Seen from the outside, Germany might seem big and monolithic. When you spend some time there, you get more of a feeling of the regional differences, from Schleswig-Holstein on the Danish border to the Bavarian south. Germany as a nation state is not very old, and the federal structure set up after WWII means that the Länder or states have a large degree of autonomy.
And even the states themselves have sub regions, many of them old principalities from way back when. Bavaria has quite a few of them, each proud of their identity, many of them the size of a small European country of their own.
Franconia covers the three northernmost administrative districts of Bavaria, and, while researching before my recent visit to Berlin, I was pleased to discover that they have a strong presence in the capital.
Not content to call it a mere shop, the Fränkische Botschaft, umlaut and all, means the Franconian embassy.
Why embassy?, their web site asks. Because we want to be an embassy for Franconian flavour and way of life.
The main costumer base is probably natives of the region, but you don’t have to be a native to be greeted by a Grüss Gott!
It is not a big store. A counter with meat and sausages. They offer carp and other freshwater fish when in season. Farmhouse bread, seasonal vegetables. Chocolate and sweets. Fruit preserves, juice, wine and schnapps.
But the main reason to go here is the splendid selection of Franconian beers. Some of the more famous smoked beers from Bamberg are present, but there is also a range from small breweries in villages and towns you probably haven’t heard of. Regular supplies means the beer is fresh.
When I was visiting there was a broad range of unfiltered Kellerbier, I believe there will be bocks and other seasonal offerings when they are available from the breweries.
I bought as many I could fit into my backpack, and I could not resist adding some cured ham and sausages as well.
The price level? Beer is not expensive in Germany. You could probably find something slightly cheaper if you bought it by the crate in a LIDL – but here you get the real stuff. Mostly in swing top bottles – it never went out of style there.
The only thing missing here would be a small Bierstube attached with a few beers on tap and some regional snacks.
U-Bahn: U1, U2 U-Bahnhof Nollendorffplatz, U7 Yorckstraße or Eisenacherstraße