German food is not all about Sauerkraut, sausages and pretzels! Instead, German cuisine can be largely divided into its regions which each have developed their own specialties and style. The coastal areas feature many recipes with salt-water fish such as herring. Different meat products, like sausages, Braten (roasts) and fresh-water fish are dominant in the South, East and West. Common to all regions throughout Germany is the love of bread, root vegetables, diverse choice of cabbage, large variety of Teigwaren (pasta dishes) and dumplings, Eintöpfe (stews) and, of course, potatoes.
Potatoes were traditionally used in German cuisine after World War II as a simple way to provide nutrients. They come in various styles as potato fritters, boiled or baked, as a gratin or an ingredient to stews and dumplings. Bread-varieties are found in Germany which are mostly unknown in other parts of the world. From light white bread to sourdough and rye breads, you can pick from more than 300 kinds. A special favorite is Pumpernickel, a dark, grainy whole-wheat bread originated in Westphalia. Also very typical for Germany is the salty pretzel. You can find it in the south among crispy rolls of all shapes. Rolls are a favorite on breakfast tables everywhere in the country.
Each region in Germany is home to special sausages. There are more than 550 types of raw sausage such as salami or soft smoked sausage. And then blanched sausages like the Frankfurter, Bockwurst and Weisswurst and finally, cooked sausages such as liver wurst, not to forget the grilled specialties like Thüringer Rostbratwurst. Even though Germany is known for its traditional hearty fare, these dishes by far are not all the German cuisine has to offer. A strong organic movement, European fusion and new, young chefs add a light and sophisticated twist to regional dishes. Restaurants in Germany have more than their fair share of Michelin stars.
To accompany all the fine foods, Germany is also well known for its choice of beverages. Beer lovers can choose between 5,000 types coming from more than 1,200 breweries. Almost 2,000 years ago, the Romans brought wine to Germany. In general, German wines from the 13 different wine growing regions can be distinguished by their fruity acidity and a wide range of wonderful scents. The choice of high-proof spirits also depends on the region: Kirschwasser is served with ham in the Black Forest, and Enzian (herbal liqueur) is very well suited with a hearty snack in the South. In Berlin, a Doppelkorn goes with a knuckle of pork while in the North people enjoy to drink it with a beer. Schnapps is always appropriate in any region, whether clear or colored, bitter or sweet, it can be used as an aperitif, an after-dinner drink or simply when you feel like it. The typical measure is a shot glass-size.
When following your German roots, your experience should include all senses. Take a German culinary tour of typical regional cuisine! From hearty to sweet, great grandma's recipes or traditional holiday dishes, here you can find your favorite treat.