Ah Germany, home of beer, currywurst, and a history of both joy and extreme shame (as it should be). For the longest time certain members of my or@benton8tor’s family refused to travel to Germany because of the atrocities leading up to and World War II itself. It is a tough call, you don’t want to forget but you also don’t want write a country off. Germany is a lot more than World War II, rich in culture, heritage and amazing food, wine, and beer. It also acknowledges its past and atones for it. Side note, if you haven’t visited the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Go now. It is the most moving chilling monument and deeply disturbing although you will be forever thankful you experienced it. In our current global political climate, I find it even more important to travel experience other cultures, embrace diversity and celebrate. Which is exactly what I did in both Munich and Berlin. So changing tack to the more celebratory side, if you read this blog you will know by now food and wine is especially important to me as I travel. So with that in mind here are my top 5 picks for must have German food and where to get it!
- Currywurst- Berlin’s popular street food. It is the German bratwurst sausage topped with a curry spiced ketchup. Even if you don’t like curry or you don’t like sausage, it is worth a try as the currywurst is like nothing you have tried before. Though it pains me to say this… its best served with beer and not wine. Germans are famous for their beer and enjoying a currywurst with a local German beer? It will be fabulous. That said you should also try other German sausages and try the mustard too!
- Soft Pretzels- ‘But I can get those anywhere you think’ and technically you are right but like the famed Guinness always tastes better in Ireland, so does the soft pretzel in Germany. When I was very young, the only pretzels we had were the hard crunchy ones. I didn’t know about the soft pretzels. So when I read a book and one of the characters loved to dip her pretzels in mustard, I thought the sophisticated 8 year old that I am would try it. Don’t it is gross. However, I grew up, expanded my culinary horizons and soft pretzels in mustard? Delicious!!! Especially if those pretzels come from one of the vendors at the Viktualienmarkt in Central Munich. They are amazing and I am sure would pair well with wine but as a predominant street food, it is hard to walk around with a glass of wine (However if you are anywhere in France, this doesn’t seem to be unusual). http://www.muenchen.de/int/en/shopping/markets/viktualienmarkt.html
- Rotskohl and Sauerbraten- @benton8tor and i were walking around Berlin one evening. We were on Blvd Friedrichstrasse probably because of my obsession with the movie Cabaret. Once we crossed the river there were so many places to eat. Overtired and hangry we couldn’t agree or decide on a restaurant. so we moved a bit further away from the river up Blvd Friedrichstrasse to the Blvd Friedrichstrasse Berliner Restaurant. Where we did something I never ever ever do when traveling. the food was so good I went back two nights in a row. I never do this because I don’t want to miss out on what a city/country has to offer but this restaurant was sooo good, I wanted to eat the entire menu. The sauerbraten a roast beef that has marinated for days in a vinegar spice mixture is the tastiest way I have ever eaten roast beef. Paired with Rotskokl, the red cabbage side that is bursting full of flavours of wine, apple and vinegar is out of this world. @benton8tor incorrectly believed he didn’t like red cabbage. This rotskohl changed his mind. The restaurant is beautiful and a throw back to earlier times without appearing dated. http://www.boulevard.berlin/speisen/
- Rouladen- Another beef dish! but this rolled beef dish stuffed pickle, mustard, bacon and paprika. It is equally amazing and where should you have it? Blvd Friedrichstrasse of course! What should you pair it with? A German red of course? You might be asking, “is she serious? German red are sweet and frankly undrinkable’ and you are right but in Germany? Their actual red wines are surprisingly more diverse than you think. In fact some of the red wines from the Black Forest/ Baden Wurttemberg region are dry, tasty and complex drinking more like Napa wine. You should really try it.
- Goulash soup or pancake soup- 2 different soups but both equally good. Filling, amazing and a meal in a bowl. Ramen noodle soup is the current trend but it is just a matter of time before the food trend shifts to the aptly named pancake soup. We had both soups ( I preferred the heartier stick to your gills goulash) at Ratskeller in Munich, A beautiful restaurant serving Bavarian specialties and one of my favorites in Munich, Excellent wine selection of course. http://www.ratskeller.com/
Honorable mentions would go to wiener schnitzel and toasts. Yes toasts. Upon arriving late into Munich we were hungry. We asked our hotel for recommendations. “Well “she said “we serve many nice toasts” What? turns out it means toasted sandwiches and yes they do serve many nice toasts and my favourite German red. Black Forest. Seemingly hard to find (so hard to find I think I dreamed it) it is a complex, spicy dry German red. YUM YUM
As well you can’t go to Germany and not try the beer so head to the Auguststiner Am Platz for more authentic German beer. Their selection is amazing. I preferred the Auguststiner Dunkel. http://augustiner-wirtschaft.de/food-and-beverage/
German food and drink is regional, diverse and delicious. So find a beer garden, order up and enjoy. I didn’t do Germany justice when it comes to wine tourism, so I guess I will just have to go back. For research of course.