Four museums about culinary specialities
The museums of bread, cheese, ham and beer explain the culinary culture of Westphalia
Bread, cheese, ham, plus beer, and top it off with a cheeky schnapps – all that’s needed to make a Westphalian happy. And because these flavours and characteristics can reveal a lot about a people, its culture and history, four museums located in the Westfalen Culinarium comprising some 3,000 square metres address precisely these themes. The Westfalen Culinarium is based in Nieheim in the NRW region of Teutoburg Forest . Its unique museum concept aims to highlight the culinary specialities of Westphalia, share interesting facts and curiosities with its visitors and explain the region’s culinary roots and where they can still be found today. Why was brewing considered a feminine occupation until well into the Middle Ages? And what are ‘women’s mines’ (‘Weiberzechen’)? The four museums delve deep into the culture and history of the culinary specialities of Westphalia.
The heart of the museum, the Deutsches Käsemuseum (German Cheese Museum), opened in 2006. Museum visitors can learn everything there is to know about making cheese. In the old cheese-making kitchen, which has been rebuilt as a replica of the original, visitors can learn first hand how cheese gets its holes. And the Westphalian cheese speciality, the protein-rich, low-fat and aromatic Nieheimer, is of course offered up on its own special platform. Restaurant Meilenstein is also attached to the Cheese Museum, providing connoisseurs the chance to encounter other culinary delights after visiting the museum.
But visitors should first proceed to the Westfälisches Brotmuseum (Westphalian Museum of Bread). Here, visitors are presented with various grain types, can discover the flavours of cumin, poppy seeds and sesame seeds, and can learn about the special techniques used to prepare Westphalian pumpernickel bread. On Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the Bread Museum heats up the largest Königswinter oven in eastern Westphalia and visitors are treated to freshly baked bread and cakes.
Of course the best thing to accompany good bread is Westphalian Knochenschinken (ham on the bone) and visitors to the Westfälisches Schinkenmuseum (Westphalian Ham Museum) can learn all about its production. This section of the museum also houses the Westfalen Culinarium’s shop, where visitors can buy Westphalian treats for their own tables or as gifts for friends and family.
And finally the Westfälisches Biermuseum (Westphalian Beer Museum) explains exactly how delicious beer is made from the simple ingredients of water, malting barley, hops and yeast. A few local residents of Nieheim regularly get together to brew Nieheimer Bürgerbier in the small brewery at the Westphalian Beer Museum, producing a beautifully amber-coloured, bottom-fermented and unfiltered yet incredibly delicious beer. Finally, after a tipple, visitors can say they have truly experienced first-hand the region’s most important staple foods and learned about their importance.
April - October: Wednesday - Sunday: 10:00 - 18:00
Baking times: Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 - 15:00
“Show me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.” – The Westfalen Culinarium treats visitors to speciality bread, cheese, ham and beer and thus the culture of Westphalia.