I·ATE Food Term of the Week: Frankfurt Green Sauce


Frankfurt Green Sauce (`Frankfurter Grüne Soße`)

Every year in spring in the region of Frankfurt and surroundings, this green sauce will be prepared in German kitchens. The season for eating this sauce usually starts on Holy Thursday or Good Friday before Easter and then up to the early weeks of autumn, basically, as long as it is possible to get these herbs freshly. Traditionally, people eat the sauce cold and combine it with hard-boiled eggs and potatoes. The religious related perception behind this was to prepare a meal without meat. However, some people combine it also with fish or meat nowadays.

The citizens in Frankfurt of the federal state Hesse in Germany call it lovingly “Grie Soß” in their dialect and although there exist several versions as preparation, traditionally there are some guidelines to follow: The original Frankfurter Grüne Soße contains exactly 7 herbs (borage, cress, chervil, small burnet, parsley, chives and sorrel). They all need to be fresh and chopped by hand instead of using any kitchen gadget. What else is necessary to prepare it? Sour cream, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar and oil. Eventually you simply mix it together or puree it. Some people replace the sour cream by crème fraîche or mayonnaise. Sometimes people prefer lemon juice instead of vinegar, others add some mustard or hard-boiled eggs into the sauce.

Just as much as the perfect recipes with its ingredients are under discussion, so is the origin of this special sauce. Some rumours say that the mother of the famous writer Goethe created it. Others rather believe that the Huguenot brought the slightly changed version of the French sauce verte to Germany. Overall, not only Germany and France have their versions of a green sauce. There are for example, the Canary Islands with their mojo verde combining it with little wrinkled potatoes (papas arrugadas) or the Argentinians with their chimichurri, which they enjoy during their asados. In Italy, they have the bagnèt verd, originally coming from the Piermont region or their pesto verde combined with pasta. Peru and Colombia have their aji verde, which they offer for example with some of their street food. If you prefer the Thai version, there is Namjim Pak Chee for dipping fried fish or sticky rice or for a rather spicy version there is the green chutney in India. The different cultures usually include some of the herbs of their region or country. All of them are green sauces, but each is different and unique in its ingredients, appearance and taste.











Written by Xenia Sauer – Study Visitor in Communication at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and student in the Master program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a Bachelor degree in Sustainable Tourism and speaks German, English, Spanish and French.