International travel isn’t the typical post from me these days. But I wanted to share all the beautiful, wholesome food I was was lucky enough to enjoy on a recent jaunt to Germany.
My husband and I spent four nights in Deutschland earlier this month to celebrate our 15th anniversary (and nearly 15 years of saving frequent flyer miles to FINALLY get a free international ticket.) And even more spectacular, I turned off my phone for 5 days.
While I’d certainly recommend Germany as a healthy and gorgeous vacation spot – turning off your phone is a vacation I’d give a gold star to any day!
If you get the chance to go – or even if you need inspiration for a German-themed party – here are my picks for the Top 5 Foods to Eat Every Day in Germany:
1) White Asparagus (Spargel)
Early May through June is spargel season in Germany and this white asparagus is wildly popular; more so than green asparagus. Make-shift spargel stands are set up in villages large and small. Germans stand in long lines to get the ‘best’ from the small village of Beelitzer. And we happened to drive right by the Beelitzer farm fields en route from Wittenburg to Berlin.
To remain white, spargel must be grown out of the sun – to keep the plant’s chlorophyl from activating and turning it green. So, it’s cultivated below the surface of long rows of mounded dirt. In this picture, farmers lifted the long rows of black plastic to dig out the spargel beneath. (Bottom photo credit: DW)
White asparagus tastes mild and non-bitter and was on nearly every restaurant menu. Even the touristy Hofbräuhaus House in Munich had one of the most delicious dishes I tasted: Simple steamed white asparagus drizzled in a chive vinaigrette served with crusty rye bread.
Other white asparagus dishes I got to taste on the trip:
- Dreamy spargel cream soup
- Spargel crepes
- Spargel and schnitzel in hollandaise
- Steamed spargel and green asparagus thinly sliced and arranged into a ‘nest’ with a soft-cooked egg on top
- Spargel dessert! Warm white asparagus vanilla compote with rhubarb ice cream (totally not my husband’s ‘thing’) but I loved the warm/cool contrast.
Like most European countries, even the plain yogurt is swoon-worthy creamy and in flavors that really taste like natural fruit. It’s a bit runnier and much less cloyingly-sweet than many brands here. And wow, the varieties: Gooseberry, passion fruit, prune with museli, pure vanilla with the tiniest flakes of real milk chocolate, red lingonberry with raspberry.
3) Dried Fruit
We visited the colorful ViktualienMarkt in Munich, the Berlin Central Market and a few supermarkets, including German-originating ALDI. (Inside, it looked just like my local St Louis ALDI!)
An amazing variety of dried fruit is even available in German supermarkets: Dried kiwi, gooseberries, ground cherries, strawberries, tiny figs, sugared & salted plump blueberries, pineapple, and several different apricots. I noticed much of it came from Turkey – which I’ve heard is dried fruit heaven.
4) Beer & Pretzels
Not surprising, but not to be missed. We loved the sour fruit gose – a traditional beer from Leipzig that’s recently been resurrected by the local GoseBrauerei. It tastes a bit like our American Blue Moon with an orange slice – but a bit more tart-sour, more opaque and less hoppy.
Luther Ale is a local brew from Whittenburg that’s totally toasty and dark, but not bitter.
Chewy, flavorful and just lightly salted pretzels were available everywhere from bread baskets in restaurants to airport shops. I loved the whole grain varieties available even at chain bakeries topped with pumpkin seeds and flax seeds.
As far as I could tell, the ‘modern’ German eating pattern is pretty healthy and looks somewhat like this:
- Breakfast: Protein-packed lean meat and cheese open-faced sandwiches on whole grain bread with fruit; or yogurt muesli
- Lunch: Veggie-packed salad topped with lean meat (even big, strong workmen we saw were eating large salads at lunch) or a moderately-sized sausage in a tiny slice of bread.
- Afternoon CAKE: Beautiful fruit or cream filled cakes decorated the windows of cafes, bakeries and food trucks. But the flavors weren’t overly sweet or topped with mounds of frosting; instead fruit filling or egg custard was bursting from a thin top and bottom layer of light chiffon cake. We tasted moderately-sizes slices of rhubarb custard, poppy seed cream, apple filled with vanilla cream, rhubarb jam, and ‘fruit of the forest’ a jewel-red compote of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and lingonberries.
- Dinner: Salad, soup or smaller sausages with sauerkraut. I found several varieties of sausage that were leaner, flecked in green herbs and delicious.
Now that’s a ‘eating plan’ I could endorse: Lots of veggies, a good amount of protein and dessert every day!
For a few more recipes and resources on fresh modern German cuisine, check out:
There’s more to German food than sausage, sauerkraut, schnitzel via @SplendidTable
Brauhaus Schmitz – A Philadelphia restaurant
What’s your take on German food? Have you ever been or is Germany on your travel bucket list?