In other countries, German food often has a reputation for consisting of large amounts of red meat, simply cooked. While it is true that red meat dishes, especially beef and pork, but also game (including wild boar, venison and rabbit), are popular in Germany, there is much more to German cuisine than simply roasted meat. Additionally, Germany has an international reputation for its sausages – and there are an incredible choice of sausages available – at least 1,500 varieties!
Traditionally in Germany, people eat a fairly light breakfast (German: frühstück) which may include breads and some meats (such as salted meats like salami, ham, or meat spreads such as leberwurst), a fairly light evening meal (German: abendessen or abendbrot), and have their main meal at lunch (German: mittagessen). Sometimes, a “second breakfast” (German: zweites frühstück) also be eaten during mid-morning, and because of modern working patterns is quite common now for the day’s main hot meal to be eaten in the evening instead of at lunchtime.
Here are some popular German dishes:
– Blood sausage (German: Blutwurst) – A sausage made from blood, meat and barley (similar to English black pudding). Blutwurst is often made from fatty pork meat with cow’s blood, but in the Rhineland area, horse meat with is traditional. A popular variation is “zungenwurst” which includes pickled pig’s tongue in the sausage mix. Although the sausages are ready cooked and ready to eat, blutwurst is almost always heated and served hot.
– Weißwürste – White sausages made from pork fat. Originally from Munich (German: München), this dish is often eaten as part of “second breakfast” (German: zweites frühstück).
– Frankfurter sausage – A sausage made with smoked pork. While it is eaten hot with bread and mustard, it is not exactly the same as the American “frankfurter” sausage.
– Bratwurst – Bratwurst are a popular variety of sausages made from pork or beef (or sometimes veal), and normally eaten hot with mustard and ketchup. Bratwurst is also used as an ingredient for some other dishes; for example, currywurst is made by slicing bratwurst and dipping the slices into a tomato-based curry sauce.
– Sauerkraut – Finely sliced cabbage, fermented in an airtight container. It can be eaten as a relish, dressed with oil and onions as a salad, heated and served hot, or used as ingredient in other dishes.
– Schupfnudeln – Sauerkraut cooked with potato noodles.
– Spätzle – The German version of noodles. A simple dough is made from flour, eggs and salt, and it is then cooked in boiling water. Spätzle is often eaten as a side dish with meat, but may also be used as an ingredient in other dishes too.
– Linsen, spätzle und saitenwürstle – Spätzle cooked with lentils and frankfurter-style sausages.
– Kässpätzle – Spätzle mixed with grated cheese and fried onions, then fried or baked.
– Krautspätzle – A cooked mixture of spätzle, sauerkraut, onions and butter.
– Gaisburger marsch – A traditional beef stew, contained cubes of beef, potatoes and spätzle. The stew is topped with onions fried in butter.
– Eisbein – Braised leg of pork, served with gravy, klöße and sauerkraut. In Berlin, eisbein is cooked with pea puree.
– Labskaus (also known as “Lapskaus”) – Corned beef boiled in broth, and then minced with beetroot, onion, potatoes, and herring or ham, and finally fried in lard. Traditionally accompanied with rollmops (pickled fillets of herring).
– Hasenpfeffer – A stew made from marinated rabbit meat, with a sour taste created by adding wine or vinegar.
– Schwenker – Grilled pork steaks, prepared with a marinade of onions and spices.
– Saumagen – Translated literally, saumagen means “sow’s stomach”. It is probably best understood as being the (rough) German equivalent of haggis. Basically pork or beef with onions, carrots and a variety of spices and flavors is cooked in pig’s stomach. It should be noted that the stomach itself is not eaten, but is just used as a casing when cooking. The usual accompaniments are mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.
– Klöße – Traditional German dumplings made from grated potato or dried bread, with milk and egg yolk. In Bavaria and Austria, it known as “knödel” or “knödeln”.
– Schwarzwälder kirschtorte – Known as “Black Forest gateau in the United Kingdom, and “Black Forest Cake” the United States, Canada and Australia – Layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and cherries between each layer. The cake is then decorated with more whipped cream as well as maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings. In Germany, kirschwasser (a clear brandy made from cherries) is traditionally used in making the cake, although in other countries this is frequently substituted (for example, in Austria, rum is often used instead), or omitted entirely.
– Stollen – A bread-like fruitcake with citrus peel, dried fruit, almonds and spices, often eaten at Christmas. The most famous variety is Dresden Stollen from the city of Dresden, which is marked with a special stamp, and only available from 150 bakers.
– Lebkuchen – Cookies made from gingerbread, also often eaten during the Christmas period.