When people think of holidays and good food going together they tend to think of places like Paris (or France in general), London, Italy, Spain, or simply a setting by the sea in a warm Mediterranean country eating fresh seafood. Those who are lucky enough to have the money to spend would also include Copenhagen (thanks to Noma being rated the world’s number 1 restaurant again), San Sebastian in Spain or Tokyo in Japan thanks to their Michelin starred restaurants, and of course Paris/France again.
To experience a vacation with good food, we would most certainly recommend a trip to Germany, partly because of a lack of Germany eateries outside of Germany but mainly because of the quality, taste and value for money, especially when compared to France as the food tends to be cheaper, the portions are bigger and there is less pretense, in other words it’s good hearty comfort food, so it’s heavy on the carbs which is ideal for us Scottish…but perhaps not those on a diet (Scots included!). The BBC have included some Berlin workers canteens as an excellent venue for lunch, both for value for money as well as taste. Something many have never thought of before.
Here’s a selection of items we like from Germany
Laugenbrezels (usually described as pretzels in the UK) are baked doughy breads, shaped into a loop with a hard crusty shell, they are usually savoury and covered in salt crystals and they seem to be making more of an appearance in Scotland. Up until recently the only place we knew where you were guaranteed to buy one was at Falko konditorei in Edinburgh and Gullane, but now we’ve spotted them in Lidl, which is starting to add bakery sections to it’s stores (something we spotted in some of their European stores a year or two ago) and Sainsbury’s, though they ones they stock aren’t true Laugenbrezels as they are missing the best bit – the extreme salty kick! Anyone who likes anchovies or salty chips/fries/nuts would be advised to try out a Laugenbrezel. We’ve found them on sale all over Germany though they are more popular in the south/Bavaria.
The quintessential German takeaway item, you will find it for sale in many a snackbar in Germany.
Kebabs and Turkish pizzas
Germany has a large Turkish population so Döner and Schawarma kebabs are very popular, in fact the best kebabs we’ve ever tasted have all been in Germany. Unlike back home although a Döner may be advertised (for the tourists?) it tends to be Schawarma on the menu so gone is the sweaty fatty lump of rotating meat on a spit that you find in many UK takeaways so a result the kebabs we’ve had in Germany tasted much healthier – leaner meat, more vegetables and fresher salads. You don’t need to feel guilty about eating a kebab in Germany! You’ll also come across places selling Türkische (Turkish) Pizza, which is a kebab on a flatbread rolled up and eaten on the go.
Marzipan makes my tongue dance with joy and thanks to Lidl I can keep my fix in check but in order to really appreciate interesting and unusual assortments and varieties of Marzipan a trip to Germany is essential (pictured is Apple Strudel flavoured Marzipan which we’ve never seen on sale in Britain).
Germany has well over 1,000 breweries (over half of which are in Bavaria) between them they produce 5 – 6,000 different beers in many styles (light pilsner/lager, wheat, dark etc) brewed for many centuries to the Reinheitsgebot (Bavarian beer purity law) allowing only water, hops and barley, this has now changed slightly and more ingredients are allowed but the high quality remains. Although they didn’t invent beer, the oldest active brewery in the world is Weihenstephan, based in Freising in the Munich outskirts, which has been brewing since 1040. So the Germans know a thing or two about good beer.
Germans are experts at hearty meaty stews (mainly pork/ham based) and a lot of dishes from the east have crept into Germany so you’ll find paprika laced Goulash on many menus.
I don’t know many people who admit to eating Sauerkraut as it has negative connotations with many associating it with erm…flatulence, but it tastes great! All that fermenting creates a strong “nippy” vinergary cabbage with a lot more taste than a regular cabbage and it makes a fine accompaniment to any German meal.