Ostheim is special.
I'm not just saying that because it's my home town. I'm saying this because Ostheim is special.
Doug has posted about the history of Ostheim and for some reason, this peculiar history has produced a special kind of people. Ostheimers have always been different from those around them - Protestants in a Catholic country, they were much more genial, open-minded, welcoming, ingenious.
Ostheim only has a population of 3,500 but in the history of the city, we had a gun factory that sold high quality hunting weapons all over the world (until the day some stupid American shot himself in the foot or something and managed to sue the company to its near death from which it never really recovered). We have two breweries, a shoe factory (no longer), an organ factory that produces and repairs organs in the entirety of Germany (and has a renowned museum in town), a hide factory that specializes in the curing of animal intestines and sells those all over the world (you wouldn't believe the uses for cured intestines!), we have/had artists and writers and, you know, people who make a difference. Ostheim had outdoor cafés when everyone else thought it was declassé to sit and eat outside, it had one of the first movie theaters in the greater area, the first indoor swimming pool for the local school, and it had a discotheque that attracted young'uns from the entire county and beyond.
Now, the disco belonged to the Peter Brewery and those are interesting folk. Apart from lots of confusing naming issues (the sons' last name is Kowalsky, the stepfather is Leipold, the mother is Peter-Leipold), they managed to pull themselves out of the swamp of impeding bankruptcy by inventing a product that hit the market like a bomb: Bionade. Within only a few years, you can now buy it in every scene bar and disco and eatery in Germany, and even on the ICE trains which is a mark of distinction of a special kind.
It's an ingenious idea: a brewed, non-alcoholic lemonade. It's actually quite tasty although we can't give it to Alan whom it makes super-hyper. (It's the high level of phosphate.) It's touted as very healthy and it has only organically grown ingredients. It's fun, it's hip, and it brings a lot of money. An OK account of the whole hype and what not can be found here. Since I know the people personally, I would put some things differently -- but my mother is also the Deputy Mayor, so I know things I should and will not blog about. In any case, Bionade has it's own wikipedia page, and that says something (only I'm not sure what).
Another specialty from Ostheim is the Ostheimer Leberkäs. It differs from its Bavarian brothers in that it is a terrine, not a kind of big fat sausage. It's said that a butcher brought the recipe back from France when we went to fight the French in 1870/71. Definitely one of the yummier outcomes of that particular war. It, also, is being served on the ICE trains. The hype was accordingly, and it really is very very tasty. (The Leberkäs, not the hype.)
Do I need to mention that Ostheim also has a bratwurst stand where you can actually get the best bratwurst in Germany -- some even say, in the world? Larry can back me up on that one, I'm sure.
So, when you come visit me (Karoline?), I'll seve you Leberkäs and Bionade, and then some home-shot, home-cooked venison and a good beer, and then we'll go and sit in an outdoor ice cream parlor in town and watch life go by, and round the day off with some bratwurst. How does that sound?
One last bit of trivia about Ostheim which you won't find on the Interwebs, and this one is weird but it's true, honest. In this area of Germany, we have a lot of "Feste" (fests) in the summer time. If you've ever been in Germany yourself, you'll know that the weather is notoriously changeable - summer doesn't mean guaranteed sun and warmth. But. Whenever Ostheim has a fest, the weather is always nice. Weeks of rain will step aside for a weekend of sunshine and outside fun in Ostheim, only to resume raining on Monday. Sometimes, the Bieranstich on Friday evening is still a bit rained upon, but on Saturday and Sunday, the sun will shine.
Ostheim. It's just very special.
(A Bieranstich, in case you don't know this, is the traditional tapping of the beer barrel in front of an audience that only waits for you to fail. This is our mayor doing a great job and my Mom in the foreground getting the first stein of beer.)