Germany might not be known for its amazingly delicious food (probably because it’s too specific in taste) but if you do travel there, definitely try the following few things. Especially in the southern part of Germany, Bavaria, these dishes can be found in every city and even in small villages.
This dish is also a common part of East European cuisine. There are three main varieties of Knödel:
- Semmelknödel are dumplings made from bread, potatoes and flour. It is often eaten with gravy and Spätzle, but sometimes they are served in a soup.
- Leberknödel – dumplings made from ground liver and bread – are often served in a broth, together with fried batter pearls (Backerbsen).
- Another popular type of Knödel are Kartoffelknödel. These are only made from potatoes, eggs, and flour. They have a very fluffy texture and are usually served with gravy and meat.
Spätzle is probably the most often eaten German food. Because there is no English translation, it is difficult to explain what exactly they are, so I’d advise you to look up a picture of them. Spätzle are made from a batter made of flour, eggs, and water, which is then pressed through a spätzle maker (Spätzlehobel) to create blobs of batter. The Spätzlehobel is placed above boiling water, and as soon as the Spätzle are floating, they are taken out with a sieve. Usually, this dish is served with gravy and very popular amongst kids. However, these Spätzle are also often served without gravy and are instead topped with cheese (they are then called Käsespätzle).
This dish is originally from Austria but also very popular in Germany. The English translation is escalope, but it is not quite the same. A Schnitzel is a piece of meat (usually calf) which is then flattened using a mallet. It is then dragged through eggs and breadcrumbs and then fried in a pan with oil. It is typically served with fries and Kartoffelsalat.
This literally translated to “potato salad”. For this, potatoes are first cooked in salt water, cut up into small pieces, and then mixed with broth, oil, vinegar, and mustard. Sometimes pieces of cucumbers or apples are also added. It is usually served together with Schnitzel and fries, but it can also be eaten on its own.
Eisbein, Knöchla, and Haspel are just a few of this dish’s many names – but they all describe the same: Schweinshaxe is a part of a pig’s leg that is cooked in the oven until a thick crust forms. The pig’s leg is used because its meat is very tender and because it has a lot of fat. Schweinshaxe is often served with Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, or pickled vegetables.
Obazda is a spread made from camembert, butter, and curd, and it is then topped with chives. In Bavaria, beer will sometimes also be added to the mixture. Obazda is eaten as a snack rather than a main course, and is usually served with bread or Brezen.
A Breze (or pretzels, as the English-speaking world calls them) is a type of bread made from lye dough, topped with salt and shaped like a twisted knot. Brezen can be bought in every bakery, supermarket, and there are even frozen ones that you can defrost yourself. Unlike the rest of the world and the well-known brand Mr. Pretzels, Brezen are never eaten as a sweet dish in Germany – I can guarantee you that you won’t come across a single Breze topped with chocolate sauce or powdered sugar.