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Unraveling German food culture

written by
Natasha Machado
4/6/2024
Read in
5 min
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Germany is famous for its sausages, sauerkraut, and beer, but the country's cuisine is much more diverse and delicious than these stereotypes suggest. As an international student, exploring Germany's vibrant food culture is an essential part of immersing yourself in local life and expanding your gastronomic horizons. Discover what, where, and when Germans eat, and learn how to make the most of your culinary journey.

Beyond clichés: exploring regional culinary diversity

While dishes like currywurst and sausages with sauerkraut are recognizable culinary icons, they only scratched the surface of rich and varied German cuisine. Each region of the country has its own distinct specialties and traditions, shaped by centuries of history, geography, and cultural influences. Some highlights include:

• Hearty Sauerbraten (marinated beef) and Reibekuchen (potato dumplings) from the Rhineland

• The refined Swabian Spätzel (dumplings) and Maultaschen (ravioli)

• The comforting Grünkohl (boiled cabbage) and Labskaus (meat and potato stew) from northern Germany

• The Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Stollen (fruitcake) pastries from Saxony

Ao Study and Work in Germany, not only will you savor new and exciting flavors, but you will also gain a deeper appreciation for the country's rich cultural heritage.

Planning your meals: traditions and daily rhythms

Germans generally structure their day around three main meals - breakfast (Frühstück), lunch (Mittagessen), and dinner (Abendessen) - with occasional afternoon snacks in between.

Breakfast is generally a time for fresh breads, cheeses, cold meats, eggs, cereals, and fruit. Many students take advantage of the breakfast offerings at the numerous local cafés and bakeries for a tasty and affordable start to the day.

For lunch, the most substantial meal, most people opt for a hot meal at the university cafeteria, workplace canteen, or nearby restaurant. Expect to find hearty dishes such as stews, roasts, or meatballs with side dishes such as potatoes, pasta, and vegetables.

Dinner tends to be a lighter, more casual occasion, often featuring breads with a variety of toppings, cold cuts, and salads. It's also a popular time to socialize, with many students getting together to cook and share a meal with friends or flatmates.

Shopping like a local: supermarkets, markets, and more

Food shopping in Germany is a varied and affordable experience, with options to suit all budgets and preferences. Most neighborhoods have a mix of:

• Full-service supermarkets with extensive selections of national and international products

• Discount chains like Aldi and Lidl, offering lower prices on basic products

• Weekly farmers' markets with fresh, seasonal produce directly from local producers

• Specialty stores such as butchers, fishmongers, and artisanal bakeries for high-quality items

Many grocery stores also offer well-stocked sections of organic, gluten-free, and vegan products to accommodate special diets and lifestyles. With a little exploration, you'll easily find your favorite stores to meet your culinary and budget needs.

Embracing the culture of coffee and cake

No discussion of German cuisine would be complete without mentioning the beloved tradition of Kaffee und Kuchen, or coffee and cake. This afternoon meal, usually enjoyed on weekends or on special occasions, is a time to relax, socialize, and satisfy a sweet tooth.

Bakeries and cafés across Germany offer a variety of cakes, pies, strudels, and other baked treats to accompany a cup of coffee or tea. From creamy cheesecakes to crispy fruit pies and rich chocolate cakes, there's a sweet treat for every taste.

Participating in a Kaffee und Kuchen is an excellent way to experience a cherished tradition, treat yourself, and connect with friends and family in a relaxed environment.

Discover your new favorite German food

Exploring Germany's diverse and delicious food culture is one of the joys of studying abroad. By keeping an open mind, an adventurous attitude, and a pinch of curiosity, you'll discover countless culinary delicacies to satisfy your taste buds and enrich your experience.

Be Easy

The team of Be Easy Exchange is here to guide you on your German gastronomic journey. With years of experience helping international students adapt to life in Germany, we offer personalized advice, tips, and support to make your transition smooth and tasty. From local restaurant recommendations to guidance on how to shop at grocery stores and markets, we're here to ensure you make the most of the exciting food culture of your new home. Get in touch today and get ready for an unforgettable dining adventure in Germany!

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Natasha D`Angelo
Founder e CEO, Be Easy
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