British in Germany

Living in Germany


German Food

German cuisine is very meat oriented. 10 years ago any vegetarians had to cater for themselves or risk getting bits of bacon in everything they ordered. Things have changed since then, but the specialties remain, mostly with bits of bacon.

Culinary specialties

Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) this is traditionally an Austria dish, but you'll find it the staple pud in most restaurants in Germany. It's a type of sweet layered pastry with a filling of cooked apple inside.

Apfelwein (apple wine) is the German form of cider, produced from apples. It is also regionally known as Ebbelwoi, Äppler, Stöffche, Apfelmost (apple must), Viez (from Latin vice, the second or substitute wine), and Säurer Most (sour must). It has an alcohol content of 5.5%–7% and a tart, sour taste. The name Äppler, mainly propagated by large producers, is generally not used in restaurants or by smaller manufacturers, who instead call the beverage Schoppen or Schoppe.

Bethmännchen (a little Bethmann) is a pastry made from marzipan with almond, powdered sugar, rosewater, flour, and egg. It is usually baked for Christmas. The name comes from the family of Simon Moritz von Bethmann in Frankfurt am Main (Germany).

Frankfurters are sausages traditionally made from pork. You usually find them in hot dogs.

Frankfurter Kranz (Frankfurt crown cake) is a cake speciality from the area around Frankfurt. Shaped like a crown in a ring shape, it is filled with buttercream (sometimes jam) and topped with caramel-covered brittle nuts, called Krokant.

Frankfurter Rindswurst (Frankfurter beef sausage) was invented in 1894 by the Frankfurter butcher Gref-Völsing. It was made from 100% beef making it a sausage suitable for the large Jewish population of that time. The butcher's Gref-Völsing was in the old city, but it has been in the Hanauer Landstraße since 1913. It's usually cooked in a Bain Marie, but it can be grilled or roasted and regionally it is often served as currywurst (curry sausage) with the addition of a squirt of curry sauce.

Grüne Soße (green sauce) contains mainly herbs, in Frankfurt it's also known as Grie Soß There are two traditional types of Hessian green sauce which are popular in the Frankfurt am Main and Kassel area. The Frankfurt-style is made from hard-boiled eggs, oil (but not olive oil), vinegar, salt, and generous amount of seven fresh herbs, namely borage, sorrel, cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and burnet. Variants include dill, lovage, lemon balm and even spinach. In more frugal times, daisy leaves, broad plantain leaves, and dandelion leaves were also used. Since the sauce is mainly an emulsion of fat and egg yolk, it may be classified as a kind of mayonnaise (although common mayonnaise uses raw yolks). Today, buttermilk, sour cream ("schmand"), quark, or yogurt is often added in order to reduce the oil content of the sauce.

The green sauce typical of the city of Kassel is made with a sour cream base, and is nearly white.

The sauce is served with potatoes boiled in the skin, accompanying either hard-boiled eggs or roasted ox brisket. Hard apple Cider is a good drink to go with it. This was supposedly Goethe's favourite meal; however the legend that his mother invented it is certainly untrue.

Handkäse mit musik (hand cheese with music) is a German regional sour milk cheese (often Harzer) and is a culinary speciality of Frankfurt. It gets its name from the former way of producing it: forming it with your own hands. It is a small, translucent, yellow cheese with a pungent aroma that many people find unpleasant. It is sometimes square but more often round in shape. I actually call it "pickled cheese".

Often served as an appetiser or as a snack with Apfelwein, it is traditionally topped with chopped onions, locally known as "Handkäse mit Musik" - so called because of the sound of the resulting flatulence. It is usually eaten with Caraway seeds. Since many people in Germany do not like Caraway in a lot of areas it is served separately. Lots of Hessians say that it is a sign of quality of the location when you get your Caraway in a separate dispenser. As a sign of this, in many restaurants you will find additionally to the salt and pepper a little pot for Caraway. Hessians delight in introducing foreigners to this delicacy and explaining the name's provenance. An alternative theory of explaining "Musik" is that the vinegar and oil flasks were formerly given separately to the guests, and that when they hit each other, they made that sound.

Kochkäse (cook cheese) is just that, a kind of cooked cheese. Through a process of heating and adding baking soda you end up with a spreadable cheese. You'll often see it in restaurants in central Germany, where it's usually served with bread, salt and caraway seeds.

Rippchen mit Kraut (pork ribs with sauerkraut) is a traditional Hessian speciality, which is often offered among other things in Frankfurt apple wine restaurants. The chops are smoked and then served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.

Sauerkraut literally translates into English as sour cabbage, and that's exactly what it is; finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented (pickled). It has a long shelf-life, and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage. I've eaten it hot and cold, and I can tell you that the best way to try it is in a good German restaurant that makes its own (vom Fass). Anything else is just a commercial version.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateau) is the British English name for the southern German dessert Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (literally "Black Forest cherry cake"). The traditional cake consists of several layers of chocolate sponge, with whipped cream and cherries between each layer. Then the cake is decorated with additional whipped cream, cherries, and chocolate shavings. Most importantly Kirschwasser (a cherry liquer) is added to the cake.

Schupfnudel also known as Fingernudeln are thick noodles from southern Germany. It's made all over Germany, sometimes from wheat or rye flour, eggs and potato, they are sort of like a long kind of Gnocchi. Traditionally they are formed by hand and served with - you guessed it - sauerkraut.



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