Not only do breeds of traditional cattle graze in the Goslar district, the tradition of distilling and refining also continues to live on here. If you fancy some culinary delights after a long hike, be sure not to miss the liqueurs from Klosterbrennerei Wöltingerode distillery and speciality Harzer Höhenvieh meats. Join us as we sample – and cook – our way through the region!
Harzer Rote Höhenvieh: meat of exceptional quality
It will hardly come as a surprise that a very special species of animal can also be found in such a rustic and special region. We’re talking about the Harzer Rote Höhenvieh. But what sort of cattle is this? It’s definitely not a high-performance breed raised solely for the needs of the meat industry with the fastest possible growth. Known as triple-purpose cattle, Harzer Rotvieh traditionally had three purposes, namely as a source of meat, for producing milk and as a draught animal.
Due to the isolated setting in a range of low mountains, the red cattle of the Harz developed over the centuries into a highly unique breed that has now evolved into a secret tourist attraction. These animals, which graze in the highlands for long periods of the year, are strong. They brave the elements there without any outdoor clothing or walking sticks (much to our envy).
Harzer Höhenvieh cattle are also ideally suited to these conditions, particularly due to their slightly shaggy, thick coat, which gives them a delightfully rustic appearance. And as the name suggests, this coat is a bold brown-red colour. A further feature of the Harzer Rote Höhenvieh is its striking dewlap: this fold of skin, which sags down slightly and extends from the throat to the chest, contains a great deal of fatty tissue. And then there are the cattle’s light-coloured horns, which are crowned with the typical dark tip.
The Harzer Höhenvieh and its habitat are perfectly matched to each other. The natural environment and habitat thus shaped the physical features of this breed, just as cattle farming led to mountain pasture flora that is unique to the Harz. So, the next time you’re hiking over the blossoming mountain pastures, remember that you also have the continuous work of the grazing Harzer Rote Höhenvieh to thank for this wonderful landscape.
By the way, you can also book hikes to see the Harzer Höhenvieh, for instance, in the Wolfshagen region. These let you get up close to the Rotvieh. This isn’t just worthwhile due to the appearance of these cattle, but also because you will be able to witness their way of life – the Höhenvieh is particularly tasty, and there’s no doubt that their quality of life also has an influence on the quality of the meat. And the region’s farmers also offer a variety of delicious speciality meats and sausages made from the Höhenvieh. Many of these cattle farmers meet organic standards and have often been awarded official organic seals.
We would highly recommend buying some delicious speciality Harzer Höhenvieh sausages to make a hearty ‘Tscherperessen’: this is a dish made from speciality Harz sausages, Harz cheese, gherkins, bread and dripping. Incidentally, the term ‘Tscherper’ has its roots in mining terminology and refers to a type of knife that the miners always carried. They used this knife both as cutlery and as a tool for working in the pit.
High-proof drinks to pair with hearty meals
If you visit one of the many restaurants and pubs to enjoy this kind of hearty meal, we would recommend trying one of the many speciality herbal liqueurs from the region or even a strong gin to aid digestion. This juniper spirit has a long tradition, which dates back to the 17th century. Gin is traditionally an English beverage and was written off in this country for a long time. Despite this, gin has been experiencing a real comeback in modern reinterpretations for several years. Gin is a drink that isn’t just delicious, it’s high-proof as well – and ideal for cooking. You can find a few suggestions to get you started in our recipes.
Michelin-starred chef Markus Semmler created a gin for the Klosterbrennerei Wöltingerode distillery that has a mix of juniper berries and pomace to thank for its fine note. Modern tastes and centuries of distilling tradition come together in this gin and prove that tradition is neither boring nor outdated, but can instead inspire fascinating new food and drinks. And your trip to the Goslar region in the Harz could thus also become a culinary journey as well. In any case, Klostergut Wöltingerode monastery is definitely worth a visit. The wonderful green spaces and flowerbeds invite you to stroll, wander and relax. You can also take a tour of the monastery distillery and the barrel store. And sampling the monastery’s delicious liqueurs is definitely a must while you’re here.
Have we whet your appetite? Perhaps you’d like to try one of the following recipes once you have found the fantastically full-bodied meat of the Harzer Höhenvieh at one of the local cattle farms. By the way: always look out for the label ‘Typisch Harz. Ausgezeichnet Regional!’ (‘Typically Harz. Outstandingly regional!’) on all of the products, which shows that they bona fide high-quality items from the Harz.
RECIPE IDEA 1: Hearty Harzer Höhenvieh beef roulade
Whether you enjoy it as a follow-up to a short mountain hike or as a delicious Sunday treat, beef roulade is a classic, hearty dish. Served with delicious braised vegetables and a strong jus with a touch of gin, good old roulade can impress with a new hint of flavour. The meat of the Harzer Höhenvieh is particularly delicious in roulade. This is due to the fact that the animals do not develop any excessive fat deposits, as they graze in the fresh air and get plenty of exercise. Go to recipe.
RECIPE IDEA 2: Hearty roast beef with honey from the Harz
Roast beef isn’t just a classic of British cuisine. It can serve as the centrepiece of a delicious, hearty meal, no matter whether it’s enjoyed hot or cold. Roast beef is the sirloin cut of the animal and, in the Harzer Höhenvieh’s case, has a very special flavour of its own. This reinterpretation with a delicious crust of pine nuts, herbs and regional honey literally gives you a taste of the Harz and its wonderful forest landscapes. Go to recipe.
RECIPE IDEA 3: Beef casserole with traditional Höhenvieh
A classic casserole is a wonderful, traditional way to use not only the meat but also the bones of the animal. Wonderful, hearty cuisine that’s simple and delicious: the full-bodied flavour of the Harzer Höhenvieh is what makes this casserole special. If you freeze some of the bouillon, you can use it at any time to make a casserole later on or refine it to make stock. Go to recipe.
RECIPE IDEA 4: Hungary in the Harz? Hearty Höhenvieh goulash
Goulash is the traditional food of Hungarian cattle herders. So what could make more sense than cooking a hearty Harz version of goulash? This recipe is a pure beef goulash, but you can of course also make a pork and beef goulash if you like. In this recipe, gin is used to refine and round off the flavour. If you use ‘Gin Mundus’ from Klosterbrennerei Wöltingerode distillery, the wonderful juniper note is the perfect complement to the hearty flavour of the meat. Go to recipe.
RECIPE IDEA 5: Miners’ fried beef and onions in gravy with Harz marjoram honey
Fried beef and onions is actually a traditional Austrian or Swabian dish. This dish gets a Harz twist when you refine it with honey from the region. The honey produced in each individual region gets a very unique flavour thanks to the special variety of plants found there. Pure marjoram honey from the Harz and southern Lower Saxony gives this fried beef and onion recipe a special touch due to its hearty and full-bodied flavour. Go to recipe.