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FOOD & DRINK

Spaghetti ice cream to wobbly Peter: Why we love Germany’s sweet summer snacks

In summer, Germany offers no small variety of sweet snacks to cool your pallet and soothe your sweat glands. Here is our guide to the best of them.

Spaghetti-Eis stands on the shelf of the ice cream counter at the
Spaghetti-Eis stands on the shelf of the ice cream counter at the "Intermezzo" ice cream café in Mannheim in 2019. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Uwe Anspach

If there’s one thing Germans enjoy, it’s eating with the seasons. From Spargelzeit (asparagus season) in late spring, to the mountains of Lebkuchen (Gingerbread biscuits) which can be found in households during the long winters, foods have their time and place.

When it comes to summer there is plenty of choice, from healthy seasonal vegetables to tasty picnic food. Here are some of our favourite sweet snacks enjoyed by Germans during the summer months.

Spaghetti-Eis

What could be better than ice cream? No, really, what could be better than creamy cold sugary yummyness in delicious flavours on a hot day? Nothing. Nothing at all. Hmm but maybe… what about ice cream in the shape of spaghetti?

Seriously, we love this idea, which was brought to Germany by Dario Fontanella, Mannheim’s answer to Willy Wonka.

The ice cream factory owner reportedly came up with the concept in 1969. Spaghetti Eis is made by putting vanilla ice cream through a chilled Spätzle press to create ice cream noodles.

The fake pasta is then arranged on whipped cream and topped with strawberry ‘tomato’ sauce and finely chopped ‘parmesan’ white chocolate.

Nowadays, you’ll find it in lots of ice cream parlours across Germany, including variations such as a chocolate and hazelnut ‘carbonara’. 

Fontanella, whose family emigrated to Germany from a town outside Venice in 1932, has previously said he just wanted to recreate the Italian national dish.

Thank you Dario Fontanella for giving us your pasta ice cream creation.

Dario Fontanella makes Spaghetti Eis. Photo: DPA

Zwetschgenkuchen

Another favourite of the Germans during the light evenings and lazy summer days is the Zwetschgenkuchen, a cake made with plums known as Zwetschge.

Germans will not forgive you for mixing up Zwetschgen, which are damson-like, small and oval, with regular Pflaumen, which are larger and rounder. 

We don’t really understand the difference but we do know that this cake is delicious and if you take it along to a picnic you’ll be loved by your friends. 

We recommend you try it with whipped cream and coffee. 

No, you’re drooling! The inimitable Zwetschgenkuchen. Photo: DPA 

Rote Grütze

Summer is the time of berries so who are we to argue with a delicious dessert that is basically berry soup?

The Rote Grütze is a traditional northern German dessert and is perfect for the summer months when the Erdbeeren (strawberries) and Heidelbeeren (blueberries) are in full flow. It also includes blackberries, cherries and raspberries which are heated up and topped with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or ice cream. 

It’s the perfect quick dessert if you’re having friends over and want to impress… or if you just want to treat yourself to a homemade dessert to enjoy on your balcony or in your garden this summer.

The Rote Grütze in all its glory. Photo: DPA

Welfenspeise

Ok, fair warning, this one is only for the brave-hearted or stonkingly well-integrated among you. A bizarre concoction of eggs, wine and lemon, this was invented two hundred years ago for the Hanoverian aristocrats of the House of Welf, distant relatives of the British royal family. It is made up of two layers, the lower of which is a white foam of beaten egg whites, which is then topped with a yellow sauce made of egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar and dry white wine. It is then cooled to form one, yoghurt-like dessert in yellow and white, the heraldic colours of the House of Welf.  

The culinary pride of Lower Saxony, it is safe to say that Welfenspeise did not export quite as well as the Hanoverian nobles themselves. But if you are feeling brave, or if you have some eggs you need to use up, then why not cool down with a weird and wonderful Welfenspeise? 

Yellow and white just like the Welfs. But can you stomach it? Photo: Deposit Photos

Götterspeise

Literally meaning “food of the gods”, this jelly is also known as Wackelpudding or Wackelpeter (wobbly Peter). Essentially just the glorious, gelatinous, e-number-rich phenomenon known to the Anglo-Saxon world as jello or jelly, Götterspeise has a special place in the hearts of all sweet-toothed Germans. 

Often served with cream or vanilla sauce, one of the most popular flavours in Germany is woodruff, or Waldmeister. What seems bizarre to the outside world is a common flavouring in Germany, and has lead to translation issues in many a German bar or restaurant. 

Woodruff and Wackelpudding. Totally normal. Photo: Deposit Photos

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CULTURE

Beckmann self-portrait breaks German auction record

A self-portrait by expressionist artist Max Beckmann smashed the record price for a painting sold at auction in Germany, when it was put before buyers in Berlin on Thursday.

Beckmann self-portrait breaks German auction record

As the hammer came down, the highest bid for Beckmann’s “Selbstbildnis gelb-rosa” (Self-Portrait Yellow-Pink) stood at 20 million euros ($21 million).

Beckmann’s work, which features the artist during his Dutch exile from Nazi Germany, is widely considered a masterpiece.

The sum was “the highest price that has ever been offered for a painting”, auctioneer Markus Krause told the room to applause.

Including fees, the price of the self-portrait will come to €23.2 million, according to the auction house Grisebach.

The previous German record was set in 2018 by another of Beckmann’s works, “Die Ägypterin” (The Egyptian Woman), which fetched €4.7 million.

READ ALSO: Art in Germany: 10 critically acclaimed galleries you can’t miss

The record price for a painting by the artist was set in 2017 when his work “Hölle der Vögel” (Bird’s Hell) — among Beckmann’s most important anti-Nazi statements  – sold at Christie’s in London in 2017 for £36 million.

Beckmann’s self-portrait was initially a gift to his wife Mathilde, known as Quappi, who kept it until her death in 1986. The picture had been in a private Swiss collection for decades, and not shown in public since the mid-1990s.

The painting was displayed behind glass at a public preview ahead of the auction to guard against vandalism by climate activists who have recently been targeting artworks.

Beckmann (1884-1950) enjoyed massive acclaim in Germany during his lifetime, with top dealers placing his work with private collectors and major institutions.

That was until the Nazi regime labelled his daring, politically charged art “degenerate” and removed his paintings from German museums in 1937.

READ ALSO: Germany returns final Nazi-looted artwork from pensioner’s trove

Professionally thwarted and increasingly under threat, Beckmann left for Amsterdam, where he lived in self-exile for a decade before moving to the United States.

Beckmann would ultimately die in New York at the age of 66, of a heart attack on a sidewalk on his way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Paintings by Beckmann, now considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century, have exploded in value in recent decades.

The most paid for an artwork this year was $195 million, for an iconic portrait of Marilyn Monroe by American pop art visionary Andy Warhol.

The bumper price tag is the second largest all-time behind Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”, which sold in 2017 for $450.3 million.

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