Meet & Eat
Rudolfplatz, with its imposing Hahnentor city gate, is named after an important Habsburg ruler. It was down what is now Aachener Strasse that the newly crowned emperors would make their way to Cologne. Even today, there’s still a lot of hustle and bustle going on at Rudolfplatz — with all the culinary delights and foodie trends you could possibly imagine. A firm fixture is this weekly evening market. Developed by the German Society for Ecological Agriculture together with Cologne’s Market Authority, you can pick up ingredients and sample the variety of food and drinks on offer from the many stalls and street food trucks here every week.
Rudolfplatz, city centre, meet-and-eat.koeln, every Thursday, 4 pm-9 pm
Backhendl at Essers
There’s a lot more to eating out in Germany than schnitzel and fries. And although they also do a first-rate veal schnitzel at Essers in Neuehrenfeld, every first Thursday in the month is “Roast Chicken Day”. It’s not only the proprietor’s charming accent that gives away her Austrian roots but also the rigour with which she oversees this monthly ritual. Served in large bowls, the crispy chicken is incredibly delicious. The secret? Different cooking times for the breast, legs and wings. And it’s accompanied by fresh salad. Be sure to book early to avoid disappointment! It’s hugely popular and even attracts hungry diners from beyond the city’s borders.
Essers Gasthaus, Neuehrenfeld, Ottostr. 72, Tel. 42 59 54, essers-gasthaus.de, every first Thursday in the month
Rhine Wine Festival
Cologne and its local beer Kölsch go hand in hand. But not many people realise that this used to be a wine city. At the end of the Middle Ages, however, the wine-growing region fell victim to climate change, which mankind couldn’t yet be blamed for at the time. Nevertheless, wine is still drunk in abundance in Cologne, which explains why there are so many wine festivals — from the incredibly popular one on Heumarkt to the alternative “Salon Vin Natürel” at Stadtgarten (Venloer Str. 40). A new addition ist the event on the banks of the Rhine which is being held twice in 2019. At the Rheinauhafen you can wander around with a glass of vino in your hand and see and be seen.
Rheinauhafen, weinfest-am-rhein.de, 19.–23.6 & 22.–25.8.2019
Fine Food Days Cologne
Top restaurants, hotels and unique foodie hotspots are coming together to launch the first ever Fine Food Days Cologne this year. Rather than your classic gourmet festival, it’s made up of innovative events at unusual places around the city, from dinner in an allotment, to a rock star backstage party or a rooftop wine tasting session. The event’s HQ is Club Volta (Schanzenstr. 6–20, building 2.10). Held in a former factory in the Mülheim district, things will kick off with a spectacular kitchen party and end on a high with a gala dinner.
finefooddays.cologne, at various locations in and around Cologne, 31.8–8.9.2019
When Cologne’s foodie scene comes together at Marieneck in Ehrenfeld, money doesn’t come into it. At this private event, which takes place twice a year, everyone can offer their own creations in return for something else, from fresh, homegrown bay leaves to yuzu jam, or homemade ketchup, daisy gin and home-brewed liquorice liqueur. Simply come in, grab a table and enjoy chatting and swapping your wares with fellow foodies.
Marieneck Cookery School, Ehrenfeld, Marienstr. 1c, schwarzmarkt.org, next one on 30.9.2019
Carnival is all about the local beer, Kölsch. But in the hotspots of Zülpicher Strasse and the Old Town, you won’t see the costumed revellers drinking it out
of glasses due to safety reasons. If you’re celebrating anywhere else on the streets, you can hang a knitted Kölsch glass holder around your neck, leaving both hands free for waving and dancing! Watching the Carnival parade is thirsty work, after all. If you want to see the whole procession pass by, expect to be standing around for up to five hours. For that you will need a good stomach lining, which in Cologne mostly consists of thick cubes of gouda and salami that you bring along yourself. Sharing is a must!
City centre, koelnerkarneval.de, 24.2.2020
(by Johannes J. Arens | Illustration by Mareike Engelke)