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The rediscovery of the German countryside as an extremely attractive tourist destination that can be reached in an environmentally friendly way, as a diverse and traditional hiking and wine region, has been accompanied for some time by a considerable number of wine travel books that focus on gastronomy and tourism, landscape and wine culture at the same time. Two publishing "schools" have emerged: While some titles in opulent layout, large format, hardcover, picture- and recipe-heavy on glossy pages serve more for the preparation and post-processing of the trip in the kitchen and in the corner of the sofa at home, others in easy-to-handle size and wine-tourism information density by means of maps and tips on vintners, overnight stays and classic "sights" want to recommend themselves as travel companions of the new generation: Practical, competent and compact.

The series "Eine kulinarische Weinreise" (A Culinary Wine Journey) and "Kulinarische Entdeckungsreisen" (Culinary Discovery Journeys) by the Neue Umschau Buchverlag, which specialises in high-quality culinary illustrated books, cookbooks and nutrition guides, undoubtedly belong to the first school. The volumes on the German wine-growing regions of Baden, Württemberg, Pfalz ("Kulinarische Weinreise") and Franconia ("Kulinarisches Franken für Wein- und Bierliebhaber") published there so far are part of an extensive publishing programme dedicated to the "most beautiful holiday regions in Germany and Europe". The extensively illustrated "Culinary Wine Tours" always have the same structure: First, the individual regions are presented in concise overview articles. These - occasionally enriched with information on vineyards and the distribution of grape varieties in the individual wine regions, the typical soils and climatic peculiarities - present the country and its people, the attitude to life, gastronomy and wine culture. This is followed by a very colourful mix of professional PR presentations of winegrowers' cooperatives, wineries, hotels and inns, often with illustrated recipes, each on one or two pages.

The criteria for their selection and sequence are not made clear at any point. Rather, it becomes clear that criteria other than the usual wine-related considerations were decisive for the selection: Wine culture, typical regional cuisine and lovely landscapes as ingredients of joie de vivre and quality of life - but not systematic or even problematising presentations of oenological and wine-growing aspects. The index gets to the heart of the matter: "Culinary recommendations" and the "List of recipes" show the interests of the publisher and authors: cookery and gastronomy books "always go", as the annual publishing programmes show; all the more so when they combine the themes of enjoyment, culture and wine so well, as is the case with these titles. Here, it's all in the mix - and with the focus on vintners, cooperatives and, restaurateurs, landscapes, towns and villages, but also butcher's shops, cafés, bakeries and flower shops, it's not only wild, but actually also suitable for conveying intensive impressions of dynamic wine landscapes, innovative winemakers and cooks who are both tradition-conscious and keen to experiment. The volumes of this "school" thus succeed - despite the almost disconcertingly colourful combination of themes - in delivering what they promise for the respective regions: For the "wine paradise of Baden", the "culinary partnership of wine and food" is shown in the "best possible" way. The book on the Palatinate no longer shows the region as "the land of coarse pleasures and lovely pub revelry"; it is rather - with atmospheric photographs by Armin Faber - an informative "voyage of discovery to many well-known and more not yet well-known winemakers and restaurateurs".

Württemberg and Franconia also show their best sides here, of course: Württemberg wine is now "also recognised beyond the Spätzles border and continues to gain in reputation" - a finding that can easily be substantiated by the wines of many highly ambitious winemakers. Readers of the comparably knit volume "Culinary Franconia - For Wine and Beer Lovers" will gain a similar impression: A fresh wind is blowing not only among many vintners, but also "in many Franconian kitchens." These regional PR publications really do whet people's appetites for the country and its people - so much so that they could almost be recommended to tourism associations in particular as promotional material.

The second school of "practical, competent and compact" - vade mecum for travel - includes, for example, the book series of the Stuttgart-based Hampp publishing house "Auf Weinreise" (On a Wine Tour), which has recently been expanded by two volumes on the southwest German wine region: the former sommelier and renowned wine author Frank Kämmer has now presented titles on "Baden" and "Württemberg" after "Pfalz" and "Rheingau/Rheinhessen". The respective wine regions of the two growing areas are each presented from south to north in condensed chapters that are very informative in wine terms. The great benefit for tourist practice results from the loose sequence of portraits of wineries and winegrowers (58 each), recommendations for eating, drinking and accommodation, but also tips for "discovering", "shopping" and "moving around" (e.g. wine trails). On the overview maps for the motorist, the wineries are numbered - so easy to find in the continuous text. The reader is familiarised with the most important wine towns and regions without any claim to completeness. Completeness is not the aim here: The volumes are intended as a compactly presented sum of personal recommendations and experiences - well suited for quick information and to slip into your jacket pocket. It would be helpful to have a more comprehensive index not only of the wineries, but also of villages, sights and inns. The price level of the wineries - for example "upmarket" or "middle-class to luxury" - should be indicated more precisely. All in all, however, with these titles Hampp-Verlag has presented extremely practical and productive travel guides for the growing number of wine enthusiasts who want to rediscover the German wine regions as attractive destinations for holidays and enjoyable wine studies.

Gertrud und Eberhard Löbell: Eine kulinarische Weinreise durch Baden.Umschau Verlag: 2005, Neustadt an der Weinstraße, hardcover with thread stitching. 216 pages. 23.5 x 30 cm. ISBN 978-3-86528-325-2. 29,90 Euro.
A culinary wine journey through Baden at Amazon

Holger Mühlberger, Andrea Mohr, Magdalena Ringeling: A Culinary Wine Journey through the Palatinate.Neuer Umschau Buchverlag: 2005, Neustadt/Weinstr. 264 pages, 23.5 x 30 cm. Hardcover with thread stitching. ISBN 978-3-86528-325-2. 34,90 Euro.
A culinary wine journey through the Palatinate at Amazon

Ute and Robert Elsner-Link, Martina Braun: Culinary Franconia for Wine and Beer Lovers.Neuer Umschau Buchverlag: 2006, Neustadt an der Weinstraße. 152 pages, 23.5 x 30 cm. Hardcover. ISBN 978-3-86528-322-1. 29,90 Euro.
Culinary Franconia for wine and beer lovers at Amazon

Petra Wagner, René Paetow A Culinary Wine Tour through Württemberg.Neuer Umschau Buchverlag: 2006, Neustadt/Weinstr. 216 pages, 23.5 x 30 cm. Hardcover with thread stitching. ISBN 978-3-86528-321-4. 35,90 Euro.
A culinary wine journey through Württemberg at Amazon

Frank Kämmer: On a wine journey. Baden. Stuttgart: Hampp Verlag 2007, 104 pages, softcover. ISBN 978-3-936682-22-9. 9;90 Euro; and Frank Kämmer: Auf Weinreise. Württemberg.Stuttgart: Hampp Verlag 2007, 104 pages, softcover. ISBN 978-3-936682-23-6. 9.90 Euro.
On awine tour of Baden at Amazon
On a wine tour of Württemberg at Amazon

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