Schleswig-Holstein is the northern most state of Germany and borders with Denmark. Inland agriculture plays a very important role. Fields of potatoes, cabbages, sugar beets and rapeseed are everywhere. On the east coast lies the Baltic Sea and to the west the North Sea, location of the UNESCO World Heritage, Wadden Sea National Park.
The Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea comes from the Dutch name for a mud flat (Wad), and it is basically made up of tidal mud flats, which are rich in marine mammals and bird life. Literally hundreds of thousands of water loving birds inhabit the area, or use it as a migratory stopover. Beyond the Wadden Sea flows the North Sea, a major fishery.
Over 200 species of fish can be found in the North Sea. Cod, Whiting, Pollock, Haddock, Mackerel, Herring and Plaice being the most common. Add to this the crustaceans including Mussels, Shrimp, Clams, Oysters and Lobster, it gives you a wealth of fishy deliciousness!
North Sea Shrimp & Cabbages
We drove to Tönning, located on the Eider River. After visiting the Multimar Wattforum, an exhibition of the local coastline we decided to have lunch. As we were so close to the North Sea, I decided to have Krabbenbrot. Shrimps on Rye Bread, which was served with a fried egg. It was very good and the portion of shrimps was plentiful. They were sweet and slightly nutty.
After lunch we drove down the coast, through Brunsbüttel, where the Kiel Canal exits into the Elbe. We continued on and passed thorough Dithmarschen, the largest single area where cabbages are grown in the whole of Europe. Approximately 80 million are harvested there every year. They even have a Cabbage Museum.
The Mighty Matjes
We stopped in the small town of Glückstadt to find Matjes. Matjes are soused (lightly pickled) herring and very highly regarded in Glückstadt. Since 1968 on the second Thursday in June, a four day festival is held to celebrate the new Matjes season, locally called Glückstädter Matjeswochen.
We found a restaurant call Der Kleine Heinrich (Little Henry) which specialises in Matjes. You could have them in a variety of ways. Hot, cold, with speck, with a curry sauce, with an onion sauce, even with a dill and honey sauce or simply with a horseradish sauce… that’s quite a few sauces!
I had Mild Gesalzene Matjesfilets in Zitronenbutter Gebraten (Lightly salted Matjes fillets fried in Lemon Butter). They were served with a very large bowl of the German staple, peeled boiled potatoes and a chive sour cream. I love herring and these were just divine.
I could easily go back to Der Kleine Heinrich, as they had a lot more interesting local dishes on the menu that I would love to try. A traditional Eel Soup, a Kohlrabi Soup, Susländer Pork Steak (the local variety of pig, fed on peas and coconut kernels?!), Gratinated Ewe’s Milk Cheese, Dripping served on Sunflower Bread with Apple and Onion and a Buttermilk Soup with Dumplings. Actually that would require more than one more visit, but that would be no problem at all!