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German Cuisine

German cuisine has often been labeled as stodgy and fatty, which can be attributed to the lack of variety in the rural German countryside until the last 200 years. But Germany has benefited from a close association with Italy and France and adopted many of their spices and cooking methods, always with a German twist.

Regional cuisines vary according to the geography (mountains, plains and seas are all represented) and their proximity to waterways, where transportation and trade historically took place. Left over from earlier times, preservation of foodstuffs through salting, smoking, curing or pickling is still a common way of preparing fish, meats and vegetables. Just look at the popular dishes of Matjes (pickled herring), Sauerbraten (roast beef cured in vinegar and wine), or Sauerkraut, and you will find ancient cooking methods still in use today.

In prehistoric times German fare was likely bland. Unlike the Mediterranean countries, the growing season limited them to early forms of wheat, barley and pasture land for livestock. Sheep, cows and goats were used for milk, butter and cheese and occasionally meat products, which were served most often during feasts.

The earliest spices were parsley, celery and dill, which you still see used today. The Romans introduced fruit tree cultivation and grapevines. Oats and rye were also added into cultivation, as agricultural methods became more sophisticated. The areas around Cologne were especially rich in exotic spices and food due to its powerhouse status as a trading city.

Today, Germans still fall back on their rich heritage, serving wild game, lamb, pork and beef with old and new ways of preparing them and their side dishes. Popular spices are mustard, horseradish and juniper berries, which are found, for instance, in the Luneburger Heath. Still, modern German chefs have started to create newer, lighter fare, incorporating traditional foods into their menus.

Berlin
German
26 Kazbegi Ave.