Germans usually get a bad rap for their food as being flavourless, fattening, or just plain boring and many people think it’s all about the wurst. Sure, this place boasts over 1500 different kinds of sausages but in the Bavarian region lots of other dishes crafted from age old home recipes are some of the coziest comfort food you’ll find. I discovered there really is more to Germans than their wieners. Guten Appetit!
Like the French, Germans take their bread seriously and every bakery storefront window is filled with tons of fresh, fluffy buns! They only eat the healthiest, highest quality bread usually using whole grains, little sugar, and no preservatives all baked in stone ovens. Fibre-rich roggenmischbrot or rye bread is most popular and, next to a bowl of soup, you’ll often get a couple of slices for dipping, instead of the Western option of salty white crackers.
This is like my grandma’s house on a cold winter day! German goulash soup is a mish mash of cubed stew meat, beans, cooked vegetables, in a beef or tomato-based broth and tons of flavour. This dish is popular around the holidays but I could curl up to it all year-round.
Germans love their meat (they’re the highest consumers of meat in Europe) and meatballs are the epitome of good old-fashioned German comfort food. They vary from region to region but in the south I found these huge balls of ground beef smothered in creamy mushroom sauce, melted strings of gooey cheese, and sautéed potatoes. This one goes down easy!
Crispy breaded veal or pork cutlets are a signature dish throughout Germany. Each region serves up their own variation with beef, pork, or chicken but the original is wiener schnitzel and there is actually a law that says you must use veal to call it that. No matter the variation, it is thinly pounded, cooked to golden brown, and leaving no part of the centre plate exposed. The perfect schnitzel is not too thick, too bready, too soggy or swamped in too much gloopy gravy.
There’s nothing like walking through the old town chewing on soft, doughy, salted, twisty bread that you can get for less than €.70. Bretzelns (pretzels) are an any-time snack. I’ve seen Germans munch these on the train in the early morning or in the town squares as an evening snack. Pretzels are formed by hand but bakers spend years perfecting the oddly shaped loop they’re known for. Each region has their own slight variations of the pretzel shape but in Bavaria the ends are much shorter and during Oktoberfest they’re the size of your head. On January 1st, it is German tradition to give them away to family and friends, as a symbol of good luck for the new year.
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