Currywurst. Some like it hot.
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A taste of Germany.

Beer and bratwurst are of course an integral part of the country's festivals and public holidays. But they're just one small part of all the pleasures on offer. Take yourself on a culinary tour of discovery through Germany. You'll be amazed at the diversity of delicacies and taste experiences you'll encounter.

Döppekuchen is a typical dish from the Eifel region , traditionally made with grated potato, bacon and onion. These ingredients are based on the recipe for kartoffelpuffer (potato fritters), though the people of the Eifel were the first in Germany to do away with the time-consuming process of frying the batter. Instead they pour the mixture into a cast-iron pot (a döppe in the local dialect) and bake it in the oven like a cake ( kuchen ).

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The welfenspeise dessert was first made by a Hanoverian chef for the bicentenary of the House of Guelph's ascension to the throne. Its yellow and white represent the Guelph's family colours. This two-layered dessert of vanilla custard and wine syllabub is said to have been Elector Ernst August's favourite sweet. Today welfenspeise can be found on the menu in many restaurants and is a firm favourite at family celebrations in and around Hannover .

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The weisswurst sausage is one of Bavaria's best-known specialities. It is made of veal and pork and is flavoured with onions and fresh parsley. The sausages, warmed through in hot water, are traditionally eaten in the morning, and are best served with sweet mustard, freshly baked pretzels and Bavarian beer – and best enjoyed in one of Bavaria's many beer gardens, of course. Aficionados suck the meat straight out of its casing. Only the uninitiated use a knife and fork.

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A total of 13 wine-growing regions gives Germany its diverse range of wines. The most scenic is the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley, home of the Loreley rock, while Rheinhessen is the largest. Both these regions are set within Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany's number one wine-producing region with a total of six distinct vineyard areas. It is here that the German Wine Queen is crowned at the annual German Grape Harvest Festival. Every year since 1950 these young German women have been selected to represent the nation's wines around the globe for a twelve-month term.

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The recipe for Thuringian bratwurst , as enjoyed by Goethe, is 600 years old. But aside from the pork, marjoram, caraway and garlic, the full recipe remains a closely guarded secret among the 3,000 or so Thuringian butchers. All we do know is that the sausages have to be cooked over hot charcoal and weigh around 150g. Thuringia's ultimate fast food simply has to be accompanied by authentic Thuringian mustard. At Germany's first bratwurst museum, in Arnstadt, you can see the earliest known documentation of bratwurst , which dates from 1404.

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These large, perfectly rounded potato dumplings have been enjoyed by the people of Thuringia for many generations. Authentic Thuringian kartoffelklösse are unmistakeable, consisting of raw grated potato and cooked mashed potato wrapped around a centre of crunchy croutons. The dumpling factory in Heichelheim has recently opened a dumpling-themed attraction, Thüringer Klosswelt. This fun exhibition on the history of dumplings and potatoes features a factory shop, a dumpling snack bar and even a walk-in dumpling!

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To this day it remains customary to offer tea to visitors in East Friesland – always served with a piece of rock sugar and a spoonful of cream. Then all you need to drink it is a steady hand, because genuine East Frisian tea must be neither stirred, nor shaken. Only then can you appreciate all three stages of this teatime delight: mild and creamy to start, bitter in the middle with a sweet, sugary finish. For an introduction to the East Frisian tea ceremony, head to the Tea Museum in Norden or any of the charming little cafés along the coast.

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A vine wreath, or rebenkranz , hanging over the entrance to a winegrowing estate is a sign that the winegrower has opened a seasonal wine room, or strausswirtschaft . For four months of the year, he can sell his own wine by the glass. First introduced twelve centuries ago in the time of Charlemagne, this Rhineland-Palatinate tradition is as popular with locals as it is with tourists. In the Moselle area, favourite snacks to go with the wine include buffets and cheese boards as well as classic local fare such as Handkäs mit Musik (small marinated cheeses). Or you can enjoy spundekäs seasoned cream cheese in Rheinhessen or saumagen sausage in the Palatinate.

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Germany inspires

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