of Idar-Oberstein roasted over a beechwood fire, just like the South American gauchos. The restaurant, which is also known as the ‘Haus im Gebück’, can be found in the oldest half-timbered house on the Nahe, dating back to the 14th century.

The spit roast is served with rustic Hunsrück bread and radish salad at the ‘Flugplatz Gaststätte’ restaurant. Pilots can call in their order on the airfield radio on a frequency of 128.360 MHz, then concentrate on their landing while it cooks over the open beechwood fire. There are code letters for each of the dishes: ‘Sierra’ for juicy roast pork shoulder, ‘Lima’ for delicate pork loin, ‘Romeo’ for roast beef and ‘Foxtrot’ for beef fillet.

Indulge in wine – White wine from Rhineland Palatinate

Indulge in wine – White wine from Rhineland Palatinate

A spit roast needs a good glass of wine. And, once again, the wines from the Nahe growing region are so special because of the stone on which the vines grow. Different ground structures, from slate though sandstone to basalt, mean that the vines grown from Martinstein to Bingen and the grapes matured near the Nahe and its tributaries are processed by the winemakers to make wines with an unmistakable flavour, strong fruity acidity and high levels of minerality.

The world-famous EdelSteinLand region on the Nahe is also an insider tip amongst those in the know for its wines, which grow on soils ranging from quartzite and green slate to Rotliegend, and mature into full-flavoured wines with character and harmony. The ‘Edelschliff’, which is selected from among the best wines, is the epitome of the precious treasures of the region: its gemstones and fine wines. In 2020, the honours went to a Riesling from the Königsschild area made by the Honrath estate in Langenlonsheim. Every bottle is adorned with a tiger’s eye gemstone.

The Restaurant Kirschweiler-Brücke serves up its spit roast with something a little stronger: its very own aquamarine gin with aromatic herbs from the restaurant garden.

These are just a few examples of the wide range of delicious food and drink available in Idar-Oberstein. There are more examples in ‘More recommended excursions for foodies in Idar-Oberstein’.

More recommended excursions for foodies in Idar-Oberstein:

More information about holidays in Idar-Oberstein

Find out everything about events, sights and more destinations in Idar-Oberstein at the EdelSteinLand Tourist Information.

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