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.


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


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


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


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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‘Sandals mean freedom’: Eight tips on how to dress like a German

Germans have an international reputation for enjoying functional clothing. A top German fashion expert told The Local whether the stereotypes of German fashion are really true - and what Angela Merkel has to do with modern style.

‘Sandals mean freedom’: Eight tips on how to dress like a German

‘Comfortable and practical’

“It’s pretty easy to define German style,” says Bernhard Roetzel, the author of books on men’s fashion such as ‘Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion’. “Nowadays the basic dress of a grown-up man is mainly blue jeans, some kind of sweatshirt and an anorak. The shoes are usually comfortable sneakers. This is the basic German fashion that everyone from workers to doctors wears, and it is suitable for 90 percent of occasions.”

The basic theme, he says, is comfort and practicality. “That is very important.”

According to Roetzel, this love for the practical stretches all the way back into the 19th century when most other Europeans still had strict public dress codes.

“It began with a movement called Lebensreform, which valued things like vegetarianism and woollen clothes, which were supposed to be healthy,” he says.

“Even if Germans at the time didn’t like political freedom, they loved the freedom to wear sandals. Freedom for Germans is to wear sandals in places where it is not appropriate!”

A woman lies on the shore of the Schwarzachtalsee in Baden-Württemberg still wearing her sandals. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Thomas Warnack

Dressing down became even more acceptable after the First World War, when Germany became a republic and the aristocracy, with its formal sense of dress, lost its importance. “The Nazis also propagated being active outdoors,” Roetzel notes. “Fashion was seen as something awful created by the French and the Jews to bring about the downfall of German culture.”

When the craze for casual wear crossed the pond from the US in the 1960s, Germans were slow to adopt it. But now jeans are even standard clothing for septuagenarians, he says. “Twenty years after jeans arrived people started to realise that they are great for all occasions – and now everyone wears them. This was the last blow to formal German clothing.”

Dress down for work

The German love for all-purpose clothes means that it is perfectly appropriate to wear jeans to work, according to Roetzel. 

“If you don’t work in a bank or law firm you can probably wear jeans in most offices. A non-iron, short sleeve shirt is also very important. German men love these shirts, despite the fact that you get hot in them.”

You can even wear sneakers in the office. Or, if you have to look a bit smarter “some very cheap, comfortable leather shoes” will make you fit right in.

“In business, it is very important that you don’t stand out,” Roetzel advises. “If you are smartly dressed people will ask if you have an important meeting or will think you are looking for a pay rise. For everyday business, you dress as casually as possible.”

A woman cycles to work in jeans and a simple jacket in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Christin Klose

Nothing too sexy

Meanwhile, women’s workplace style, perhaps even more than men’s, is based on the principle of ‘the more forgettable the better.’

“Women in German business must not look too sexy,” says the fashion writer. “If you wear a skirt, for example, it should not be too short and heels should not be too high.” A “boxy, mouse grey suit” including a jacket that doesn’t complement one’s figure completes the look.

“Whereas in Italy, businesswomen carry Chanel bags, in Germany they usually carry a laptop bag or something very practical. Makeup is also rather reduced, not too much lipstick, nothing that is too obvious,” he says.

No door policy

Ties are basically a redundant piece of apparel in modern Germany, meaning wearing one really is a matter of choice in most settings.

“There are very few places where you are not allowed in if you don’t wear a tie,” says Roetzel. “I don’t know a single restaurant that wouldn’t admit you if you don’t wear a tie. You might not be allowed into Cologne Cathedral if your shorts are too short, but basically, you can wear everything everywhere and Germans love this!”

Funerals and weddings

Even the most formal occasions, such as weddings, funerals and important birthdays are much more informal events than they once were.

“At funerals, people will wear black but they rarely wear a black suit, most people will wear a black sweatshirt and jeans,” says Roetzel.

Copy Merkel

Angela Merkel’s unpretentious style appealed to Germans. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Fabian Sommer

Anyone looking for inspiration need look no further than recently retired German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who famously wore variations on the same trouser suit for most of her career.

“She had different colours and fabrics but that was her uniform and she also found her hairstyle and that was it. I don’t think she had a stylist,” Roetzel says. “That’s what Germans love. It’s recognizable and it doesn’t look expensive.”


“In Germany, one thing you should never admit to is wearing expensive, tailor-made clothes,” he explains. “As a politician, you can admit that you like drinking but you should never admit to having an expensive wardrobe.”

In fact, the cheaper the better. “Olaf Scholz has always earned a lot of money but his clothes are awful, his suits are awful – this is just perfect for Germany,” says Roetzel.

Splash the cash subtly (or on outdoor clothes)

This is not to say that all Germans wear cheap clothes, but they don’t make a big fuss about the brands that they do wear.

“People want to express status by wearing certain brands,” Roetzel points out. “But in Germany, this is done in a very subtle way. You will see small details in the clothes and glasses of a professor or doctor that will tell you a lot. Class exists but people hide their status because it is negative to show it off. This can be hard for foreigners to detect.”

There is one major exemption thought to the rule of not flaunting your wealth – outdoor apparel.

“Outdoor clothes are really a big thing here,” Roetzel says. “It gives people a sense of freedom and healthiness. Spending €800 on an outdoor jacket is perfectly okay. But it is a sin to spend the same amount on a tailor-made suit – you will destroy your image if you admit to doing this.”

Moreover, anyone who wants to impress Germans through their possessions would be better advised to buy a good car or modern kitchen, the fashion expert says. “It is perfectly normal to have a very expensive kitchen, but your clothes should still be cheap.”

Focus on inner beauty

The German (dis)interest in fashion can actually tell us a lot about deeper German values.

“There is an old Prussian saying of mehr sein als schein (content is better than appearance). Germans feel that if something is too beautiful there must be something fishy about it. Anyone who is too smartly dressed could be a conman,” says Roetzel.

“Germans are very honest, they like to be very direct. They say “what’s the point in not wearing sandals if it’s hot?’”