Aachen knows how to have a good time. Cruising the medieval alleyways around the Town Hall, sipping a cappuccino in the shadow of the Cathedral, leaning back and relaxing in the Elisengarten, going shopping, or simply dreaming the day away in one of the hammocks on the Lousberg – Aacheners are experts at enjoying themselves. Especially when it comes to food. And especially regarding the quality of Öcher specialities.
Which butcher sells the best Aachen Christmas Liver Sausage? Every shopper will have their own firm and non-negotiable opinion on thjat subject! More likely than not it'll be their local butcher – but most certainly it will be a butcher from the Aachen city area. After all, "Aachener Weihnachtsleberwurst" has the EU quality seal of a protected geographical indication, as does the Aachen "Printen" biscuit and the Aachen "Öcher Puttes", which newcomers might recognise better as blood sausage.
When it comes to the German-style pot roast "Sauerbraten", only the Aachen variant will do, of course. But in all honesty, "Öcher Suurbrödem" really is the best version of this dish, if for no other reason than the use of Printen biscuits, which give the sauce a unique oriental fragrance.
And while we're on the subject of Printen – more than 4,500 tons of Printen dough are produced each year in Aachen factories and bakeries. In the meantime, the original plain Printen with their herbs and spices have been joined by equally popular new varieties with nuts or almonds, and coated with chocolate or frosting. And have you tried Printen ice cream yet? Yum!
As already mentioned, Aacheners are gourmets – all year round. During Carnival they eat little almond-shaped spiced shortcrust pastries called "Mutzenmandeln", at Easter they eat a sweet white bread with raisins and a long tradition. In summer they go wine tasting on the Katschhof, in autumn they feast on gourmet snacks beneath the big wheel, and to round off the year, they drink mulled wine at the atmospheric Christmas Market.
For those who want more excitement and have the stomach for it, too, there's Aachen's huge funfair – the Öcher Bend – where you can gorge yourself on french fries and then try out the Crazy Mouse for dessert. Bon appétit!
Photos: Gilbert Kuhnert, Jörg Hempel, Thomas Schweigert/MERIAN, Andreas Schmitter