German Cuisine

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007 at 12:00 am

apple strudelGermany is a country with a rich culinary history. Traditional dishes include good portions of dumplings, wurst (sausages), pastries, and most especially, beer. Different areas in Germany also have their own regional specialties along with a general set of cuisine that most Germans like to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Germans always like to begin their day with a hearty meal. A typical German breakfast usually consists of bread, toast, and/or bread rolls with jam, marmalade or honey, eggs, and strong coffee or tea along with choice deli meats such as ham, salted meats and salami usually eaten together with certain types of breads.

Germans also like to have for breakfast croissants that are filled with all kinds of sliced sausage, hot meats, pickled herring, pickles, onions and cheese. A variety of meat-based spreads such as Leberwurst which is made from liver-sausage can often be found on the German breakfast table as well along with the usual breakfast cereals such as cornflakes.

In the true traditional German sense, the main meal of the day has usually been lunch which is eaten at around noon. This is a big meal that usually begins with soup as an appetizer. It is then followed by a main course of meat or fish that is always accompanied by a serving of salad containing either lettuce, cucumber or cabbage. Afternoon coffee breaks allow an indulgence for a piece of cake, perhaps a Black Forest or cheese cake. When accompanying these pastries, coffee is always served with cream.

Dinner was always considered as a smaller meal for the typical German. It sometimes only consists of a hearty sandwich downed by beer or wine. However, this seems no longer true in many parts of Germany as well as in other parts of Europe where dining habits have drastically changed over the years, given the current circumstances.

There are many Germans today who tend to eat only a light lunch in the middle of the working day and enjoy a hot and hearty dinner during the evenings, which is often a meal made up of assorted cold meats and cheeses, accompanied by numerous kinds of breads with beer or wine as the preferred beverage.

Germany also has a number of regional dishes that are distinct to a certain area in the country. In southern Germany, especially in Bavaria & Franconia, one can feast on such hearty fare as Leberkäs which is a chilled mold of minced pork, beef, and liver. There’s also the Knödel, dumplings or soaked bread and Haxen, a dish of pork or veal trotters, most often consumed with sauerkraut.

Berlin take pride in their soups, notably Kohlsuppe or cabbage soup and Erbensuppe or pea soup that is usually along with dark bread, especially Westphalia pumpernickel. The southern region around Stuttgart are known for such dishes as Schneckensuppe or snail soup and Maultaschen or ravioli stuffed with ground meat, spinach, and calves’ brains. The favorite local dish in Stuttgart itself is Gaisburger Marsch, a German style beef stew.

The region around Hassen & Westphalia are famed for its hams. This part of Germany has Sulperknochen which is a special dish made from pigs’ feet, ears, and tail, and served traditionally with peas pudding and pickled cabbage. This region also has Tüttchen, a ragout of herb-flavored calves’ heads and calves’ brains and Pickert, which is a sweet-potato cake flavored with raisins. In the Baden-Württemberg area, a dish called Geschnetzeltes made of slices of veal in a cream sauce is widely beloved and consumed.

In eastern Germany, they have Linsensuppe mit Thüringer Rotwurst or lentil soup made with Thuringian sausages and Rinderzunge in Rosinen-Sauce or calves’ tongues in grape sauce. Kartoffelsuppe or potato soup is a favorite dish in this region. Rhineland specializes in dishes like Saumagen which is stuffed pork belly with pickled cabbage. Another beloved dish is Schweinepfeffer, a highly seasoned and spicy pork ragout thickened with pig blood. There’s also Sauerbraten, a dish of beef marinated in wine vinegar and spices.