Food & Drink of Germany

January 13, 2015

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When your near neighbours include France, Italy, Spain and Belgium, you can probably be forgiven for fading into the background when it comes to famous cuisine. Such is the case with Germany, whose contribution to the worlds of food and drink has been overshadowed by its famous neighbours, despite producing some fantastic dishes and drinks in its own right.

Let’s not forget that this is the country which has inspired the hamburger, the frankfurter and black forest gateau.

One of Germany’s most famous food exports is bratwurst, a pan-fried or grilled sausage made of pork, veal or beef. There are a said to be over 50 different recipes and styles of bratwurst, but the most popular and common are the Franconian varieties, which are often served as a pub snack with sauerkraut and a bread roll.

Shortly after World War 2, Herta Heuwer – who owned a fast food kiosk in West Berlin – began experimenting with ketchup and curry powder as a sauce for bratwurst. This led to the creation of currywurst, which has gone on to become one of Germany’s most popular takeaway dishes, sold most commonly from stalls in Berlin.

In his world-famous speech at the Berlin Wall, President Kennedy famously declared “ich bin ein Berliner”. Little did he know that “ein Berliner” is also the name of a popular jelly doughnut dessert sold in Germany. Berliners are not the country’s only famous desserts, as carrot cake and cheese cake were both invented in Germany too, as well as marzipan, speculoo biscuits and the aforementioned black forest gateau.

If there’s one thing that the Germans famously do better than anywhere else in the world, it’s beer. The Germans drink more beer per capita than anywhere else in the world, except for their neighbours the Czech Republic and Austria, so it’s fair to say they know how to enjoy it. Pilsners are the most common German beers, taking up around 2/3rd of the market, and will certainly be the beers most familiar to Brits thanks to the popularity of Becks and other German brands. In September and October of each year, Bavaria holds the world-famous Oktoberfest beer festival, which attracts tourists from all over the world to come and drink their steins of Marzen beer as the oompah bands play.

It’s not all about beer in Germany, however, and the wine regions in the Rhine and Moselle valleys produce some of the finest wine in Europe, mostly dry white wines from the Riesling grape, but red wines are also available.

So if you’re after a culinary holiday which is a break from the norm, be sure you don’t overlook Germany, grab some currywurst and fries, washed down with a refreshing helles lager, and you’ll wonder why you ever went anywhere else.

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