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Germany

German Cuisine: More Than Just Sausages and Beer

Rumor has it that the German diet consists entirely of meat and potatoes -- all washed down with beer, of course. While there is a grain of truth there, German cuisine is in fact quite diverse.

Thuringian sausages, with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut

A full Thuringian roast sausage dinner is not for light eaters

No doubt about it, Germany counts as a high-potato-consumption country. According to tradition, meat, a dark sauce and some potatoes make a meal. You like filling foods? Then you’ll love German cooking. Roasts, pig knuckle, ham hocks -- these high-calorie specialties can be found on many German menus.

Sign reading 'hot pizza' (heisse pizza) in German

Pizza came to Germany with Italian immigrants

Fortunately, however, there is no one single “German” cuisine. Every region has its specialties. The Rhineland is known for its Sauerbraten -- traditionall, marinated braised horsemeat. In northern Germany they serve a dish called Labskaus -- a mixture of corned beef, potatoes, pickled herring, red beets and onions, with a fried egg on top for good measure.

Multi-culti is in

Lower Saxony is the home of kale with pinkel, a kind of spicy sausage. Thuringia is known for dumplings, and also for tiny little roast sausages known as Thuringian bratwurst. Bavaria is known for its Weisswurst, or white veal sausages, that are traditionally eaten with a doughy pretzel before 11 a.m. And that’s just the best-known specialties. There are countless variations.

Meanwhile, as Germany grows more multicultural, so do its menus. After all, the country is home to more than a million foreigners. First there were the Italian immigrants, who brought the Germans things like pizza and spaghetti.

Vintner looking at a glass of wine

Germany makes great wines as well as beer

Now, in addition to Turkish doener and gyros snack stands, foreign restaurants cover cuisines from Asia to Latin America and everywhere in between. Sometimes a fusion restaurant will get creative, offering German-foreign mixes like potato-curry-dumplings with schnitzel, or bean stew with ginger.

Beer, beer and more beer

Yet sometimes stereotypes do hit home. Beer remains Germany’s favorite drink, so it is no wonder there are more than a thousand varieties here. Brewing has a long tradition in the country. Germany’s beer purity law was proclaimed on April 23, 1516, making it the oldest food law in the world.

Germany is also known for its wine production. There are a number of wine regions in the country, but the most famous are in the Rhine, Main, Mosel, Saal and Elbe river valleys. Germany is best known for its white wines, like Silvaner and Mueller-Thurgau. Its reds, like Dornfelder and Spaetburgunder, are also popular internationally.

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