A Guide To German Cuisine
Whenever you travel abroad you truly get the most out of the experience when you throw yourself into their culture, and that is especially the case at meal times. The Germans are well renowned for treating every family meal as a special occasion, and when you taste their local cuisines you’ll soon see why. Here’s a handy guide to daily meals in Germany and what is typically on the menu at that time. Remember to apply for your EHIC renewal so you can continue to have free or discounted medical care should your fall ill while spending time in Germany.
Breakfast by any other means, and the German’s traditionally start their day with bread, either sliced or rolls, with butter or margarine and any possible combinations including, jams, marmalade, quark (like a curd cheese) and sausage. Any type of fruit juice, coffee, tea and cocoa are common breakfast drinks. Cereal is more commonplace among the younger generation, especially those with busy lifestyles, and the most common is a fruit and nut müsli mixed with yoghurt, milk and fresh fruit.
Lunchtime in Germany is generally between 12-2pm and common meals include potato salad with sausage or meatballs, Spätzle noodles with stir-fry, schnitzel with buttered vegetables and fish sticks with mashed potato. Pork and chicken are the most common lunchtime meats and are traditionally served almost every day, as are vegetables including peas, carrots, green beans and cabbage. Potatoes are generally served in the form of chips, mash, croquettes, boiled, fried and potato dumplings are particularly delicious.
As lunch time is the main meal during the day, this means the evening is usually a lighter affair between 6-7pm. A typical evening meal consists of bread and cheeses with a variety of deli meats, sausages with mustards and pickles (particularly gherkins). You’d usually have a hot soup in the winter and a salad in the summer and usually a glass of sparkling mineral water or juice.
Kaffee und Kuchen
Similar to a traditional British tea time, the Germans also enjoy coffee and a slice of cake, usually in the late afternoon so families can spend some quality time together. The cakes are usually homemade and many family favourites include black forest cake, bee sting cake, cheesecake (made with quark) and fruit tarts (usually apple or plum). Pastries, such as apple strudels, can be bought from the local bakery but this is usually only when people don’t have the time to bake at home.
Also known as Grosse Pause or Zweites Frühstück, a pausenbrot is a small snack between meals, particularly for school students. German schools don’t traditionally eat meals at school (lunch is eaten at home) so the purpose of a pausenbrot is to keep students going in the meantime and to discourage them from over eating at lunch. A typical pausenbrot is usually a small sandwich, a piece of fruit, yoghurt or müsli bar.
For adults, the term Zwischenmahlzeit describes the same concept for the working day.