Although German food isn't universally applauded, there are some exceptional restaurants in Germany, with a couple awarded Michelin stars. Germans use healthy ingredients that can be heavy for light eaters. We've developed a list of top German gourmet items and their uses for people who want to experience the delightful world of German cuisine.
Top German Gourmet Items and How to Use Them
Juniper berries are essential to the gin-making process. They give gin its piney flavor. Juniper berries improve the taste of meats like duck and goose and alcoholic beverages. Germany's beautiful woodlands produce millions of berries, which explains their popularity in sauerkraut.
In Germany, mustard (senf) is among the most used condiments. Mustards come in various flavors and heat levels, making them an ideal condiment to complement any dish. Every German kitchen contains mustard, from sweet and sour to spicy, for wurst and bretzels.
German cuisine uses white and red cabbage. Sauerkraut—finely shredded cabbage pickled—is the most popular. Red cabbage is sweeter, but it can be cooked in sauerkraut style. It's also cooked alongside apples.
In Germany, October is the time to try the first wines of the season. In the south, federweisser und zwiebelkuchen is a well-known dish (fermented white wine with onion tart).
Federweisser means "feather white" in German. It is produced by mixing yeast in grapes, which speeds up the fermentation process. It is quite easily one of the top German gourmet items.
Marzipan is dessert consisting of sugar and roughly crushed almonds. You may use it as a filling in pastries or eat it as it is after molding it like little fruits and veggies. It's used in classic delicacies like simnel and stollen cakes. It can be shaped into Christmas ornaments as well.
Unlike popular belief, schnitzel does not refer to a specific kind of meat. It is a thin, boneless cut of meat, like a cutlet, that could or could not be crumbed and fried. Pork schnitzel is the most popular variety of Schnitzel and is one of the top German gourmet items.
In Germany, there are approximately 1,500 different types of sausages. Sausage is an important German gourmet item and is frequently the main dish's highlight. Among the most popular kinds are Leberwurst, Brunswick Mettwurst, and Weisswurst.
Despite its resemblance to cottage cheese, Germans would take offense if you referred to quark in that way. It is a fresh cheese with little complexity and is prepared without rennet. That's why you'll find it in many different contexts, from savory to sweet, as spreads, and even in salads. It is one of the ultimate German gourmet items.
The most common types of meat eaten in Germany are pork, beef, and chicken. Germans refer to beef as Rindfleisch. While many beef dishes, including roasts and stews, have a braised beef topping, others, like Bienenstich Kuchen, are filled with custard.
Kartoffeln, or potatoes, are a true staple of German gourmet cuisine. Several potato-centric dishes, such as Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), Kartoffelsalat (potato salad), and Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings), have become woven into the history of Germany's culinary heritage.
Recipes Using Top German Gourmet Items
Follow these recipes to make quick, easy, and delicious German gourmet meals:
Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups panko
- 2 tsp capers
- 3 eggs (beaten)
- 4 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless, butterflied, and lightly pounded)
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
- 1/2 cup oil (canola)
- 1 tbsp parsley (chopped)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
1. Separate the eggs, flour, and panko into three small dishes—season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken with flour, dip it in the eggs, and dredge it in panko.
2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in two big skillets. Cook the chicken for 3 minutes on each side over moderate heat, rotating once, till light golden and crispy. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and season with salt before transferring it to a platter.
3. In the meantime, melt the butter for 4 minutes over moderate heat until nutty and fragrant.
4. Lastly, toss the parsley and capers, and add lemon juice.
5. Pour over the chicken and serve.
- ½ gallon or 8 cups buttermilk (whole)
- 1 cup whipping cream (heavy)
1. Preheat the oven to 95 degrees C.
2. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and set it in the sink over a big pot.
3. Slowly mix cream and buttermilk in a ceramic casserole dish.
4. Place the dish in the oven and cook for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
5. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the sieve and drain it for 45 to 60 minutes.
6. Move the drained cheese from the cheesecloth to a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat it until it is soft and creamy.
7. When done, put it in the refrigerator until further use.
Tips: You can make a basic Krauter quark by adding onion, fresh chives, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. This can make a perfect spread for your bread or roll.
Let the buttermilk drain for longer if you want to use it in a cheesecake.
Sautéed German Sausages With Bacon, Juniper Berries, and Apple Sauerkraut
- 1/4 cup oil (vegetable)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 5 ounces bacon (thick-cut, 1/2-inch pieces)
- 2 tbsp white wine (off-dry)
- 12 juniper berries
- 1 sweet apple (peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 4 bay leaves
- Kosher salt
- Ground pepper
- 2 1/2 pounds sauerkraut (rinsed, drained, and squeezed dry)
- 12 sausages (bratwurst or weisswurst)
- Grainy mustard
1. Heat half of the oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the bacon and sauté for approximately five minutes, or until the fat has melted and the bacon is crunchy. Remove the bacon and place it on a dish lined with paper towels.
2. Add the chopped onion to the skillet, partially cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring periodically, until it softens. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add apple, juniper berries, sugar, bay leaves, sugar, salt, pepper, and wine, and bring to a boil. Let cook for 3 minutes.
3. Add sauerkraut and water and lower the heat. Cook covered until the apple softens, for approximately 45 minutes.
4. Heat the remaining oil until hot. Prick the sausages with a fork and cook over medium heat, often flipping, until browned and cooked, for around 8 minutes.
5. Serve the sausages on top of the sauerkraut with the bacon and mustard on the side.
Spicy Beer Mustard
- 1/2 cup mustard seeds (black)
- 1/2 cup mustard seeds (yellow)
- 1 cup ground mustard
- 1 1/2 cups malt vinegar
- 2 cups beer, (dark flovor, e.g., doppelbock)
- 5 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp salt
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp allspice (ground)
1. Mix the vinegar, 1 1/2 cups of beer, and the mustard seeds (yellow and black) in a medium bowl. Refrigerate overnight while covered.
2. Next, mix the leftover 1/2 cup of beer with salt, brown sugar, honey, turmeric, and allspice in a saucepan and boil.
3. Turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool down before putting it in a blender.
4. Add in the mustard seeds and ground mustard with the soaking liquid. Blend to make a puree.
5. Fill a glass jar with the blended mustard.
6. Leave covered in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours before serving.
- 8 oz Marzipan
- 7 oz milk or dark chocolate (chopped)
- 4 oz white chocolate (chopped)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1. Put wax paper on a small baking sheet that can fit in your fridge.
2. Chop the milk or dark chocolate and put the pieces in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave it for 20–30 seconds intervals, stirring after every break, until it is melted. Mix the coconut oil or butter in the bowl if you want a glossy coating.
3. Use a fork to dip the marzipan balls in melted chocolate, allowing any excess to drip, and set them on a wax paper-lined tray.
4. When you've finished coating all the marzipan balls, place the tray in the fridge to speed up the hardening of the chocolate.
5. When the chocolate has solidified, soften the white chocolate in the same way. Drizzle white chocolate in horizontal lines over the chocolate-covered marzipan.
6. Finally, put the truffles back in the fridge so the white chocolate can harden.
Swabian Potato Salad - Restaurant-style Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 3 pounds small, yellow-fleshed potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled
- 4 tsp beef bouillon granules mixed in 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 3/4 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp Essig Ezzenz
- 3/4 tsp white pepper (Ground)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp German mustard (mild)
- 1/3 cup oil (any neutral-tasting)
- Chives (freshly chopped for garnish)
1. Boil potatoes in salted water with their skins on until they are soft. Let them cool down until they are easy to handle. Peel and cut them into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick and place them in a mixing bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine onions, vinegar, beef broth, sugar, salt, pepper, and mustard and put on medium-high heat.
3. When the mixture starts boiling, turn off the heat and pour it over the sliced potatoes. Cover the bowl and let the potatoes sit in the hot mixture for an hour.
4. Next, carefully whisk in the oil and add salt and pepper. If it is runny, serve using a slotted spoon.
5. Lastly, garnish with finely chopped fresh chives before serving.
Oktoberfest Red Cabbage
- 3 tbsp canola oil or bacon drippings
- 1 small red cabbage (shredded)
- 2 tart apples (medium, peeled, and chopped)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
1. First, heat bacon grease over moderate heat.
2. Cook the apples and cabbage for 2-3 minutes while stirring.
3. Next, add water, cloves, salt, pepper, and sugar, and bring the mix to a boil.
4. Turn down the heat and let the cabbage simmer, covered, for 40–45 minutes, or until it is soft.
5. Finally, stir in vinegar and dish out to serve.
Tips For Using German Gourmet Items
- Sausage, sauerkraut, and beer are the cornerstones of authentic German cuisine and are a reason for national pride.
- Cabbage is the German culinary equivalent of the head.
- Due to the high quality of the beer served during the yearly Oktoberfest celebration, visitors from worldwide flock to the event.
- Beer is a great ingredient in salad dressing. Try serving roasted parsnips with a vinaigrette prepared from a wheat beer, along with blue cheese and hazelnuts. You can make any vinaigrette taste better by adding a few tablespoons of your favorite white beer (witbier).
- Vegetables are fillers or side dishes in German recipes like casseroles and soups.
- Spicy or strongly seasoned foods are uncommon in German cuisine.
- Mustard is one of the elite German gourmet items. You can incorporate it into a salad dressing, a basic pan sauce, or the spice rub you often use for meat.