While German cuisine isn’t for everybody, I enjoy it when I’m here. One of the nice things about eating in Germany is that nobody rushes you. The waiter or waitress isn’t on a clock to clear their tables, and they’ll let you eat, drink, and engage in after-dinner conversation until you decide to ask for the check. The inns and cafes are warm and cozy, and the service is friendly and efficient. A few things to remember:
1. Meat rules. If you don’t like meat, you may not enjoy eating in Germany. I’m sure there are vegans here, but I haven’t met one yet. Lots of meat is offered at every meal, even, and perhaps especially, at breakfast. Here’s a shot of the meat portion of my hotel’s breakfast buffet. It’s been fun sampling the profusion of sausage, ham, and cheeses.
2. Pork rules. Breaded and fried or roast pork slathered in an assortment of sauces and gravies is the specialty at most restaurants, inns, and cafes. There must be about 30 different varieties of sausage. There are other meats available, of course, but they’re more expensive with less variety, and there seems to be more fish than fowl. Most meals come with a side of green salad or pickled cabbage, and are accompanied by round, spongy dumplings called knödel, or hand-rolled dumplings called spätzle that are more like the homemade noodles my grandmother used to make. Yum.
3. Pastry (and bread) rules. Germans do some great work with bread. Rolls, croissants, bread of various grains and shades…I could have had a different sort of bread with every meal every day of this trip and not exhausted the possibilities. The dessert pastries–cakes, strudels, turnovers, etc.–are to die for.
4. The ice cream is borrowed from the Italians, but it rules too. Gelato shops are everywhere, and the ice cream is both lighter and more intense in flavor than what I typically experience in the States, though we’re getting more gelato shops there, too. At 90 Euro cents for a single-scoop on a sugar cone, it’s hard to pass up.
If you get tired of German food, there’s plenty of multiethnic cuisine available too. Germany is rapidly becoming a nation of immigrants, and they’re bringing all their food with them. I’ve seen Arab, Indian, and Vietnamese/Thai restaurants, as well as the ubiquitous “Doner Kebab,” a Turkish version of the gyro sandwich with beef or lamb sliced off a giant rotating cylinder of meat, served in a flatbread wrapper with veggies and sour cream/dill/cucumber dressing.
Bottom line, going hungry has not been a problem here.