10 surprising reasons why food in Germany isn’t just grit and stodge but is pretty awesome, in my opinion!

Christmas food in Germany comprising of home-made potato dumplings, red cabbage, succulent roast goose, and gravy made from goose dripping!
Christmas food in Germany comprising of home-made potato dumplings, red cabbage, succulent roast goose, and gravy made from goose dripping!

So last week, the Korea post ended our adventures in Asia.

For now!

As I promised, I will be ending this year with Germany pretty much the way I started this blog with also writing about Germany!

Here we go:

Stodgy food from the German Christmas Market.
Stodgy food from the German Christmas Market.

1.  When people think of German food, their impressions tend to lay on the side of cabbage and potatoes. I bought a plate of green cabbage with potato cubes, salty grilled pork sausages, and a bun, or “Grünkohl und Knacker.” Not very exciting! However living in Germany has shown me that of course, rustic German food does lie a little on the heavy side since it was originally designed for working class peasants.

The modern-day German isn’t a peasant!

No siree! Nope! Nada! Nein! Nyet!

Oh no! Don't look if you're a vegetarian! Image@ eat-the-world
Oh no! Don’t look if you’re a vegetarian!
Image@ eat-the-world

2.  In fact most Germans are intelligent, tolerant, internationally minded, and open to different life experiences, and that is reflected in the food. In fact, in Berlin where I live, you’d be hard-pressed to find “real” German food!

Austrian food. Yes.

Berlin food. Oh yes!

But German food. Eeeh! Umm!

Not quite.

“Typical” German food has a hard, long reputation of being rather stodgy and boring. Pretty much like British food actually! So let’s not talk too long about German food, let’s see what we can find because our Xmas dinner above reminded me that food in Germany can be pretty awesome, if you know where to look!

That very famous, most popular, Berlin speciality: The Döner Kebap!
That very famous, most popular, Berlin speciality: The Döner Kebap!

3.  For those of you who don’t know, the most popular meal in Berlin is not the sausage.

Nope!

It’s the Döner Kebap!

The kebab is made from small cuts of lamb or chicken meat which is then grilled on a spit and then sliced. These slices are put into a Turkish-like loaf of bread with added raw white and red cabbage, slices of onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, and smothered with either garlic sauce, a sort of Turkish-mint sauce, spicy pepper-tomato sauce, or all of the above. The Döner Kebap can be found all over Germany and in pretty much every food corner in Berlin. Yum!

Homemade pastrami - New-York style.
Homemade pastrami – New-York style.

4.  My husband – The Music Producer – raved about a New York deli based at the former historical Jewish school for girls in Berlin otherwise known as die Jüdische Mädchenschule. We decided to go there in the summer. It’s in the Mitte area of the city, and near the river.

Jewish history is enormously prickly in Germany, but Jewish food is not. The name of this deli is Mogg & Melzer and we had slices of homemade pastrami sandwiches in thick brown bread that came with a pot of coleslaw and salty pickles. Prices are on the higher side but the portions are American-sized huge! It was delish!

A Continental breakfast in Cologne.
A Continental breakfast in Cologne.

5.  Breakfast in Germany is very different from breakfast in Britain. In Germany, the breakfast tends to be “continental” in style. In the spring of this year, we went to Cologne. It was a lovely sunny day and we found this local cafe not far from the wedding anniversary that we had come to attend. We had slices of cheese, slices of ham, freshly cut paté or leberwurst, slices of salami, jam, butter, home-made basil-cream butter, a boiled egg, a basket of crunchy bread, and a huge croissant!

All you need is a plate of Berlin's speciality: Currywurst.
All you need is a plate of Berlin’s speciality: Currywurst.

6.  Alrighty!

All hail the almighty sausage.

In this case, the currywurst. The currywurst is Berlin’s most famous sausage. Germany has loads of different sausages and each comes with its own unique taste. I find the white sausage with sweet mustard or “Weißwürst” quite disgusting personally, but the grilled sausages with mustard/ketchup or“Bratwurst” can be decisively delicious. My favourite German sausage however, is the above.

Currywurst!

Currywurst is beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder. It’s eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun. It’s such a famous icon that it even has its own Currywurst Museum where you can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips. You can sometimes even have chocolate and curry ice-cream!

Currywurst can usually only be found in Berlin everywhere you look. My two favourite places however, are the 1930’s East Berlin historical establishment called Konnopke’s in my own area of Prenzlauerberg, and the 1980’s West Berlin trendy establishment Curry 36 in my old neighbourhood of Kreuzberg! P.S. They speak English in both places so no worries if you don’t speak German!

A Berlin lunch!
A Berlin lunch!

7.  Ah yes. Meatballs!

In Germany, they’re called different things. In fact, so much so that when I first came to Germany, I didn’t know what they were, so I didn’t eat ’em! Imagine my shock when I discovered that they were actually meatballs. I wasted two years not eating them!

In Berlin, these German meatballs are huge pan-fried minced balls of beef, pork, or lamb and are known as “Boulette.” In other parts of Germany they are smaller and known as Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!

They are not normally eaten with a tomato sauce but with bread! As you can see above, I had these meatballs at the Berlin Music Week Festival and they were small, topped with apple mousse, accompanied by sliced brown bread topped with tomato, salmon, and mustard & cress or sliced brown bread topped with cream cheese, sliced radishes, with more mustard & cress. In fact they were quite delightful, so I scoffed the lot!

Scrummy cake from eat-the-world!
Scrummy cake from eat-the-world!

8.  Yummy in my tummy, lovely dessert! Scrummy desserts can be found all over Germany as the cake shops are lovely. I went on a food walking tour in the Autumn and you can read all about the desserts and snack that I sampled by clicking on the link!

At Tim Raue, a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Berlin.
At Tim Raue, a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Berlin.

9.  November was The Music Producer’s birthday so I decided to treat him to a fine dining type of meal. I decided to take him to one of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and a 2-star Michelin restaurant called after the name of the owner – Tim Raue. Tim Raue doesn’t serve German food but as the top restaurant in Berlin, I decided to include him. The dish above was lobster, sambal manis, and pomelo. I think!

I’d been trying to make a reservation for almost 6 months and I couldn’t get a table, but when I told the PR person that it was my husband’s birthday, that swung it! They were awfully nice and even gave us a complimentary glass of champagne and some complimentary raw chocolate filled with ice-cream and strawberry!

Asian-inspired cuisine at Tim Raue's 2-star Michelin restaurant, Berlin.
Asian-inspired cuisine at Tim Raue’s 2-star Michelin restaurant, Berlin.

Tim Raue is Asian-inspired and doesn’t serve bread, noodles, or rice! It’s a smart 2-star Michelin star place and it wasn’t going to be cheap so we “only” opted for the 4-course menu, a few customised pieces, and loads of champagne and bottles of wine! So if you’re looking for “finer” items, or that special meal in Berlin, you know where to go LOL!

A Christmas Market killer!
A Christmas Market killer!

10.  Finally, I’m not going to leave this post without talking about street food which can be found at any Christmas Market all across the country. The very highlight of every German Christmas Market all over the world is hot mulled wine or “Glühwein.”

For those of you who have a really strong alcoholic tendency, I also recommend a traditional rum-filled type of mulled wine. It’s put in a huge canister, filled with huge lumps of sugarloaf or “Zuckerhut,” soaked in rum, set on fire, and dripped into cups and glasses. It’s called – “Feuerzangenbowle” and is an absolute killer!

I had a cup once and I literally fell to the floor! It’s strong stuff and as I’m a bit of a light weight when it comes to the matter of strong alcohol, I can only manage half a cup. After a heavy meal of stodge!

For more info about the German Christmas market, read my previous post right here!

Drinking Champagne before the tears of laughter took over! Picture @iStockPhoto
Drinking Champagne before the tears of laughter took over!
Picture @iStockPhoto

This article is not sponsored and all opinions, saucy sausages and sparkly glasses of champagne, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you, so next week I will be revealing my plans for 2015 and travelling to Amsterdam, in Holland!

So many amazing things are going to happen in 2015!

Have a fabulous time and I’ll see you next year!

Watch this space!

Looking lovely in the summer at a festival!
Looking lovely in the summer at a festival!

Have you ever been to Germany? Have you ever had German food? Do you think German food is all stodge and no substance?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post.

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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A sticky bun isn’t a stollen: going to a German Christmas Market

Lucia Christmas Market in Berlin. © Jochen Loch
Lucia Christmas Market in Berlin.
© Jochen Loch

I love going to the Christmas Market in Germany. It’s so……well, German!

In Berlin, where I live, there are about sixty Christmas Markets in the capital city, of different varieties and types. Some of the markets are quite contemporary and modern and some are traditional and quaint.

Tradition and quaint at the Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market in Berlin!
Tradition and quaint at the Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market in Berlin!

I love the German Christmas Markets because they remind and prepare me for the winter season, and the time of year in which we have to dress up in our winter woollies and go out.

I love the German Christmas Market as it’s so very different from markets at home – in England. I mean, you can drink as much alcohol as you like for a start.

Beer for everyone in Germany 'cos the drinks are on meeeee!
Beer for everyone in Germany ‘cos the drinks are on meeeee!

Outdoors. Legally.

Wow!

Old German gothic handwriting and print...
Old German gothic handwriting and print…

Most of the stalls in the markets are made out of wood and have the old German gothic handwriting and print, on their signage. It’s known as Sütterlin or Suetterlin script. This type of writing was pretty popular in 20th century pre-war Germany. You can see the writing outside old buildings and in the parks and even though, it looks romantic and speaks of nostalgia, although I find it difficult to read.

You can even find German Christmas Markets in town squares, near large boulevards, outside shopping centres and arcades, in side streets and sometimes in public buildings too! Cool stuff at the Sony Centre Forum in Berlin.
You can even find German Christmas Markets in town squares, near large boulevards, outside shopping centres and arcades, in side streets and sometimes in public buildings too!
Cool stuff at the Sony Centre Forum in Berlin.

You can also find some of the German Christmas Markets in town squares, near large boulevards, outside shopping centres and arcades, on side streets and sometimes in public buildings too like town halls, government offices, museums, galleries and castles.

Being that I live in Germany, nothing is done without some sort of order, precision and regulation thus, the German Christmas Markets are only open and available during the four weeks of Advent, which starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. It’s believed that this tradition started in the late Middle Ages, and that the first formal location was in Vienna, 1294!

Masked entertainment at the Vienna Opera! @Heikenwaelder Hugo, Austria
Masked entertainment at the Vienna Opera!
@Heikenwaelder Hugo, Austria

The German Christmas Markets or Weihnachtsmarkt is enormously popular in German-speaking Europe, parts of Italy, parts of France and in the United States. It’s even popular in England and very successful in my home town of Manchester, and in other cities like Leeds and Bath!

I went to the German Christmas Market in Birmingham a few years ago, and I was very impressed!

Even Romania has a Christmas Market...!
Even Romania has a Christmas Market…!

The notion of a German Christmas Market even spread as far as that of Romania, with their very own public market that opened in 2007.

In Germany, the Christmas Markets sell food, drink, christmas decorations, ornaments, crafts and carvings, lights and seasonal ware, often in addition to singing, dancing, ice-skating, and other forms of entertainment.Very akin to a country festival fair!

The German Christmas Market is very akin to a country fair! @Michael Setzpfandt
The German Christmas Market is very akin to a country fair!
@Michael Setzpfandt

If you’re going to visit a German Christmas Market, I’d strongly advice you to prepare your stomach, unzip your coat and roll up your sleeves, as there’s so much to eat, drink and see.

There’s so much to eat, at a German Christmas Market!
There’s so much to eat, at a German Christmas Market!

There’s no saving me….

...And there's so much to drink at the German Christmas Market too!
…And there’s so much to drink at the German Christmas Market too!

You can have:

Gingerbread that I made myself..!
Gingerbread that I made myself..!

Gingerbread biscuits – Lebkuchen

Sweet, toasted almonds – Gebrannte Mandeln

A perfectly acceptable pork grilled sausage or bratwurst!
A perfectly acceptable pork grilled sausage or bratwurst!

Grilled sausages with mustard or ketchup – Bratwurst

White cabbage and salted / slightly smoked pork – Sauerkraut und Kassler

One of my favourite Christmas Market meals - Green cabbage and pork sausages or Grünkohl und Knacker!
One of my favourite Christmas Market meals – Green cabbage and pork sausages or Grünkohl und Knacker!

Green cabbage and pork sausages – Grünkohl und Knacker

Eggnog – Eierpunsch

Stollen at the German Christmas Market. Yeah!
Stollen at the German Christmas Market. Yeah!

A sweet yeast dough with candied citrus peels, spices, raisins, nuts or marzipan and covered in castor sugar / icing sugar – Stollen

And the very highlight of every German Christmas Market: Hot mulled wine – Glühwein

This is what Feuerzangenbowle looks like, in the safety and serenity of a German home!
This is what Feuerzangenbowle looks like, in the safety and serenity of a German home!

For those of you who have a really strong alcoholic tendency, I also recommend: a traditional rum-filled type of mulled wine. It’s put in a huge canister, filled with huge lumps of sugarloaf or Zuckerhut soaked in rum, set on fire and dripped into cups and glasses. It’s called – Feuerzangenbowle and is an absolute killer!

This is what Feuerzangenbowle looks like after you've had a few. It's a Christmas Market killer! ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
This is what Feuerzangenbowle looks like after you’ve had a few. It’s a Christmas Market killer!
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

I had a cup once and almost fell to the floor!

It’s strong stuff and as I’m a bit of a light weight when it comes to the matter of strong alcohol, I can only manage half a cup – after a heavy meal of stodge!

German sausages.
German sausages.

The very famous German Christmas Markets can be found in Dresden, Dortmund, Cologne, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Augsburg, Erfurt, Frankfurt and of course, Berlin.

There are so many Christmas Markets to choose from so I’ve picked my favourites below:

1.  The WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt or the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market: OMG! This market is one of the most beautiful and one of the most famous, German Christmas Markets in Berlin. It’s in the old French square and is surrounded by the opera house, two cathedrals, very expensive haute couture shops, art galleries, 5 -star restaurants and luxury hotels!

The WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt or the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market in Berlin, is one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Germany!
The WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt or the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market in Berlin, is one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Germany!

It focuses on traditional handicrafts such as flax embroidery, wood carving, stone masonry, acrobats, classical or jazz choirs, and exclusive food and drink. You only have to pay €1.00 or €2.00 to get in, but it’s so worth it.

There’s still time to catch it, as it’s always open to the 31st of December!

2.  The Nostalgischer Weihnachtsmarkt Opernpalais or the Unter den Linden Christmas Market: This is also a favourite of mine as this German Christmas Market is located between the most elegant State Opera House – Staatsoper and the Opera Palace – Opernpalais. It is also opposite the 1810 academic Humboldt University of Berlin or Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

The Nostalgischer Weihnachtsmarkt Opernpalais or the Unter den Linden Christmas Market is another firm favourite of mine! ©Visit Berlin - Wolfgang Scholvien
The Nostalgischer Weihnachtsmarkt Opernpalais or the Unter den Linden Christmas Market is another firm favourite of mine!
©Visit Berlin – Wolfgang Scholvien

This most noble and nostalgic Christmas Market also focuses on skilled and crafted people who make candles, lanterns, almonds and chestnuts, and lots and lots of illuminated lights. In fact, the very long boulevard is lit with twinkly christmas lights and balls in trees and plants. The market also has horse-drawn carriages and a historical atmosphere of old.

3.   The Adventsmarkt der Domäne Dahlem or The Advents Market of the Dahlem Manor: This German Christmas Market is a market with a difference as it’s located in a former Manor. The manor is located in the south-west suburbs of Berlin and is over 800 years old! The Manor is also an open-air museum focused on agriculture and farm life of old. You can imagine what a Christmas Market would look like here.

The Adventsmarkt der Domäne Dahlem or The Advents Market of the Dahlem Manor, is a German Christmas Market located in a former aristocratic manor! ©K. Wendlandt
The Adventsmarkt der Domäne Dahlem or The Advents Market of the Dahlem Manor, is a German Christmas Market located in a former aristocratic manor!
©K. Wendlandt

It’s great! There is livestock, people are dressed up in medieval clothes, there are exhibitions, food and drink from the ages and music and concerts. There is an admission fee and it can be a little chilly ‘cos it’s outdoor based, but it’s soooo much fun.

4.  This year we spent a lot of time at the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt im Hof der Kulturbrauerei or the Lucia Christmas Market in the hip and trendy courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg! This popular romantic Christmas Market is not even German at all, but rather, Nordic Scandinavian!

Nordic Angels at the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt im Hof der Kulturbrauerei or the Lucia Christmas Market in the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg! © Jochen Loch
Nordic Angels at the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt im Hof der Kulturbrauerei or the Lucia Christmas Market in the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg!
© Jochen Loch

It’s about 10 minutes from where I live, and is an ensemble of twenty (20) buildings and six (6) courtyards connected in an outdoor space of 25,000 m² in red and yellow bricked industrial architecture, of the 19th century!

The industrial architecture of the 19th century - im Hof der Kulturbrauerei or the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg, Berlin! © Jochen Loch
The industrial architecture of the 19th century – im Hof der Kulturbrauerei or the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg, Berlin!
© Jochen Loch

This Christmas Market is very picturesque and is filled with artistic charm and romantic innings. The market is so named because it’s dedicated to the Nordic goddess of lights – Lucia – and is represented and dedicated to countries from the Scandinavian hemisphere. It also has Swedish open air fires, art, food and drink, as well as bungee jumping, trampolining and a merry-go-round!

Having said that, this Christmas Market is as German as you want it to be.

The people. In Germany, at the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt im Hof der Kulturbrauerei or the Lucia Christmas Market courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg! © Jochen Loch
The people. In Germany, at the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt im Hof der Kulturbrauerei or the Lucia Christmas Market courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg!
© Jochen Loch

We very much enjoyed eating:

I don't usually eat potato pancakes as I don't like them! But I was willing to give 'em a try!
I don’t usually eat potato pancakes as I don’t like them! But I was willing to give ’em a try!

Potato pancake with apple sauce – Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelkompot

Deer sausage with mustard – Hirsch Bratwurst

White cabbage & salted / slightly smoked pork with pan-fried sliced potatoes, dollops of horse-radish and spicy mustard - Sauerkraut und Kassler. Yum!
White cabbage & salted / slightly smoked pork with pan-fried sliced potatoes, dollops of horse-radish and spicy mustard – Sauerkraut und Kassler.
Yum!

White cabbage and salted / slightly smoked pork with pan-fried sliced potatoes, dollops of horse-radish and spicy mustard– Sauerkraut und Kassler.

Spicy Mulled wine – Glühwein

Trying out the Feuerzangenbowle. Again!
Trying out the Feuerzangenbowle. Again!

Non-alcoholic punch for “The Tall Young Gentleman.”

We didn’t have any snow this year and it wasn’t even cold, but you can’t be in Germany at this time of year, without partaking in the fun of a German Christmas Market!

See you next year!

Lean on me!
Lean on me!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my absolute own.

Have you ever been to a German Christmas Market? Have you been to Germany in the winter? Would you eat a sausage made from deer meat?

"The Tall Young Gentleman" and I
“The Tall Young Gentleman” and I

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