Monday, 19 December 2011

A weekend in Germany

A few thoughts on Germany. The people are very pleasant, everywhere is very clean, everything is very efficient and the food although fairly basic is very good. Oh, and the war finished 66 years ago in case any of you are still harbouring a grudge! This was about my 8th trip to Germany, the 2nd to include the famous xmas markets. The country offers great value and is full of amazing history, architecture, scenery and pork!

Anyway, this is a food blog not a travel journal so let's get down to what Hannover / Germany has to offer. Most of the dishes are meat orientated with pork dominant. There are no fancy sauces, jus or emulsions nor any timbales, paves or confits. What you get is good, solid home cooked food and plenty of it. A main course is usually enough to feed an army (don't mention the war). Pork is served a million different ways, so if you're a vegetarian, jewish, muslim etc, maybe try France! A couple of classics are Schnitzel, pork escalopes that fill the plate coated in breadcrumbs with various toppings and the knuckle of pork (see below) which makes Mike Tyson's fists look small.

The meat is never dry, exudes flavour and is usually served with the infamous sauerkraut but also delicious saute potatoes, fried with onions and bacon. Another winner is the suckling pig served in a dark beer sauce. For a real cosy meal in a typical German setting, check this place out. Of course the beer is good too, I'm not a lager drinker by trade but the firewater here is pure, not full of fizzy chemicals and tastes great.

The other thing that the Germans love is kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake). The average bakery is strasses, sorry I mean streets above the English ones, everything is fresh and the choices are endless. The more salubrious places are full of style, mouthwatering gateaux and all sorts of coffees / hot chocolate drinks, invariably laced with alcohol. This little offering below is a gooseberry cake whereby the fruit is caramelized and sandwiched between a soft biscuit base and sponge and topped off with sweet meringue which perfectly offsets the sharpness of the berries.

Apart from the array of cafes and restaurants, the Xmas markets present an abundance of food stalls. Ok, it's not quite Borough Market but it's far from Romford Market too. The bratwurst (hot dog) which are almost a foot long are meaty and taste like how sausages should. The soups are thick and hearty and the hams/fish are smoked perfectly. To finish things off, there are waffles, crepes, gingerbread, fruit dipped in chocolate and barrels of gluhwein to wash it all down. So leave the diet at home, sample what a traditional Christmas feels like and give Germany a try one year.

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