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Food and Drink

Germany - Food and Drink

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Food in Germany is varied, with a mixture of strongly traditional dishes and multicultural influences. Throughout Germany you can find food from all different parts of the world, and Turkish food is particularly common due to the large number of Turkish immigrants living in Germany. Traditional German food though is mainly made up of heavy, hearty meals. The national dish of Germany is often considered to be Sauerbraten – a pot roast that can be made from the meat of your choice, marinated in wine and spices. Other popular German foods are sausages, eaten with mustard and bread, cabbage (often boiled in vinegar to make sauerkraut) and schnitzel – a thin veal or pork steak that is covered in breadcrumbs and fried. Traditional German desserts include Stollen (cake with dried fruit, nuts and spices) and Black Forest Cherry Cake (chocolate cake layered with whipped cream, cherries and Kirsch liqueur). In addition to this, every region in Germany has its own distinctive culinary specialities, partly due to the fact that Germany is bordered by nine different countries that have all influenced its food:

  • Berlin is home of the Currywurst, which is a sausage covered in curry powder and accompanied by curry sauce.
  • If you find yourself in Bavaria you will be likely to come across Weisswurst mit susser Senf which is a sausage made from veal and served with mustard. You will also find Bretzel which are salty bread sticks in the shape of pretzels.
  • The northern coast of Germany is famous for its smoked herring, which is normally eaten in a sandwich or with potatoes and vegetables.
  • Western Germany boasts the flammkuchen which is a thin flan base topped with bacon and cream.
  • In Southern Germany you will likely be served knuckle of pork with sauerkraut, red cabbage and potatoes.

Germany is particularly famous for its bread and other baked goods, which can be found all over the world. German bread is traditionally quite dark and often very healthy, made with wholemeal and seeds.

Breakfast is a popular meal in Germany, particularly on the weekends. Families may have breakfast together at home or go out for breakfast – cafes will normally serve breakfast until around 3pm on weekends. A traditional German breakfast is made up of bread, cold meats, smoked fish, cheeses, eggs, salad and yoghurt. Cereal, however, is becoming a much more popular breakfast choice due to increasingly busy lifestyles. Lunch was traditionally the main meal of the day, eaten between 12pm and 2pm, although modern lifestyles are again changing eating patterns with lunches becoming lighter and less time consuming. Many families now choose to have their evening meal as the most significant meal of the day.

Meal times in the German home are normally very casual, although there are some rules of etiquette, particularly if you’re attending a dinner party. You should not sit down until you have been invited to be seated. When eating you should hold your fork in the left hand and knife in the right, although it is acceptable to use your hands for certain items of food such as bread rolls. You are generally expected to finish eating everything on your plate, and to indicate that you have finished and have had enough food you should place the knife and fork parallel across the right side of the plate with the fork over the knife.

To raise a toast in Germany you would normally say “Zum Wohl” if you are drinking wine or “Prost” if you are drinking beer – both mean “Good health”. When dining in Germany you will normally choose to accompany your meal with a local beer (Germany is famous for its astounding number of breweries), a Riesling wine or a sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Sekt. Coffee, however, is the most popular drink in Germany and is consumed far more frequently than beer, wine or mineral water. Coffee and cake is a popular concept in Germany, particularly when entertaining guests.

Germany has a strong food production and agricultural industry, which produces edible goods for both consumption at home and exports. Organic food is popular in Germany (known as Öko) and German people often enjoy growing their own food too. There are a good range of fruit and vegetables available in Germany, and if you are in a rural area these will often be freshly picked. Throughout Germany you will find an extensive selection of high quality restaurants, including many Michelin Starred eateries.


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