If German beer is a food what about Glühwein?
A taste of traditional German food
An astronomical gastronomic experience in Germany
I stabbed my way through the thick but crispy layer surrounding the Schweinshaxe and eventually broke off a piece of crackling. As it crunched between my teeth, my taste buds kicked into overdrive. It was delicious. The spongy Knoedel in juxtaposition to the crunch, was melt in the mouth delicious. The sauerkraut was just enough to break down the fat from the salty pork knuckle. To aid the digestive process, a swig or two of Dunkel Weissbier…
Scoffing our way through German and Bavarian culinary culture
As I crawl my way through my 600+ photos of our trip through Germany, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to some of the food, snacks and beverages we sampled. Question is, should I make this a photo gallery? I’m sure I’m not going to remember all the names of the food we ate. Besides, I’m terrible at taking notes while traveling.
I thought I was clever by limiting the number of photos I took, knowing I would only be able to use a small portion for my blogs. I’ll admit it was also a humongous issue to dig through all the layers of warm clothing, taking off my gloves, hoisting up my jacket to get my phone out of my pocket so I could click away – and get frostbite fingers. I discovered the battery drained quickly in the frosty weather – not fibbing! My little Canon Powershot, even though small, was still sometimes cumbersome to carry around. I mean, walking around with thick jackets, beanies, scarves, gloves & inner jackets – that must have been a whole extra 10 kilos I carried around. Of course it had nothing to do with scoffing my face with a few extra grams of delicious Southern German food. Nah, never!
Hubby however took more than double the quantity of pics. Anyone would think he was the blogger! I’ve decided to sneak in a few of his photos because he took some good ones. The joke’s on me, working through his photos as well.
A taste of traditional Southern German cuisine
What picture do you envisage when you hear of German cuisine? Sausages! Bratwurst, weisswurst or curry wurst and schnitzel of course. We certainly had some of those.
We sampled a whole lot more of the popular traditional dishes of Germany as we strolled around markets or frequented restaurants.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck in.
Guten apetit! (Bon Appetit)
Schweinshaxe – roasted pork knuckle – needs no introduction. We call it Eisbein and it is a firm favourite, if you like pork. This is most often served with Knödel or Semmelknoedel – potato or bread dumplings and Sauerkraut. As delicious as dumpling are, I’ve had enough of them to last me a lifetime (or until I visit Germany again).
Another firm favourite is Schnitzel. Usually you have a choice of pork or veal.
Sauerbraten, a delicious German pot roast, is marinated in vinegar or wine that has been flavoured with seasoning plus herbs and spices. A really hearty and delicious meal and so is beef cheeks.
Smaller noodles called Spätzle are often served with meat dishes but also with cheese called Käsespätzle, which is a bit like macaroni and cheese.
Although I ate some salmon, I’m sorry I didn’t have some Flammlachs in den Semmel – smoked salmon in a roll. Bratwurst or Leberkäse on a roll is great for a quick light lunch and available just about everywhere, especially at streetfood stalls.
Flamkuchen is Germany’s version of a pizza and not bad as a light meal but there is nothing quite like a Bretzel (a bready pretzel) with some of their cold meats, cheeses and pickles.
I was astounded by the amount of roast duck on the menu. It is one of my favourites and I couldn’t let the opportunity go by without tasting it. The best I tasted was the crispy duck with a mango, coconut curry sauce at a Himalayan restaurant. We also sampled their steamed and fried dumplings, not your typical German dish of course. It was a lovely break from German cuisine.
Hope I’ve got you salivating!
Hat es geschmeckt? Did it taste well? This was a typical question when our plates were cleared from the table.
Drinks or beverages – Bier und Glühwein.
Some people consider beer a food but what about Glühwein?
What do Germans like drinking the most? Beer of course! (or is it Glühwein?) They are known for their variety of beers such as Dunkel, Weissbier or Pilsners and many more. As I’ve mentioned before in other blogs, I don’t usually drink beer unless of course it’s a Guinness in Ireland or as of lately, a Dunkel Weissbier in Germany. Invariably someone had to help me finish it though. If I didn’t feel like beer or wine, I occasionally had a Radler which is a shandy. Wine, even by the glass, is too expensive for someone like me to enjoy, coming from a country that produces fantastic wines.
At the Christmas markets copious amounts of Glühwein were drunk by everyone (except of course the kids who had alkoholfreie Früchtepunsch or hot chocolate). Glühwein seemed to be consumed like a staple food. There were various flavours, readymade, bought in bottles and others homemade just like Oma used to make. Some were cherry flavoured and others spicier. Some were sickly sweet and others very pleasant. It seemed like we had copious amounts, although probably not that much but I think I’ve had my fill of mulled wine for a while.
On one occasion I forced down an Eierpunsch – a bit like eggnog. Glad I tried it, but it’s not for my palate. I was too chicken to try a Feuerzangenbowle though – a rum soaked sugar cube, set alight and resting on the side of a goblet, dripping into warm mulled wine. I believe that has quite a kick too.
Snacks and sweet treats – astronomically gastronomic
What’s a meal without finishing it off with something sweet? A few were enjoyed with a cup of tea during the day as well. Most of these are also found in street stalls or at Christmas markets.
Stollen is as far as I’m concerned synonymous with German Christmas. We had a delicious one with the marzipan spread throughout the dough. Stollen also often has a roll of marzipan in the centre of the fruit loaf, but with it spread throughout the stollen, in my opinion, tastes far better.
A great snack is Brandte mandler – roasted, candied almonds. Another firm favourite of mine.
We’d never had Maroni – roasted chestnuts - so of course we had to try them. There are numerous streetfood stalls throughout Munich, and I’m sure the rest of Germany. It’s an acquired taste and not my favourite, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to taste them.
Apfelstrudel with cream or ice cream and crêpes filled with melted Nutella are also well known but have you had a Kaiserschmarm? Those are delicious. The direct translation is Emperor’s Mess. It is a fluffy, light pancake with roasted almonds or fruit such as raisins, then chopped up or shredded, sprinkled with more nuts, icing sugar and usually served with apple puree, or berry compotes.
Along with Stollen and other beautifully baked Christmas cookies or biscuits, Lebkuchen is another delightful treat to enjoy. Lebkuchen is something that I’m quite accustomed to. Over the years we’ve been given many a variety which was usually mass produced but still delicious. Until you’ve tried home baked lebkuchen… divine!
A word of warning: If you suffer from Type 2 diabetes, I think you’d have a hard time eating out in Germany or you could just do a whole lot more walking because you’d be tempted to try many of these delicious gastronomic delights. You’d also not find a huge selection of vegetables on the menu. Before you go into a panic, there are some unique boutique type cafes and restaurants where they serve different cuisine. I had a delicious pumpkin, orange and ginger soup in one and we had a variety of tasty wholesome salads in another.
Now I’ve got my own taste buds going with that culinary recollection. Maybe I should book a plane ticket back to Germany…
Have you had popular German food, in Germany or elsewhere? Let me know in the comments below.