Cured meats and sausages, dense dark breads, sauerkraut and beer: these hallmarks of traditional German cuisine. Black Forest cake, the Fraakfurter, the Berliner doughnut… Germany is a country of many culinary traditions.
Like many great European cuisines, German cooking is at its heart rural and peasant.
Goose liver and coq au vin share the menu with potatoes and grilled pork. Fish is a staple of the north. The Hanseatic port cities made their fortunes from herrings. Further north, on the Baltic Sea coast, smoked whole sprats are the Scandinavian-style specialty.
Traditional German Food
Meat, and particularly pig, is the national staple in German Cuisine, consumed in hearty variations of braised and roasted cuts.
Germany national dish is Sauerbraten (literally, sour roast). The ingredients of the sweet-and-sour marinade vary by region.
German bread is very popular and divers. Many German breads include rye flour, which has low levels of gluten and dense texture. Those most emphatically German are the Schwarzbrot – darker, rye-dominated bread that can be stored for long periods without going stale.
The food most identified with Germany is the humble sausage. There are more than 1500 different varieties on offer. Within the three broad types of wurst – Bruhwurst (scalded or parboiled sausage, like the Frankfurter), Kochwurst (fully cooked sausage, such as blood or liver sausage) and Rohwurst (raw cured sausage like Mettwurst) – there’s a dizzying array of regional variation.
Beer was a part of German Cuisine as early as 800 BC, and the country has one of the world’s proudest beer traditions – and some of its best beers.
Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte: the Black Forest cake. Lofty with layers of chocolate cake, lavished with fresh cream and cherries between the layers, boozy with the strong Kirschwasser (cherry schnapps) made in the Black Forest that gives the cake its name and, finally, topped with more cherries and chocolate shavings.