Germany is at the heart of a number of top river cruise itineraries, with towns and cities on some of the biggest rivers across the whole of Europe. And food is at the heart of Germany – it has some of the most famous local dishes around the world including a mix of snacks, full main dishes and desserts that despite having strong German ties are renowned the world over.
So take a look through a list of the top five different foods that you really should make the effort to try when you next visit Germany on a river cruise, whether you’re heading along the Rhine or discovering the Danube – they are all great options!
Apfelstrudel is apple strudel, served by the slice and warm as a dessert. It’s a delightful dish that features thin pastry wrapped in layers around apples that have been flavoured with sugar and cinnamon and occasionally raisins. The end result is a warming, flaky dish that has been popular as a dessert dish for many years in the country. It’s usually served with a sugar coating and can be accompanied by cream, fruits or other associated side dishes.
Brezel or Brez’n are pretzels, although they are significantly different to those found in America. They are soft and white baked products sometimes with salt or seeds added, and they act as a snack or a side dish. They are a popular bar snack to have with a beer too, and they are sold everywhere, so you’ll have no problems getting your hands on one if you want to give it a go. Try a buttered one, or with something like cheese or a cold meat added.
A simple yet popular dish, Kasespatzle translates as cheese egg noodle, which quite clearly explains the dish. It is a cheese noodle similar to macaroni, usually served with roasted onions either on top or mixed into the dish. The cheese is usually mild, making it a straight-forward and fairly universal option as a simple meal. Be careful though, it’s often served straight from the pan meaning it is extremely hot.
Schnitzel is one of those dishes that around the world may have more of a reputation for its name than the actual food itself. Schnitzel is a thin cut of meat, similar to an escalope or steak, that has been breaded. Weiner Schnitzel, possibly the most famous variation of the dish, is veal. You can have it served ‘Hamburg-style’, with a fried egg on top, or go extravagant with a Holsten-style option that not only includes the egg but also capers and anchovies.
A wurst is a sausage and there are many hundreds of different variations, so there’s not necessarily just one that I can recommend. The classic bratwurst is one of the simple examples, just a ground pork sausage spiced and fried, but there are so many others you could try, like currywurst (yes, it’s self-explanatory), and rostbratwurst which is usually served with sauerkraut, the renowned fermented cabbage dish.
I also want to give an honourable shout-out to lebkuchen, a beautiful gingerbread confectionery item that in my opinion works best when made with chocolate, though walnuts and dried fruits are also common.
By Ian Lewis