The Weekly Shop: good news for vegetarians, sick people and the gluten-free!

Ottolenghi's Jerusalem and a bag of baharat
Despite the fact that I’ve mostly been cooking for one the last few days, I’ve had a particularly good culinary week, which peaked on Friday with the arrival of my copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s third cookery book, Jerusalem, which I preordered months ago and had been hopping about with excitement in anticipation of ever since.  And then, as if things couldn’t get any more exciting, a colleague popped up at my office window the very same day and presented me with me a small bag of his grandma’s secret recipe baharat (spice mix) that he’d brought me back from Israel.  I’ve been sprinkling liberally on just about everything I’ve eaten since.

Inside of Lebe Gesund, Wiesbaden

On my way to the Wiesbaden Farmer’s Market on Saturday, I wandered into Lebe Gesund (website in numerous languages) on Mauergasse, a lovely little shop which is either brand new or simply somewhere I’ve just never noticed before.  It offers a huge range of vegetarian storecupboard products supplied largely by local farms, from honey and fruit jams to wild garlic pesto, all manner of pasta sauces, vegetarian sausages and an enormous selection of savoury bread spreads.  They also have a baked goods counter from where, if you order in advance, you can pick up gluten-free bread on Wednesdays.

Filipino food stall at the Ausländerbeauftragte Festival, WiesbadenBritish food stall at the Ausländerbeauftragte Festival, Wiesbaden

I then stumbled upon the Ausländerbeauftragte festival in front of the Rathaus (a festival for us foreigners set up by the foreign people’s commission), complete with food stalls selling culinary treats from all over the globe.  Amongst all the empanadas, fried noodles, cheese pies and döner there was even a little British stand from the folks at Britmania.  I was making a beeline for ice cream so didn’t stop to sample anything as we wandered through.  Did you?

Curry Huhn at Degenhardt Wiesbaden

With a head full of cold, no energy to cook and an urgent desire for comfort food, I last night ordered a huge glass of hot lemon and a Thai chicken and banana curry at Degenhardt on the Luisenplatz.  It was precisely what I needed – warming, comforting, with no effort at all required to eat it – and my husband’s burger, though it really didn’t look up to much, and though he said he’d certainly not recommend it to any burger connoisseurs (people of America, he means you), he found it very tasty indeed.  For such a trendy-looking joint, the food’s hardly haute cuisine, but with the bill coming to 30,50€ for two beers, my hot drink and our two main courses, I’d say it’s not bad value at all.  With a long list of cocktails on the menu and a cosy yet cool-looking interior, when I’ve shaken off my lurgy I might well pop back in for a proper drink.

Gluten-free lasagne and bread rolls

Finally, in more gluten-free news (with apologies to those of you for whom this is less than exciting, but there’s suddenly been a surge of gluten-free products on the shelves round my way), I can highly recommend the remarkably good Schär lasagne sheets and ciabatta bread rolls available at DM.  I tried out the former in a mushroom and five cheese lasagne and my husband never noticed it wasn’t the real deal; and I had a couple of the rolls for breakfast today – toasted, with ham and cheese – and they may be tiny but they’re surprisingly fluffy, and taste pretty good to boot.  Thanks JDM for the recommendation!

The Weekly Shop is a new, regular round-up of my local culinary explorations.  Please let me know if you think there’s anything I should investigate!

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  1. says: Karen

    Help! I’m in Wiesbaden for a week, and need gluten free restaurant recommendations. I especially want vietnamese pho, and other gf soups. Help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. says: Eating Wiesbaden

      Hi Karen, I hope I’m not too late in responding to your query. My favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Wiesbaden is Saigon on Dotzheimerstrasse, though I’ve never actually had their Pho. Koi Nudelbar in the centre of town does a reasonably good Pho (although I wouldn’t recommend their rice dishes, which are very generic) and they’re much closer to the centre of town. You’ll also find very good Thai soup at Chaunaa Thai and good (but slightly pricier) Thai food at Chookdee. With heartier soups in any other sort of restaurant, however, I would always recommend double checking to make sure they haven’t been thickened using flour rather than potato. Good luck, and if you have any recommendations to share after your stay please let me know!

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