German Food – More Than Just Sausages
There is certainly more to Germany than just the German flag. Of course, there are the numerous tourist attractions in the country. What can make your stay more exciting? If you guessed sampling delicious cuisine Germany has to offer, then you guessed right. Germany has a diverse range when it comes to food. The German drive for perfection manifests even in its restaurants. In fact, there are several restaurants highly rated by the Michelin guide. One will not be at a loss on what to eat in Germany. You just have to know what to sample when you are in the country.
One need not be an adventurous person to immerse himself in German cuisine. After all, as mentioned previously, it is obvious that different types of meat are popular in the country. Fish and vegetables also take a good share of the German table, so the dining experience certainly need not be something out of a “Fear Factor” episode.
Let us say that one is a sausage lover. If he or she were to go to Germany, there are over 1,500 varieties of sausage or wurst. With that thought, just sampling one kind of sausage per day will take almost five years to finish. Of course, no one will do that. Now, if you do a bit of researching, you can also sample a traditional German buffet of sausages, cold meats and cheese. That can set the pace for you to discover more and more of German cuisine. From that point, you can try out other dishes on the German menu.
Another fun way to experience Germany with food in mind is traveling to Munich for the Oktoberfest. What better way to have a good time than spending it with a number of different people, residents and tourists alike. This way, one can sample both the food and drink in Germany while immersing himself in a truly festive atmosphere.
How to Know What German Food to Eat
German food is not one of the most popular international foods in the USA. German restaurants are mostly found in cities and towns that have large German populations. I personally feel that if more Americans would try German food they would find the food to be tasty and have a wide variety of dishes. For too many years people have tended to think of German food as just a lot of dishes with a lot of red meat. It is true that German food does use red meat there are also many dishes that include: pork, wild game, wild boar, rabbit and venison. There are also so many kinds of sausages in German food that no cookbook could ever include all of them. In this article I will highlight some of the must try German dishes.
First, Schwenker, is a pork steak that is grilled with onions and spices. This dish varies by region but can be found in modt restaurants and is certainly worth trying.
Second, blood sausage, don’t turn your nose up to this dish until you have tried it. Most Americans are turned off by this food, but most countries of the world have some variation of this dish. So keep in mind the whole world can’t be wrong. Blood sausage in Germany is made from meat blood and barley. In the Rhineland it is traditionally made using horse meat. Pickled pig’s tongue can be added and this is known as Zungenwurst. Frankfuter sausage is a smoked pork sausage that is very similar to the American Frankfurter.
Third, Sauerkraut, is quite popular and served with many dishes. It is chopped cabbage that is fermented. It is served either hot or cold and sometimes is an ingredient in a dish.
Fourth, Spatzle, is German noodles made from flour, eggs and salt. Every great cuisine has their form of noodles. It can be used in a dish or eaten as a side dish. Spatzle is found in all regions of Germany.
Lastly, there are so many great dishes that I can not mention them all in this article but a few that are definitely worth mentioning are: Gaisburger Marsch which is a beef and potato stew, that contains spatzle, and topped with fried onions that have been cooked in butter. Hassenpfeffer, a rabbit stew flavored with wine and vinegar. Saurmagen which is spiced beef or pork with carrots and onions cooked in a pig’s stomach. The next time you are near a German restaurant before you nix the idea of trying German food I would definitely put it on your list of foods to try.
German Food by Region
If you’ve ever attended an Oktoberfest celebration anywhere in the world, you’re probably familiar with some basic German foods. Bratwurst is a staple at such festivals, and is usually served with sauerkraut, and maybe warm German potato salad. Then it’s all washed down with a hearty ale, or a stout beer. But there’s a lot more to German cuisine than these few common menu items, and you don’t even have to learn German to enjoy them. Take a look at these authentic German dishes by region, and then give them a try!
Bordering the North Sea, this part of Germany incorporates a lot of seafood into its cuisine. One of the most popular dishes of the area is “Aalsuppe”, which is a sweet and sour eel soup that contains vegetables, bacon, and sometimes even fruits like prunes or pears. Another traditional meal served in northwest Germany is “Labskaus” which is salt herring, beef, pork, beets, and potatoes are all ground together. The mixture is then topped with a fried egg, and is served with cucumbers on the side. It’s definitely a departure from bratwurst.
When the Berlin Wall fell, a whole branch of German cuisine became available once again to all of Germany, and the world. Eastern Germany offers hearty fare such as lentil soup with Thuringian sausage, which is called ” Linsensuppe ” mit “Thüringer Rotwurst”, and the basic “Kartoffelsuppe”, or potato soup. Cities around the region also lay claim to specific local foods. One of particular fame is “Dresdner Stollen”, a Christmas cake which was first baked in Dresden in the 14th century.
The food in the southern part of Germany is much more meat-centered than in other regions. Here, you’ll find “Rostbratwürste” or finger sausages, “Geschnetzeltes”, which is veal in cream sauce, “Rostbraten”, or braised beef served with Sauerkraut. The city of Stuttgart is known for a beef stew called ” Gaisburger Marsch “, and for ” Spätzle “, a soft, round egg noodle, which is a perfect accompaniment to the many meat dishes you’ll find in southern Germany.
Being the capital, it’s only fitting that Berlin have a few dishes it’s known for apart from the rest of Germany. Berliners spread rabbit pâté, or “Hase im Topf” on dark pumpernickel bread. That’ usually followed with either “Erbsensuppe”, a pea soup, or “Kohlsuppe”, a hearty cabbage soup. Berlin takes Bratwurst a step further with “Regensburger Wurst” a spicy pork sausage, and ends the meal with either cheese”Käsekuchen”, or “Gugelhupf”, a coffee cake that is a famous coffee cake throughout Germany, and the world.
If you’re not up to making any of these authentic German dishes at home, look for a German restaurant where you live, and expand your experience with German food beyond bratwurst and beer.
German Food: Your Best Choice
As regards to cuisine, we always think about the French one. Notwithstanding, there are many other countries that have spread their traditional or cultural food all over the world as a contribution to the generalized and international palate.
German cuisine has forayed into the international food consumption. Most of your favorite meals or recipes can be German originally. For instance, the U.S has a strong influence from the German cuisine.
Do you know the meatloaf, the hotdogs (frankfurters), the devil eggs, the hamburger (bouletten) and the tasty combination of beer and sausage? They were all born in Germany. They are a mixture and representation of the high number of German recipes that enrich the haute cuisine.
Germany has expanded its boundaries as regards its culinary traditions. It is not an easy task to summarize the general recipes or meals most eaten or recognized on this country since this phenomenon changes according to the region.
Meat is a symbolic dish in this country. The most popular meats are pork, chicken, goose, duck and turkey. Boars, rabbits and venison are also well accepted in the traditional market.
The most common cooking methods include marinated beef or venison in vinegar, these dishes are called Sauerbraten. Another significant aspect is the mixture of meats and other dishes with the outstanding German sausages. There are at least 1500 types of sausages (wurst) all over Germany.
This wurst is made using the casings from pork or sheep. There are miscellaneous types of sausages; however, among the most known are the Bratwurst and the Schwarzwurst.
On the other hand, German food goes beyond the meat industry. They also appreciate the characteristics and nutritional collateral benefits of the fish, apart from its genuine taste. The most eaten fish is the trout; nonetheless, it is not the only one. The pike, the carp, the European perch are also part of the wide and varied menu of German cuisine.
It is important to point out that, German food is not an exception of the refined or haute cuisine. Its bigger impact and hook is not due to a spicy or hot taste but to the incredibly soft and smooth flavour that arises from our palate as a result of a well mixture of condiments.
German cuisine is an unstoppable asserted creation of a diverse and unknown world of flavour and delightfulness. We should take back home some of its recipes and experiment a whole new experience.
Exploring the German Wine Country
The Rhine River meanders and winds its way through some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe. Here in western Germany, you will find a rich culture set amidst green mountains, babbling brooks, and breathtaking vineyards. The villages that dot this region are picturesque and almost fairy-tale like. Germany also boasts one of the best public transportation systems and trains reach most of the villages in the region. During the summer months, riverboat cruises travel up and down the river, which is a great way to not only see the natural beauty of the Rhine River Valley, but also get a chance to see many of these small German villages adorned with castles, inns, wineries, classic homes, and restaurants.
This small village is best known for its vineyards. Here you can tour the charming village and visit the wineries for a chance to sample mouth-watering wine. Climb up to the Niederwald Monument and enjoy fantastic views of the river valley below or traverse the slope-side vineyards but taking the famous Seilbahn cable car. There are ancient Ehrenfels Castle ruins here as well making Assmannshausen one of the most romantic places to explore. It is most famous for its world class Pinot Noir and one sip and you will see why.
Assmannshausen is incorporated into the town of Rudensheim where Germany’s famous Reisling wines stem from. Here you will find the historic old town with the Brömserburg Castle and the Boosenburg Castle as well. You can even get spooked at the Medieval Torture Museum and glimpse into Europe’s not so human rights friendly past. In late summer you will find a fun and exciting wine festival where food, flowers, music, and of course wine fill the streets. The accommodations here are mostly smaller hotels and inns. A couple former mansions have since been converted to hotels but it all adds to the quaint feeling of enjoying a stay off the beaten track.
Anyone who really knows wine will know the Ahr region of Germany. Most consider it one of the world’s best wine paradises. Here some of the world’s best varieties of wine are grown, most of which are mouth-watering reds though a few varieties of white wine are cultivated here as well. Each year Ahrweiler hosts a huge wine festival where the many vineyards come together to celebrate and sample there best German varieties. There wine tastings and seminars and you can enjoy several days trekking along the Red Wine Trail stopping by each vineyard where most owners and families will happily entertain you stories of their grapes and history of the region.
You’ll quickly be rewarded by one of the most scenic countrysides in Germany. The rolling green hillsides and mountains along with the centuries old German villages make for a perfect backdrop to a vacation spent sipping rich red wines. It is perhaps a perfect place for a honeymoon or romantic trip for two.
Boppard and the Middle Rhine Region
The hills and valleys, country roads and villages are all part of the package in the Middle Rhine region of Germany. There are ten wine growing districts here all which picturesque vineyards set on the outskirts of quaint German villages. Boppard is a town that dates back the days of the Roman Empire and has a rich history to compliment your wine. In the spring and summer months there is plenty of sunshine which adds to flavor of the wine that is drenched in it. The hills around Boppard give a splendid chance to get a panoramic view of the surrounding country. There is even a 100 year old railway that takes you up into the hillsides for an even more romantic day trip.
Nearby in the Bad Salzig naturally healing spas will melt your cares away. Here you can also find wine festivals. A few miles away you will find the achingly romantic area of Rheinbay. Here flower-blossomed orchards fill the countryside and wine grown here is unlike any other. The village is equally as historic with old churches, German houses, and restaurants to enjoy in between wine tastings. Several other historic towns dot the area, each one with their own unique history such as Herschwiesen and Oppenhausen and are well worth stop at.
Middle Moselle Wine Region
Here in the town of Bernkastal-Kues in the famous Middle Moselle Valley Wine Region you will find one of the largest wine festivals in Germany. From a huge fireworks display to lots of music and a large parade, the festival is a non-stop party. Throughout the entire festival there are countless celebrations with as much wine and music as you can enjoy. It’s a medieval town with a long history with its centuries old marketplace and timber houses, the charm is endless. Wherever you roam in the German wine region you will find scenic natural beauty, world-class wine, and friendly people.
Types of German Beers
German beer – you have to admit, is one of the finest tasting beers you can drink. German breweries are pretty secretive about their “how tos”. They all seem to say it’s in the water. I’m sure there’s some truth to that, but what really gives the beer it’s great flavor is the hops which is traded as seriously as grapes for wine makers.
Most German beers are great tasting because all are vegan (no animal products are used). Bavarian purity laws limit them to four ingredients only: water, grain, hops and yeast. Real German beer is also not pasteurized as many American beers are, which lets you taste the beer’s real flavor.
Listed below are some of the different types of German beers typically found in Bavaria and what you can expect should you order one of these types.
Ein “Helles”, bitte ( A lite beer)
The standard light beer, when you order a “Helles” in a pub or restaurant you’ll most likely end up with a pint. Depending on the brewer it can be quite refreshing. Some beer gardens have responded to the public’s demand for smaller quantities and now also offer them outdoors, the “real” beer garden only serves the “Mass” (one quart) – pronounced “maus”. By the way, Germany has laws governing the quantity of liquids served to the public, that is why you will find level markers on each glass. If your Mass looks like it is not quite 1 liter after the foam settles, just go back and ask for “bitte nachschenken”. The man at the keg will be impressed that you know your way around.
Ein “Pils” (A Pilsener)
If you like a more bitter and less malty taste try the pils which is also called pilsner. You can order them in restaurants and special pils bars. Take a closer look at the time consuming process of serving a foam crowned pils with perfection. You will see dozens of glasses filled with foam only, waiting to settle. It can take a good quarter of an hour for the foam refills to turn into the golden liquid.
Ein “Dunkeles” (A dark beer)
Against popular beliefs it is not the most powerful in alcohol contents. It is basically a lager bottom brewed beer containing “toasted” malt.
Ein “Weissbier” (A white beer)
A very good idea when the sun is shining and you prefer being refreshed by a lighter tasting beer. Weizen means wheat, often called a Weissbier (white), and is served in tall and elegant 1/2 liter glasses. But beware of its “light” character, it is the strongest in alcohol. While some will serve it with a slice of lemon, do not put one in your Hefe (yeast) Weissbier. The Hefeweissbier comes only in bottles, a professional will wet the glass and pour the bottle at a steep angle. With the foam that remains at the bottom of the bottle he will collect the yeast (swirling action) and add it to your beer.
Ein Bock und Doppelbock (A Bock beer)
Bock is term used for a stronger beer (doppel meaning double even more so). Fasting monks found an ingenious way of compensating the lack of food – they started brewing very strong beers. March and October are the two most prominent seasons for brewing these special beers.