A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
So last week, the Korea post ended our adventures in Asia.
As I promised, I will be ending this year with Germany pretty much the way I started this blog with also writing about Germany!
Here we go:
1. When people think of German food, their impressions tend to lay on the side of cabbage and potatoes. I bought a plate of green cabbage with potato cubes, salty grilled pork sausages, and a bun, or “Grünkohl und Knacker.” Not very exciting! However living in Germany has shown me that of course, rustic German food does lie a little on the heavy side since it was originally designed for working class peasants.
The modern-day German isn’t a peasant!
No siree! Nope! Nada! Nein! Nyet!
2. In fact most Germans are intelligent, tolerant, internationally minded, and open to different life experiences, and that is reflected in the food. In fact, in Berlin where I live, you’d be hard-pressed to find “real” German food!
Austrian food. Yes.
Berlin food. Oh yes!
But German food. Eeeh! Umm!
“Typical” German food has a hard, long reputation of being rather stodgy and boring. Pretty much like British food actually! So let’s not talk too long about German food, let’s see what we can find because our Xmas dinner above reminded me that food in Germany can be pretty awesome, if you know where to look!
3. For those of you who don’t know, the most popular meal in Berlin is not the sausage.
It’s the Döner Kebap!
The kebab is made from small cuts of lamb or chicken meat which is then grilled on a spit and then sliced. These slices are put into a Turkish-like loaf of bread with added raw white and red cabbage, slices of onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, and smothered with either garlic sauce, a sort of Turkish-mint sauce, spicy pepper-tomato sauce, or all of the above. The Döner Kebap can be found all over Germany and in pretty much every food corner in Berlin. Yum!
4. My husband – The Music Producer – raved about a New York deli based at the former historical Jewish school for girls in Berlin otherwise known as die Jüdische Mädchenschule. We decided to go there in the summer. It’s in the Mitte area of the city, and near the river.
Jewish history is enormously prickly in Germany, but Jewish food is not. The name of this deli is Mogg & Melzer and we had slices of homemade pastrami sandwiches in thick brown bread that came with a pot of coleslaw and salty pickles. Prices are on the higher side but the portions are American-sized huge! It was delish!
5. Breakfast in Germany is very different from breakfast in Britain. In Germany, the breakfast tends to be “continental” in style. In the spring of this year, we went to Cologne. It was a lovely sunny day and we found this local cafe not far from the wedding anniversary that we had come to attend. We had slices of cheese, slices of ham, freshly cut paté or leberwurst, slices of salami, jam, butter, home-made basil-cream butter, a boiled egg, a basket of crunchy bread, and a huge croissant!
All hail the almighty sausage.
In this case, the currywurst. The currywurst is Berlin’s most famous sausage. Germany has loads of different sausages and each comes with its own unique taste. I find the white sausage with sweet mustard or “Weißwürst” quite disgusting personally, but the grilled sausages with mustard/ketchup or“Bratwurst” can be decisively delicious. My favourite German sausage however, is the above.
Currywurst is beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder. It’s eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun. It’s such a famous icon that it even has its own Currywurst Museum where you can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips. You can sometimes even have chocolate and curry ice-cream!
Currywurst can usually only be found in Berlin everywhere you look. My two favourite places however, are the 1930’s East Berlin historical establishment called Konnopke’s in my own area of Prenzlauerberg, and the 1980’s West Berlin trendy establishment Curry 36 in my old neighbourhood of Kreuzberg! P.S. They speak English in both places so no worries if you don’t speak German!
7. Ah yes. Meatballs!
In Germany, they’re called different things. In fact, so much so that when I first came to Germany, I didn’t know what they were, so I didn’t eat ’em! Imagine my shock when I discovered that they were actually meatballs. I wasted two years not eating them!
In Berlin, these German meatballs are huge pan-fried minced balls of beef, pork, or lamb and are known as “Boulette.” In other parts of Germany they are smaller and known as Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!
They are not normally eaten with a tomato sauce but with bread! As you can see above, I had these meatballs at the Berlin Music Week Festival and they were small, topped with apple mousse, accompanied by sliced brown bread topped with tomato, salmon, and mustard & cress or sliced brown bread topped with cream cheese, sliced radishes, with more mustard & cress. In fact they were quite delightful, so I scoffed the lot!
8. Yummy in my tummy, lovely dessert! Scrummy desserts can be found all over Germany as the cake shops are lovely. I went on a food walking tour in the Autumn and you can read all about the desserts and snack that I sampled by clicking on the link!
9. November was The Music Producer’s birthday so I decided to treat him to a fine dining type of meal. I decided to take him to one of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and a 2-star Michelin restaurant called after the name of the owner – Tim Raue. Tim Raue doesn’t serve German food but as the top restaurant in Berlin, I decided to include him. The dish above was lobster, sambal manis, and pomelo. I think!
I’d been trying to make a reservation for almost 6 months and I couldn’t get a table, but when I told the PR person that it was my husband’s birthday, that swung it! They were awfully nice and even gave us a complimentary glass of champagne and some complimentary raw chocolate filled with ice-cream and strawberry!
Tim Raue is Asian-inspired and doesn’t serve bread, noodles, or rice! It’s a smart 2-star Michelin star place and it wasn’t going to be cheap so we “only” opted for the 4-course menu, a few customised pieces, and loads of champagne and bottles of wine! So if you’re looking for “finer” items, or that special meal in Berlin, you know where to go LOL!
10. Finally, I’m not going to leave this post without talking about street food which can be found at any Christmas Market all across the country. The very highlight of every German Christmas Market all over the world is hot mulled wine or “Glühwein.”
For those of you who have a really strong alcoholic tendency, I also recommend a traditional rum-filled type of mulled wine. It’s put in a huge canister, filled with huge lumps of sugarloaf or “Zuckerhut,” soaked in rum, set on fire, and dripped into cups and glasses. It’s called – “Feuerzangenbowle” and is an absolute killer!
I had a cup once and I literally fell to the floor! It’s strong stuff and as I’m a bit of a light weight when it comes to the matter of strong alcohol, I can only manage half a cup. After a heavy meal of stodge!
For more info about the German Christmas market, read my previous post right here!
This article is not sponsored and all opinions, saucy sausages and sparkly glasses of champagne, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you, so next week I will be revealing my plans for 2015 and travelling to Amsterdam, in Holland!
So many amazing things are going to happen in 2015!
Have a fabulous time and I’ll see you next year!
Watch this space!
Have you ever been to Germany? Have you ever had German food? Do you think German food is all stodge and no substance?
See you in Berlin.
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