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Cuisine of Germany

Each of the Länder (states) in Germany has its own culinary specialities as do many towns and even some villages.

A common feature of traditional German eating habit is the fact that usually lunch (Mittagessen), not supper (Abendbrot), is the main meal of the day. Supper tends to consist of slices of rye bread with cold sausage and/or cheese, and maybe some fresh salads. Modern living, with many people being unable to come home for lunch, has changed this arrangement to some extent.

Frühstück (breakfast) is usually either wheat rolls or toast with jam or honey served with a coffee or tea. Muesli or other processed cereals eaten with milk are also popular. In hotels, sliced cheeeses, smoked hams, hard boiled eggs and fresh fruits will often be available in addition.

In general, the use of sugar in dishes other than desserts and sweets is very unusual in northern Germany, but more common in the south.

Staple dishes are potatoes, rye and wheat breads, and noodles, which unlike Italian pasta are usually made with eggs.

Among meats, pork is most popular, but beef (normally veal), chicken, mutton and turkey are also much used. Lamb and goat on the other hand are not very popular. Horse meat is considered a local specialty in some regions but looked at with disgust in others. Game animals, paticularly wild pig and venison are widely available in season as are the game birds with pheasant and wild duck being the most consumed. Eggs, milk and many varieties of sweetened and soured creams are also used extensively.

Among vegetables, carrots, turnips, onions, leek, celery, fennel, cucumbers, tomatoes, vegetable peppers, spinach, green peas, many varieties of beans, cabbage, and lettuce are just a few of the many that are in common use.

Local grown condiments are mostly restricted to mustard and horseradish, but many others have been imported in large quantities since the Middle Ages. Garlic went out of fashion in the mid-twentieth century but has recovered its poularity due to the influence of french and italian cooking.

Among drinks, many varietes of beer are popular, foremost among them the originally Czech Pils first brewed at Pilzen, but also Kölsch named from Köln Cologne , Altbier from the Düsseldorf area, Berliner Weiße from Berlin, and Weitzenbier (wheat beer) from Bavaria. Other traditional drinks include cold milk, naturally or artificially carbonated mineral waters, and in southern Germany wines, of which the dry and fresh tasting white Hocks made with Riesling or Sylvaner grapes are probably the most popular with foreigners.

In the morning, most Germans prefer coffee; only in Eastern Frisia (Ostfrieland) in the exteme northwest of Germany is tea more common. Cocoa is widely drunk by children.

Specialties by region:

Bavaria "Bayern"

Bremen Franken Frankfurt am Main and Hessen Palatinate (Pfalz) Saarland

Thuringia (Thüringen)

Other famous German dishes: Today, many originally Italian dishes, like the ubiquitous Spaghetti Bolognese and pizza, are also very widespread in Germany, often adapted to the local taste. Fast food sold in Germany is often of Turkish origin today and is sold by Turkish immigrants, for example Döner Kebab, which sells twice as much as the large hamburger chains taken together. Greek food is widely available and popular. Indian, Chinese and other oriental cuisines are rapidly gaining in public esteem.

See also: cuisine, cooking.