Monday, December 21, 2015

Das German Food

I pretty much travel through food.  Therefore my chubby, long-winded ass is going to get right down to the good stuff.

Wiener Schnitzel


Arguably the most German dish there is...from Austria.  Not the first time that's happened (Hitler) - ha!  A thin piece of meat (in my experience indistinguishable what type of meat) crumbed and fried.  Served with fries and a side salad to create the illusion of health.

Käsespätzle 


Spätzle are egg noodles, often served as a side dish.  Here they're served with cheese and caramelized onions, cat nip for me, making it probably my favorite dish of the whole trip.  When in Dresden I highly, highly recommend the hip but hole-in-the-wall restaurant Lila Soße (fear not, they do have a few menus in English).

Mettbrötchen


Minced, raw pork on bread sprinkled with raw onions.  I can't wrap my head around raw mammal meat so Martin had this while I had a dish that was slightly more palatable.  I did have a bite, though, and can see why people love it.  Very popular in Hamburg.  I even saw kids going to town on this!

Labskaus


Not to be confused with Norwegian lapskaus (meat and potato stew).  Under that egg is minced meat, cooked this time, and a side dish of gherkins (pickles) and picked herring.  I think this is special to the seaside north of Germany and not widely eaten elsewhere.

Currywurst


Pretty simple concept.  Sausage + ketchup + curry powder = drunk food.  Actually one could argue that this, not schnitzel, is the most German dish there is.  Originated in Berlin but now ubiquitous throughout the country.

Nuremberg Bratwurst+ Apfelschorle


This right here is a 3 lunch.  The sausages are white before you cook them and we often had them for breakfast (German breakfast is a meat feast, perhaps this is why I'm the shortest girl around when with my German lady friends).  The drink is a beloved soft drink that is apple juice mixed with sparkling water.  A must try when in Nuremberg, a cheap local delicacy!

Pfefferlinge


Seasonal mushrooms that were all the rage when I was there in August.  Only later did I translate the word and realize these are chantarelle mushrooms.  They were delish served over a bed of spätzle!


Mirabelle


Another seasonal product that was in full force while I was there.  It's a plum that you can eat or, as my travel partner Sabrina took advantage of at every opportunity, make into a drink.  She was aghast that I had never heard of these things before.  Apparently they're beloved by Das Germans.

Dark German bread


I am in love with German bread.  It's so dark that it borders on healthy (I am of the 'bread makes you fat' frame of mind) and it's delicious.  There's so much you can slather on top of it, and I tried hard to reach my goal of eating dark bread every day while I was there.

Schweinshaxe


A.k.a. pork knuckle a.k.a. ham hock, another contender for most German dish there is.  It's served with a dumpling that looks like a potato, but is not a potato, but is made out of potato (got that?).  And sauerkraut, of course.  Another restaurant recommendation in Dresden: Watzke was great and super popular with tourists and locals alike. 

Happy to be in Dresden eating a pork knuckle
Gulasch


Not really German, more Eastern European, but anywhere there's cold, miserable weather there is a meat stew to be found.  It was quite the opposite of cold in August, but the misery remained.  OMG it's called air conditioning, people!

Sauerbraten


"How about we soak some meat in vinegar?" somebody at some point asked.  For as heinous as that sounds it's really not bad!  Marinating in vinegar tenderizes the meat and adds a slightly acidic flavor.  Here are those funky not-potato dumplings again!

Pfunds Molkerei



Pfunds Dairy: the Guinness Book of World Records has declared this place the most beautiful dairy shop in the world, because that is somehow a category.  This place really is beautiful!  So beautiful, in fact, that you aren't allowed to take pictures.  Oops!

I'll save you from having to Google for better pictures by linking to the image search here.  I paid 1 for a tiny glass of milk, which was a lot considering the size.  I can't quite say it was the best milk I've ever tasted, but it was well worth the over inflated price.  Delicious!

Apfelstrudel


I ate a surprisingly small number of desserts in Germany (for shame), but I had to get in at least one apple strudel.  This was at one of the cafes frequented only by old ladies, so once again Sabrina and I found ourselves in the company of the geriatric!  

Ridiculously cheap booze


Seriously, it never fails to astound me how cheap alcohol is in Germany.  And how accessible it is!  These less than 2 bottles were available at every grocery store in the country.  If you want to take that bottle onto a park bench and drink the whole thing, by all means go right ahead.  It's the polar opposite drinking culture from Norway where people have to be protected from themselves through severely restricted access and price gouging.  Look. At. Those. Prices! 

Another thing that fascinated me is the bottle return phenomenon.  Not the return-bottles-for-a-few-cents system, that's pretty standard.  It's who is returning those bottles that is fascinating to me.  In Norway homeless people rifle through trash to find discarded bottles to reap the profit.  In Germany totally normal people do it.  People who don't appear outwardly homeless or poor dig through garbage in the hopes of making 10 cents, more often than not leaving empty handed.  Really?!  Yes, really.

All the Germans just seemed to accept that as fact, that their (perfectly normal) fellow countrymen dig through trash bins in search of a few pennies.  Nothing out of the ordinary about it.  Given how accepted this is, I found this to be exceptionally smart and dignified:



I only saw it in Cologne (conveniently where we did our finest drinking in public) but I think countries that do paid bottle return should implement this system.  Surely people digging through trash is a public health hazard, and this is an easy way to remedy that.  Throwing a little dignity towards people who dumpster dive surely is a good thing.

I aimed to eat ALL the traditional German food while I was there, but my travel partner Sabrina tells me that it is not something young people normally eat.  Which I think is a shame! Food is culture, and it would be sad for that to die off with the older generations.  But I think there'll always be tourists like myself who want to sample the old timey, traditional cuisine so they'll keep on making it.  Even if the youths want to eat McDonald's (damn youths).  

I'm not joking when I say most of what I do while traveling is eat.  I do other stuff, too, of course but the highlight?  That's local cuisine...in mass quantities!  

Here ends my foodie tour of Germany, and my blogging recaps that took a ridiculous amount of time to complete.  I hope you have enjoyed wandering with me through my beloved countries of Norway and Germany!






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