Hearty flavors and locally sourced ingredients combine with time-tested cooking and baking techniques to make German cuisine a European favorite.
While the traditional dishes of German cuisine vary in each of its three primary geographic regions, staple ingredients and commitment to quality remain the same throughout the country.
Meat is a predominant component of every meal and pork is the traditional favorite. Chicken and beef are popular too, and game meats like venison and wild boar are also common.
Germans also consume a fair amount of freshwater fish including trout, pike and perch and the country's northern coastline yields a wealth of fresh seafood as well.
Some of Germany's best-known regional specialties include:
- Bavaria – Wiener Schnitzel
- Baden – Black Forest Cake
- Rhineland – Sauerbraten
- Saxony – Stollen
- Saxony – Lebkuchen, gingerbread
- Berlin – Konigsberger Klopse
Another important mainstay of German cuisine is sausage. Here are a few of the best known varieties.
- Bratwurst: A roasted sausage made with pork and sometimes veal.
- Knackwurst: A garlicky smoked sausage made with pork and veal.
- Bockwurst: A mild sausage made with veal, pork and milk.
- Leberwurst: A pork liver sausage that's generally used as a spread.
- Blutwurst: A a blood sausage made with a combination of minced pork and breadcrumbs.
German Side Dishes, Desserts and Drinks
Most German dishes are accompanied by condiments, including mustard, horseradish and garlic.
Spätzle, noodles made with egg yolk, are popular in the southern regions, as are potatoes and dumplings.
German pastries are some of the richest and most decadent in the world. Most cakes and tarts are made with fresh fruit. The Germans also enjoy a number of puddings, including red fruit pudding, rhubarb pudding and gooseberry fruit pudding.
Germany is famous for its fine breweries and vineyards, but coffee and tea are equally popular throughout the country.
Germany has a few specialty beverages, as well, including Apfelschorle (sparkling apple juice), Spezi (a soft drink with cola and orange flavoring), Korn (a spirit made from wheat and malt), and Obstler ( a spirit made from distilled apples, pears, plums, or cherries). Both spirits are referred to as Schnaps.