German cuisine is as varied as Germany’s regions. Accompany us on a culinary journey through the country and indulge with us in typical German specialties.
Internationally, typical German food is often considered particularly hearty and meat-heavy. Especially in Anglo-American countries, sauerkraut is typically German – the Germans are accordingly the “Krauts”. But besides pork knuckle on sauerkraut, Germany is famous for its almost unique variety of breads and sausages. It is also famous around the world German wines, Lübeck marzipan, Dresden stollen or the pretzel.
German cuisine in the north
Of course, fish and seafood such as cod, herring, flounder, crabs, mussels, mackerel, plaice and pikeperch have a preferred position in the country’s food culture in the north. Special specialties are still:
- the smoked eel, which you can buy almost every day in spring and summer from one of the smokers and small vending vehicles set up everywhere.
- the garfish, which are only available briefly from late May to June. This fish really has grass-green bones and has frightened or frightened many a landlocker.
- The sprat is also a delicacy from the sea. The smoked little silver fish has been in great demand as “Kiel Sprat” for centuries.
The fish from rivers and lakes also make the hearts of gourmets beat faster. There are eels, perch, bream, pike, carp, roach and pikeperch that are simply delicious fried, steamed or smoked.
Between the seas you can enjoy tender dyke lamb, Holstein ham, spicy Holtsee cheese, strong stews, kale, beans or thick grits. In the Geest kitchens there was buckwheat groats, barley groats, barley barley, milk, bacon and bread.
Chicken soup and dumplings with or without bacon, currants and / or raisins, pork cheek and round sausage were the main dishes here. In East Frisia, a stew called “Updrögt beans” is a national dish. These include potatoes, streaky bacon, pee sausages, and dried green beans or beans. We continue to the Oldenburger Land and there you will encounter the most famous vegetable in Lower Saxony, the kale, which is also known regionally as brown cabbage. Game and wild birds are also eaten in the north, wild boar, stag and roe deer are always in season on the menus. But seasonal products are also popular, so the asparagus should definitely not be missing in spring. Regional cuisine loves the sweet and sour versions of many dishes: Dried fruits such as raisins and prunes are often combined with pork and the roast goose cannot do without them.
German cuisine in the south
In the south you can find everything your heart desires: from the hearty, down-to-earth cuisine to the sophisticated, top-class refined menu. While the Swabian food culture is on everyone’s lips throughout Germany with its rustic dishes such as Maultaschen or the sweet and sour potato salad, Baden cuisine was shaped more by neighboring France, which has developed into a real gourmet region.
The specialties range from Baden asparagus to lentils and spaetzle, Baden-style saddle of venison, Lake Constance, Kratzete, Swabian potato salad, cider soup, onion roast beef, Gaisburger Marsch, the famous Black Forest ham, oven slippers, cherry plotzer and Black Forest cake, which is probably the most famous specialty. It consists of shortcrust pastry, chocolate sponge cake, morello cherries, kirsch, sugar, whipped cream, butter cream and candied cherries. A very special specialty is the onion cake, which is eaten with the new wine in autumn. For this, a shortcrust or sourdough is topped with cooked, chopped onions and caraway seeds, baked in the oven and served very hot. Hearty dishes are particularly popular in Bavaria: meat dishes such as roast pork or roast pork, but also stews and snacks.
Dishes of the west
In the southern Palatinate, the cuisine is less hearty. The onion plays an important role here, there are garden snails, chestnuts and tarte flambée. Incidentally, the Roman snails were destroyed as vermin for a long time and only included in the menu due to the influence of French cuisine.
At the top of the list of the most popular dishes are hearty vegetable stews, e.g. the Schnippelbohnensuppe, the dishes “Broad beans with bacon”, “Himmel und Äad”, Rhenish mussels and not to forget the Rhenish sauerbraten, which can be found on almost every menu. This is actually more original and “real” made from horse meat, but fortunately for horse lovers, it is rarely served this way today.
The traditional Palatinate cuisine has a lot to offer, including a range of sausage specialties such as liver sausage, black pudding or bratwurst. A particular specialty of the Palatinate people are the steamed noodles, either sweet with wine foam cream or hearty with potato soup. Potatoes are popular in the west, what the Hoorige Knepp (Palatine potato dumplings) are in the Palatinate, the Döppekooche and the Rivkuche are in the Rhineland.
German cuisine in the east
As in other regions of Germany, the cuisine of the Harz region is shaped by traditions and recipes that have been passed on over many generations. The Harz cuisine is strong, hearty and a mixture of Lower Saxon, Silesian and Thuringian influences; from this many specialties have developed, which are reflected in the menus of the Anhalt restaurants.
Brown trout are particularly popular. Another very special specialty from the Harz region is the “Harzer cheese” – lovers of this aromatic specialty eat it with onions and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper on freshly baked bread with goose or pork lard.
The “Magdeburger Börde” can claim to be the cradle of potato cultivation in Germany. In 1772 Frederick the Great ordered the cultivation of the potato by decree. It goes without saying that there are still plenty of potato dishes in this area – from hearty / hearty to fine and tender.
However, a pork dish is famous: “Pottsuse” – lard. In the Anhaltinian area, where Martin Luther was at home, the simple regional cuisine of housewives is still preferred, but they also understand how to bring culinary delicacies to the table, dishes with zerbster asparagus, Dessau bacon cakes and Bernburg onion meat are just a few examples.
Another specialty is the “Salzwedeler Baumkuchen”. This pastry has been baked for a long time, but it was not mentioned in a document until 1843 on the occasion of a visit by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV.