Germany

Why Germany?

Liam chose Germany because his paternal grandfather was German. No other reason needed!

My experience of Germany

The only German city I have been to is Berlin, and I loved it.

My most enduring memory is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It is one of the most melancholy and awe-inspiring places I have ever been to. There are no euphemisms here – “murder” is the word that is used. We also went to the Memorial to the German Resisters, which included a plaque on a brick wall that people had been stood in front of and executed. It was haunting, chilling, emotional and so very, very sad. All kudos to the German people for not hiding this regretful part of their history!

But Berlin is so much more than the Reichstag and sadness and retrospection. It was lovely sipping mulled wine at the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Zoo is amazing, and seeing parts of the Berlin Wall was a great experience.

Preparation

Browsing the internet for German recipes, I began to think that it might be a bit crazy to eat lots of wonderful German comfort food in an Australian summer. But then I came across a recipe for Black Forest cake. I am not waiting six months to bake and eat a Black Forest cake!

The menu planning has been going really well.

I found a recipe for soft pretzels, and got to wondering how to shape them. Here’s a great You Tube link that shows how. They are now made, shaped and frozen, waiting to be cooked on the day.

The Black Forest cake is also baked and in the freezer, waiting to be assembled for devouration on 28 January (I think I made up a word there!).

I’ve also bottled a jar of sauerkraut, which worries me more than a little. I have never, ever had any success with preserving (not once, ever), so do not have a lot of faith in what we might end up with. I normally don’t cave into worrying too much about what might go wrong but have bought a pouch of sauerkraut, just in case.

Last weekend I did a trial run of kasespatzle. I remember watching MasterChef one night and the judges were amazed that one of the contestants made spatzle the traditional way, by cutting bits of dough off the board straight into the boiling water. Another visit to You Tube showed me how to make it with a special maker, which I had no intention of buying for this one occasion. More digging around found a clip that used a slotted spoon, so I gave that a try last weekend. So, so, so very yummy! That recipe is a keeper, for sure!

Other food on the menu is Bratkartoffeln (pan-fried potatoes), rouladen (which looks a bit like beef olives) and sauerbraten (which is a pot roast). And I’m about to head off to the shops to do some hunting and gathering of bratwurst sausages.

My shopping list includes 27 pieces of bacon. All that bacon! How can this not be the most delicious feast ever?

Do you know it’s not punishable by law to escape from prison in Germany? It’s in the fact sheet below. I read it on the internet so it must be true 😉

27 January 2018

It has turned out as I feared – we’ll be eating good German winter comfort in a predicted 39 degrees with high humidity. Oh, well, c’est la vie (oops – wrong language, wrong country!). What is that German word that I could use here? I can’t remember how it starts, or even the loose translation of it, but I’m sure there is a German word for it.

I’ve done as much cooking as I can today so that we don’t overheat tomorrow. The purist in me doesn’t like to cook food the day before and reheat it, but the realist in me doesn’t want to have the oven and all four gas burners on with a house full of people in 39 degrees.

The sauerbraten has been cooked and is waiting to be sliced and the gravy poured over it. The rouladen is cooking. The ingredients for the bratkartoffeln have all been prepared. The pretzels are in the freezer. And the black forest cake is in the fridge soaking in all the juice from the cherries that have soaked overnight in kirsch. All that has to be done from scratch tomorrow is the spatzle.

I’ll dash up to the shops in the morning and get some crushed ice to put the drinks in (and to put in the drinks!). My poor little fridge won’t be able to cope with the drinks we’ll need. And we all know how very important it is to stay hydrated in hot weather!

And because it’s going to be so hot, we’ll have to eat inside. The upside of this is that I’ve been able to set the table today and not worry about things blowing away.

It’s looking good!

The menu

Our menu is:

  • Bratwurst
  • Saurbraten (German pot roast)
  • Kasespatzle (egg noodles)
  • Bratkartoffeln (pan-fried potatoes)
  • Soft pretzels
  • Rouladen
  • Sauerkraut
  • Black Forest Cake

Here are the recipes for our faves – Germany best recipes

Click here to see all our favourite recipes.

Lunch in Germany, Sunday 28 January 2018

Danke, Germany. You are superb.

Yes, it was too bakingly hot to even look outside and, yes, I had cooked good, hearty, winter German food. But how delicious was that food???? Omigosh. Will even went so far as to say that Germany was better than Japan. Now, that is a seriously big call. Japan had blitzed the others by a long shot.

The rouladen and sauerbraten were delicious, the spatzle and the potatoes were impossible to resist, and the pretzels turned out really well. But, for me, the highlight was the black forest cake. Chocolate cake, cherries soaked in kirsch, coffee and kirsch flavoured icing, kirsch-flavoured cream and fresh cherries. Seriously, what is there not to love about black forest cake.

I’m so glad I bought some sauerkraut – mine was awful. I followed the recipe oh so carefully, and thought there was a lot of salt in it as I was going. And there was – it was fairly gruesome!

The drinks

The drinks for Germany have been the easiest so far, but that might be because I was not responsible for any of them. Viv and Bill brought a couple of bottles of Henkell Trocken, which is one of the nicest of the drinks we are not allowed to call champagne anymore. And Lauren and Will brought a slab of Bitburger beer. Nice work, Lauren!

Jan brought what must be the biggest beer stein in the world, and Will brought a Bitburger stein. Lauren brought some Fanta for Liam. Liam loves Fanta but he’s not allowed to have it very often. Did you know that Fanta originated in Germany? I didn’t know that but Liam must have – he’s the one who chose Germany.

The ambience

After sating ourselves with wonderful food and making sure that we were staying hydrated (as you must do in hot weather), we settled in for a round of Scattegories.  I love playing Scattergories. Even more, I love taunting Will while I’m playing Scattergories.

The music was great as well and added to the ambience of the day. I found a Spotify playlist of German Music at Okterberfest that played some good rollicking German drinking songs, even the more popular words to Living next door to Alice. It was fabulous!

The quiz

Will won the quiz. Again.

Thanks Jan, for doing the questions. In response to popular demand, I have posted below a copy of the questions in case anyone wants to test their knowledge. Just remember that the questions are drawn only from the factsheet and placemat, and the information on them is drawn from random websites, and I am not putting any veracity in any of that information.

Here’s the factsheet – Factsheet_Germany

Here’s the place-mat – Place-mat_Germany

And here’s the quiz – Quiz_Germany

Danke, Germany. You are superb.

Thanks again, Liam, for choosing Germany. It was awesome!

Where to next?

For now, it is Auf Wiedersehen to Germany, and Ciao to Italy. We’ll be in Italy on 18 February. See you there!

 Schadenfreude. That’s the word I was after.

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