There’s a lot of love flowing around for German beer, but traditional Deutschland dishes generally has a bad rap as a bland, stodgy and overly filling sausage-and-sauerkraut cuisine. While it might not be as high-falutin’ as French fare or as varied as Italian cuisine, but German cookery has a lot of flair and robust charm that appeals to diverse palates. Here are some classic gastronomic treats that should make the menu on any culinary journey across Germany, inlcuding Berlin!
Currywurst with Pommes (that’s local for french fries) by Jessica Spengler
Everyone has different priorities when they travel, right? For some it’s the history, and they traipse from building to building in fascination (and when I say “some”, I am talking about myself). For others it’s the nightlife – getting a take on modern life today in that destination. Some people like finding cheap, local libation. But a very popular one is the “food-travel” option. For some, you haven’t experienced a place until you’ve eaten the weirdest thing on their menu, whether it was last eaten for pleasure 600 years ago or not. If you’re one of those people, this list might whet your appetite for Germany.
Currywurst – Let’s start with a big national favourite, shall we? Of course sausage is popular in Berlin (book a hotel in Berlin here), we all know that – cue the thousands of sausage jokes. But currywurst takes it one step further: As the name suggests, the boiled or roast pork sausage gets a little addition – of curry, and then a whole bunch of ketchup. Mmm, curried ketchup on sausage. But they really do eat it like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s almost always bought from street vendors, so as a traveller this is a great opportunity to literally eat like the locals do. And there’re loads of these stalls, so you should never lack for opportunity. But the cool aspect to this is that often vendors have a little machine into which you put the sausage, and it comes out miraculously hot, spicy and all sliced up for you to sink your teeth into (cue even more sausage jokes). Is that not German efficiency at its peak?!
An impressive Eisbein by Seph Swain
Schlachteplatte – A brilliant choice if you’re mooching around the city (popular on the Munich hotel scene) with a group of friends, this one. It is, essentially, a humongous plate of meat-and-carb to warm you up. It takes the form of masses of sauerkraut (that’s the shredded cabbage pickled in lactic acid that tastes a lot nicer than it either sounds or looks from which Germans earned the nickname “kraut”), potato dumplings and then every kind of meat conceivable – the name translates directly to “Butcher’s Plate”. A great sharing choice that you can all dig into.
Eisbein – No, I wasn’t going to leave this one out. It’s the most obvious image that jumps into most minds when talking about German food: the knuckle of cured pork. Sitting there on your plate, you might think there’s a little too much fat, gristle and bone for comfort, but you would be wrong – it is braised (or cooked in some other fashion) for a long time, and by the time it’s done, it’s falling apart in your mouth and absolutely delicious. It’s cured, as well, so it’s particularly flavoursome – British lovers of bacon and sausage are going to love it, but many of them will never agree they can beat typical English breakfast served in top London hotels. That is indeed one big hunk of meat, and it’s going to fill you up for the rest of the day – particularly since it comes with the requisite sauerkraut and potato. Are you seeing a theme, here?
Pfannkuchen by Gilly
Pfannkuchen – Let’s finish on a sweet one. Say “pfannkuchen” out loud. Got it? In case your linguistic brain isn’t engaged, allow me to point out that it’s very similar to “pancake”, and indeed we’re really topping off the North European meat-and-stodge fest here. The sweet treats of Germany tend to be rather heavy, but very delicious, and pfannkuchen is no exception. It’s a fried, sweet doughnut filled with jam (or some variation) and topped with sugar. But the best aspect of this is that the filling is added by way of a big syringe. Fantastically medical. Apparently it’s the height of humour in Berlin to fill these with mustard by way of a joke, so be careful if you’re with German friends (a street vendor is, let’s face it, unlikely to pull that kind of thing on you). Look out for these especially in festival/carnival seasons – that’s when they’re most popular. Hotels in Frankfurt seem to have excellent pfannkuchen in their menus, however for even sweater adventure, think about a skiing holiday to Austria. After a long day on the slopes sweets are allowed in larger amounts and their taste in clean Alpine air is unforgettable.
Situated in the western part of Austrian Tyrol, the small and charming town of Fiss is little known and peaceful, but, though, providing splendid skiing area and perfectly equipped modern infrastrucure. Fiss is situated at just 20 minutes from Landeck city in Western Austria. The town is linked with a common lift pass with the neighbor resorts of Serfaus – the sunniest spot in Tyrol, and Ladis, thus forming a vast skiable area and an adorable resort ensemble of peace and hospitality. The Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis region assures 160 km of asking slopes perfectly catering for intermediates and great time for ski serfaus Austria. Great nursery runs and gentle slopes could also be found in Fiss and especially on the plateau at Serfaus. 15% of the pistes in Fiss are great for advanced skiers and a tremendous off-piste is found in the area for skiing and boarding freaks to enjoy. Snowboarding is catered for with a snow park and a half-pipe. The region is characterized of singular beauty, which makes country skiing more delightful along the 111 km of marked mountain trails. For snow addicts there is a myriad of opportunities to enjoy winter under the Tyrolean sun – 80 km of winter hiking paths, ice-skating, sleigh-riding and romantic walks in the depths of the mountain heart. Having sunshine is great, but still bringing some weak points – snow is generally reliable, but sometimes insufficient when March comes, so 44% of the terrain is equipped with snow-making facilities.
Apres-ski is traditional and relatively calm in Fiss, but it’s better for you and your family to make a hotel reservation in fiss before arriving there. The town offers small restaurants on the slopes and downtown as well as charming mountain huts around. Nightlife is calm too, but wilder fun could be found in Serfaus with its two nightclubs. The town is predominantly a family destination, with special care taken for children with entertaining programs organized for them.