Thursday, April 25, 2013

What should you eat in Germany

German food has a rich history and is a highlight of German culture.
The potato plays an important role, dating back to the 18th century when King Frederick II provided his people with seed potatoes and showed them how to make them grow. The post WWII division of Germany into East and West led to the development of Russian influenced cooking in East Germany while the food of West Germany maintained the traditional roots. Since the war, West Germany's economic model has relied on export of technology to support full employment. This has led to a high level of immigrants from around the European Union and as a result a broadening demand for foods influenced by the culture of these immigrants.

With that historic tapestry, let's look at a typical day.


A typical German breakfast includes bread, (toast and bread rolls supplemented with jam, honey, marmalade) and eggs with a cup of strong coffee or tea. Delicacies like deli meats, ham, salami are also common on breakfast menu.

Lunch and Dinner

Like other agrarian cultures, lunch has been the main meal of the day while dinner was a smaller meal. But, over that past 50 years, as farming has moved from family operations to large corporations and
people have moved to commercial job, a smaller lunch and a larger dinner have become the norm.


All cultures have their sweet treats and Germany is no different. You will find a large variety of tarts, cakes and roles made with fresh fruits such as apples, plums, strawberries, and cherries. Berliner,
Krapfen, Donuts and Cheesecake are also very popular. Puddings are a favorite with  'Rote Grütze', a red fruit pudding, 'Rhabarbergrütze' , a rhubarb pudding and 'Grüne Grütze', a gooseberry pudding topping the list. Italian ice cream parlors popularized ice cream and sorbets and led to a popular ice cream treat called Spaghettieis.

So now let's see which are the most typical dishes in Germany.


Currywurst can be found in fast-foode stands throughout Germany.  It is a wurst, or a sausage, sliced up and slathered with ketchup flavored with curry powder.

Frikadeller or Frikadellen

Influenced from Denmark, Frikadeller are flat, pan-fried dumplings of minced meat served with a variety of vegetables. They are a popular dish in both Denmark and Germany.


German Potato Salad - boiled potatoes with relish, ham or bacon, garnished with vinegar, oil and mayonnaise. You can find a diet version with yogurt substituted for the mayo.


Influenced from Eastern Europe, Goulasc is fried beef and pork cubes stewed with onions and red or green pepper. It is served with boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes or noodles.


This is a lovely pea soup with onions and potato, cooked in a beef broth. It is usually served with pieces of Bockwurst (a thick fine sausage).

Wiener Schnitzel

A popular German favorite provides a is thin, fried breaded veal fillet. It is served with red cabbage, chips or salad.

20101012sauerbraten .jpgSauerkraut & Sausage

If you are lucky enough to be in or around Munich in October, then you can fill yourself with the perennial German favorite, Sauerkraut and sausage along with pretzels and beer. Sauerkraut, cooked with a variety of scrumptious sausages, sometimes a ham hock or pork chops is a mouth watering dish.

A Primer on German Sausage
If you are traveling to Germany, you must know your sausage! Because of the high fat content in the sausage, they balance out the acid in the sauerkraut and the creaminess of the potato salad, creating a well balanced meal. In addition, the spices found in the "Wurst" aid digestion.  Here are a few basic types, but keep in mind when out in the countryside, you may find something a little different. Enjoy!


Bratwurst is a pork and beef sausage, boiled or smoked and then pan fried or grilled.


Very similar to the frankfurter, some claim it is the predecessor to the hot dog. Knackwurst is an all-beef sausage that is typically boiled. It has a thick skin that makes a Popping sound , "knack" when pricked with a knife during cooking.


From the Bavarian region, this sausage features veal, marjoram and light spices. As a result, it is much more delicate that those above. It can be boiled or grilled and is usually served with a sweet mustard as a breakfast sausage.


Bauernwurst, also known as a farmer's sausage, is a combination of pork and beef. It has a higher fat and spice content than the other sausages. This sausage is great on a hard roll with mustard. It's almost always boiled, and sometimes even smoked.


My favorite is Krainerwurst, a smoked bratwurst made with garlic, pork and beef. It is usually smoked before serving and stands up to reheating.

So, I hope you enjoy!


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