Food in Germany surprised me. I didn’t take to the things I purposely came to eat and I loved some really unexpected dishes. I chased salads and wine instead of my beloved beer and sausage. Here’s what clicked — and what didn’t.
Best Things I Ate In Germany
Hands down the best meal I had in Germany was at the restaurant called Heiliggeist, in Mainz. Here’s the deal: it was so friggin’ hot during my trip, that I was always craving something light and cool for my meals. Salads, mostly. Now, German idea of a salad is usually a few gigantic leaves of lettuce with a quartered tomato and a few chunks of cucumber on top. Not exactly refined or creative. Which is why I was so, so, so excited when I got my salad at Heiliggeist – complete with finely sliced strawberries, radishes, blobs of mozzarella and the most tender grilled chicken breast ever, all mixed with the traditional garden fare. Add to it the chilled yogurt-dill soup and freezing-cold Apfelwein, and this was the best dining experience of my trip.
One of the main reasons I read travel blogs before my trips is to find out the best food spots in any place. That’s how I learned about IIMORI, Frankfurt’s French-Japanese bakery and restaurant. The place is supposed to serve an amazing buffet lunch, but I was a bit early for that. Instead, I grabbed a sweet curry puff (curry pan) and a green melon cookie (Melon Pan, sticking out on the right side of the top photo ) to go. That cookie was one of the most amazing desserts I have ever had! Sweet but not too sweet, soft and moist dough on the inside under that glistening shell, and a flavor like I haven’t tasted in a dessert before. My only regret was that I was already many blocks away by the time I unwrapped and tried my find, otherwise I would have gone back for a whole bag of them.
Schnitzel has never been my thing – I like my meat like it’s just been running around, be it beef burger or pork shashlik. All the schnitzels I have tried have been dry, hard, thin, low on meat and high on breadcrumbs. That is, until I ordered a salad with pork schnitzel at a restaurant hidden away in Wispertal (Whisper River Valley), near Rhine. It was soooo good! Hearty comfort food done right, with a salad (well, giant chunks of veggies) and TWO tangy, creamy sauces on the side to boot! Of all the traditional German specialties, this was the one I liked the most.
What is it with German things ending in a -tzel? I always thought that pretzels were one of the worst iterations of bread – at least in the US and Russia they are. I’d never even think to buy a pretzel unless dying of hunger. So there I was, in a Munich supermarket, loading up on #sanctioned soft cheeses and hard salamis, when I hit the check-out counter and realized that I have no bread to go with them. Which was basically the equivalent of dying of hunger (ok, I was really hungry, and too lazy to go back and look for something better). Surprise — German pretzel is a total bready awesomeness that goes well with sausage, cheese, and by itself.
Thank goodness for the schnitzel and the pretzel, otherwise I would be short on good things to say about my German food experience and might not be allowed back into that awesome country ever again. It’s not like the things I ate were bad, but that I didn’t like the local treatment of things I usually love: pork, sausages, potatoes and cabbage. Most of those dishes were pretty basic, bland and heavy (sorry! I ❤ you, Deutschland!). I’m sorry, but a huge roast sausage with ketchup and some curry powder does not impress me. Maybe it tastes better when sitting by the fire in the dead of winter?