German cuisine has evolved as a national food through centuries of social and political change with variations from region to region. The southern regions of Germany, including Bavaria and neighboring Swabia, share many dishes. Ingredients and dishes vary by region. Many significant regional dishes have become international, but have proliferated in very different variations across the country. German cuisine is, above all, diverse. In other words, there’s something to suit every taste.
German cuisine may be simple, but it delivers big flavors on heaping plates. What it misses in elegance it more than makes up for in tradition, heartiness and the enjoyment of all who share it.
As with most countries, it’s difficult to generalize and identify a core cuisine. Dishes, techniques and ingredients vary greatly between provinces, from the weisswurst (white sausage) of Munich- traditionally eaten only in the morning- to the aalsuppe (sweet/sour soup of meat broth, dried fruits and vegetables) of Hamburg.
Meat is undeniably the cornerstone of German cooking. Pork is king, with poultry and a range of game meats also popular. Aside from the rich pot-roasted meat dishes, such as Sauerbraten (beef or venison marinated in vinegar for several days before being pot-roasted), it is the sausage that best demonstrates the diversity of the German palate and the importance of meat to their culinary identity. While the Germans may not have invented sausages, they certainly adopted the art as their own. It would be impossible to count the varieties of ‘wurst’ available in Germany, but estimates place it at over 1500.
Let’s not forget the drinking. Aside from some excellent wines, German beer is world famous and a key part of the country's history and culture. With over 1,200 breweries, from the North Sea to the Alps, 5,000 different kinds of beer flow on tap.
Fish also forms a significant part of the German culinary landscape, with trout the most common. Potatoes, whether mashed, boiled, buttered, rolled into balls, sliced and fried, grated and fried or cut into chips appear on most German plates. But noodles are also popular, particularly the local spätzle. Breads vary almost as much as sausages do, with light ryes, dark ryes, whole meal, black bread (such as pumpernickel), sourdough and whole seeds available in limitless combinations.
Germany is also a cake-loving nation. Every afternoon around three, Torte or Kuchen is a ritual pick-me-up, and the most famous of all is the legendary Black Forest Cake.
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