Everyone knows about French cuisine, but German? It may not be easy to think of anything else but sausage but if you are going to Germany, you should not miss to enjoy their domestic delights. Here are some dishes you should try and a guide to German food culture!
Germany is food, especially if you come to home cooking. The kitchen may not have the same aura as the French which is most often associated with refined arrangements in small portions, while Germany is instead dominated by large portions and rustic well-cooked home cooking. There are of course plenty of restaurants of very high class, which in Baiersbronn a place that is said to have the most Michelin restaurant stars per inhabitant.
But what is typical German food then? Not easy to say since Germany is a large country with large regional differences in cooking cultures but most notable is the country’s tradition of sausages. The tradition is so strong that many families have their own recipes, but this also applies to pickled and pickled vegetables. Long cooking and pots are also typical German home cooking.
If you drive through a German village with three houses, you can be sure that one of them houses a Gasthaus, a simple restaurant that the locals love. This is where you will find the genuine German food tradition and it can withstand being tasted. Here are wonderful salads like cucumber salad in yogurt, vinegar cucumber, red cabbage varieties and other salads with German-grown vegetables as a base, dishes made from deer and other game, and wonderful desserts such as Rote Grütze, mixed berries served with vanilla cream. You can also feel confident that what is served is homemade and not infrequently cooked or from nearby animal herds.
If you start discussing German dishes, sausage is usually the first thing mentioned., because who does not know Bratwurst? Of course, if you have not eaten any of this in your life, it is of course time to do so when you are still in Germany.
So what is Bratwurst? The rather flavorful sausage seasoned with garlic, nutmeg, and cloves can be made from several different ingredients, but the most common is pork, although both lamb and beef are present. That it is a typical German law, however, is not to be missed, the oldest known recipe is from 1432 so it’s not exactly a modern invention.
Another popular and famous sausage in Germany is Currywurst which is a Bratwurst with, just that, curry. Then the sausage is also cut and served with tomato sauce and plenty of powdered curry powder.
Sausages like fine dining can be found in Bavaria. There the tradition of Weisswurst is strong, and almost white sausage made from ground veal and pork. The cooked sausage seasoned with parsley, lemon, onion, ginger, and cardamom is served in something similar to a mushroom in the middle of the table if the party is large and of course a large dish with bread and potato salad. The sausage skin is not something you eat, the sausage is cut up and the enjoyment is the content and accessories.
There is almost an endless selection of sausages in Germany and of course, you should try a cheese, ham and sausage platter that is usually plentiful enough to be considered a meal but now we will move towards more traditionally cooked food.
In Germany, the portions are large, if you order a salad as a side dish you probably won’t be able to eat everything. It is a bit unkind to say that the big stomachs of the South Germans did not come solely from their beer tradition, especially in their agricultural countryside in Bavaria. This is despite the fact that in newspapers you can sometimes read that beer is not alcohol but basic food, Grundnahrungsmittel.
Another standard accessory is Spätzle, a pasta-like dish that, if served at a Gasthaus in southern Germany, is probably home-made. The dish is made from a dough that is similar to the one used for pasta and also the appearance is similar even though Spätzle is available in a number of variants and is mainly served for southern German home cooking. If it says Kässpatzen or Käsespätzle on the menu, it is topped with grated cheese and fried onions.
The dumpling, which is reminiscent of body cakes and sometimes called Kloße, is also a standard accessory and is a type of potato buns made from raw grated potatoes mixed with mashed potatoes, dried bread, and eggs. In most cases, the dish is used as an accessory to meat but is also available as a soup and dessert, when filled with plums as in Zwetschgenknödel. Another variant is the Semmelknödeln which is available in countless variants. If Speck or Fleich occurs in the name, the potato bun is filled with meat. Roasted Garlic Knob is roasted and sliced Semmelknödeln which is often served with eggs and salad.
If you want really ordinary boiled potatoes, look for the Süßkartoffeln, which can also be called Weiße Kartoffel. The roast potato is fried potato and Rösti is a raw grated potato that is fried and usually seasoned with garlic. The squash potato is sautéed potatoes.
Asparagus! Fresh asparagus. It is considered a delicacy in Germany. Nowhere else in Germany does fresh asparagus taste so good.
What may be considered a national dish is called Sauerbrat, which could be translated into sour steak. It is a meat roast that has been lying in sour marinade for several days, usually between three to ten days.
Schnitzel is intimately associated with Germany but whether a Wienerschnitzel should be considered German or not debatable even if it feels like genuine German. They are usually really big and are usually served with fried potatoes but otherwise in the way we are used to. Another schnitzel that has to be tried is the Zigeunerschnitzel, which is increasingly called paprika schnitzel, a tasty but not spicy dish where the schnitzel is not breaded and served with a sauce made of bell peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. In principle, french fries are always served to it.
You should not miss Schwartenbraten, which is roast pork, often served with sauerkraut and some kind of knödeln or why not try Ochsenbacken, neck from beef. Other specialties are Pichelsteiner which is made as goulash with meat, potatoes, and vegetables in plentiful sauce, Sauerbraten mit Kartoffelklössen und Apfelmuss which is vinegar marinated beef roast with apple mash.
Another dish is the Schweinshaxe, add from pork, any kind of oak, and turn into a hearty meal. The fact that Germany consists of different states becomes apparent when you look at the menus in different parts of the country.
If you come to desserts everyone knows about Apfelstrudel, a German apple pie with apples, nuts, cinnamon, and raisin flavored with a little rum. It should be at least lukewarm and served with vanilla sauce, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.
But there is much more where fresh fruit is often at the center. Rote Grütze, mixed berries served with vanilla cream is a variant but pies with apples, plums, strawberries, and cherries are used regularly. Rhabarbergrütze is a rhubarb pudding and Grüne Grütze is a gooseberry pudding, but the German range is not as great as the main courses. Dessert is somehow more international. A good piece of cake for the final coffee is also not completely wrong.