Zwiebelkuchen and Federweisser

It is now harvest time in the Mosel and traditionally this is when the Germans enjoy the Riesling equivalent of Beaujolais – Federweisser. This is the youngest wine, being served as soon as the alcohol content reaches four percent.

Federweisser means “feather white”, a reference to the yeast particles suspended within the liquid, giving it a distinctly cloudy appearance. Don’t let that put you off though – it is nectar sweet as the sugar has not been fully fermented into alcohol.

Traditionally the Germans serve Federweisser with Zwiebelkuchen, or “Onion Cake”. Not a cake in the traditional sense, this rustic tart of caramelised onions and salty bacon is the perfect complement to the sweetness of the wine. It is like Flammkuchen, the main difference being Zwiebelkuchen has a yeast base whereas Flammkuchen is more like a thin crust pizza.

For those of you not living in Germany, here is a Zwiebelkuchen recipe for you to try. It is adapted from one on the recipes section of the German website.


  • 1/8 litre of milk (or water)
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 375 grams flour
  • 30 grams yeast
  • 2-3 kilograms onions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 300 grams streaky bacon
  • Salt, pepper, caraway, paprika powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream


Make the dough by putting the milk (or water) oil, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the flour and crumble in the the yeast. Mix together and then knead everything to a smooth dough Leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes.

For the topping, cut the onions into thin slices. Chop the bacon and fry in the butter, then add the onions and continue to fry until translucent. Stir in the spices and set aside to cool. Beat the eggs with the sour cream and stir into the cooled onion mixture.

Roll out the dough thinly and place on a greased baking sheet. Allow the dough to for about 15 minutes then spread on the onion mixture.

Bake in an oven at 200° Celsius (180° Celsius for fan assisted ovens) until the dough is cooked and the topping is brown.

Enjoy with a glass or two of chilled Federweisser.

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