SHARE
COPY LINK

CULTURE

The seven best and seven ‘wurst’ German dishes

We take a look at Germany's seven worst and best seven dishes, starting with 'the wurst' and ending on a high.

The seven best and seven 'wurst' German dishes
'Spargel' being served in a Munich restaurant. Photo: DPA

The seven 'wurst' dishes

1. Schlachtplatte

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As the name suggests the Schlachtplatte (slaughter dish) is a hearty plate full of freshly slaughtered meat. Traditionally the dish was only eaten on the day of the killing before fridges where invented, and it uses nearly every part of the pig. Consisting of blood sausage, liver sausage, and boiled pork belly and innards, the dish is for committed meat eaters only.

For a shot of vitamin C and a dose of fibre, the dish is served with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes

2. Mettwurst

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Germans really do love their pork. Not a nation to let anything go to waste, Germans will eat every part of the pig except the squeal. Dished up in many imaginative ways, they also like to eat it raw.

Mettwurst is raw minced pork that has been cured and usually eaten spread on toast or bread rolls, frequently sold at bakeries. For special occasions the Mettwurst is turned into a Hackepeter – a large hedgehog made out of minced pork with raw onion for its spines.

3. Schweinskopfsülze

Photo: Shutterstock

And it doesn't stop there. Next up is the Schweinskopfsülze, a gelatinous dish served cold. Encased in a savoury jelly (aspic), it's the pig's head and trotters that go into making this delicacy. Enhanced with gherkins, onions and additional spices, the Sülze is sliced and served with Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes).

4. Tote Oma

Photo: Youtube/screenshot

Nope, it has nothing to do with eating dead grandmas. Tote Oma (dead grandma) is essentially minced up blood sausage fried with onions and bacon.

A customary dish in the former GDR, Tote Oma originally hails from the state of Thuringia, but it is less popular nowadays. Tote Oma is also known as “Verkehrsunfall” (traffic accident).

5. Harzer Käse

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We take a break from the meat, and bring you Harzer Käse, the cheese that could knock out a small army with its smell. Originating from the Harz mountain region in central Germany, the low fat cheese is made of sour milk and comes in small rounds or as a roll. Great for dieters, bad for your social life.

This little cheese will stink out your fridge even if it is wrapped up. Eat it in a public place and people will move away from you – immediately. You have been warned.

6. Currywurst

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A controversial entry perhaps but why take a decent sausage, pour ketchup over it and then sprinkle it with tasteless curry powder.

7. Leberkäse
 
 
Photo: Shutterstock
 
Bavarian Leberkäse (literally meaning liver cheese) tops off our worst German food. The pink spongy rectangular meat actually has nothing dairy about it. A mix of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions ground together and then baked as a loaf, it is served hot and usually on a Semmel (bread roll).
 
 
The Seven Best Dishes
 
1. Apfelstrudel 
 
 
Photo: Shutterstock
 
This is undoubtedly the king of German desserts, even though it originates from Vienna. When it is cold and snowing outside, there is nothing better to take away the chill than a freshly baked piece of hot apple strudel served with hot vanilla sauce. Nothing tops it.
 
2. Spargel (Asparagus)
 
 
Photo: Shutterstock
 
Spargel with hollandaise sauce: Germans are passionate about their white Spargel (asparagus), and we think it tastes pretty good too. Cooked in a manner of delectable ways, the traditional way to eat it is lightly boiled and topped with a warm hollandaise sauce and eaten with boiled new potatoes. But you need to be quick, Spargel season ends on June 24th.
 
3. Brezel (Pretzel)
 
Photo: Shutterstock
 
 
There is no better accompaniment to a German beer than a freshly baked Brezel. Delicious on their own or with butter or cream cheese, the Bavarian soft baked bread seasoned with sea salt is a German favourite.
 
4) Schnitzel
 
 
Photo: Shutterstock
 
Schnitzel with warm potato salad: The first thing my friend from NY wanted to eat when he came to Germany for the first time, was Schnitzel. A big Wiener Schnitzel. The biggest one we could find. Schnitzel with warm potato salad or Pommes (chips) is probably one of the best-loved German dishes around the world. Just seeing my friend's happy contented face as he polished off the last crumb said it all.
 
5) Kalte Hund
 
 Photo: Wikimedia Commons
 
When my German ex-boyfriend's mother gave me some homemade Kalte Hund, I thought I had died and gone to cake heaven. I was hooked after just one slice. Kalte Hund (cold dog) is a delicious chocolate cake made with alternating layers of fudgey chocolate and crushed biscuit, covered in a cocoa-rich chocolatey sauce. And the genius thing about this cake is it doesn't even need to be baked.
 
6) Knödel
 
Photo: Shutterstock
 
Germany's winters are harsh, which explains why their traditional dishes are hearty affairs, very meat-based and heavy on the carbs. Knödel (dumplings) are a staple in German winter fare, and can be made from flour, potatoes, old bread or semolina.
 
Shaped like balls, the Kartoffelknödel are particularly tasty and are usually eaten with pork or beef and gravy. And for vegetarians, there is the delicious spinach and parmesan cheese variety served with melted butter.
 
7) Käsespätzle
 
 
Photo: Shutterstock
 
The pièce de résistance in German cuisine has to be Käsespätzle. Freshly made egg noodles (originally from Baden-Württemberg) mixed with grated cheese and topped with fried onion. They are so good (just not for the waistline) you could eat them every day.
 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

GERMANY EXPLAINED

Why are shops in Germany closed on Sundays – and will it ever change?

Germany's strict ban on shops opening on Sundays can be a shock to foreigners. We looked at the culture around it, and spoke to one of the country's largest trade unions to find out if things are ever likely to change.

Why are shops in Germany closed on Sundays - and will it ever change?

It’s Sunday. You’ve invited people for dinner, but you’ve forgotten the most important ingredient. Tough luck – you’ll either have to do without or wait until Monday because your local shops are shut. 

Most of us are familiar with this inconvenience, and perhaps you’ve even found yourself screaming: “Why?” in frustration in front of a locked-up supermarket. 

But it’s something us adopted Germans have had to get used to. We decided to take a look at the reasons behind Germany’s ban on Sunday shopping – and to find out if it might change in future. 

Where does the rule come from?

The Sonntagsruhe or ‘Sunday rest’ principle is an integral part of German culture, so much so that it is enshrined in the German constitution (Grundgesetz).

Article 140 of the law, which has remained unchanged since 1919, says: “Sundays and state-recognised public holidays remain protected by law as days of rest from work and spiritual upliftment.” 

But the practice of not working on Sunday has been around for much longer. The idea that the seventh day of the week is a day of rest dates back to the old testament and was declared a general day of rest across the Roman Empire as early as 321, by Roman Emperor Constantine.

In the centuries since, however, most of Europe has gradually relaxed the strict ban on commercial activities on Sundays. 

But in Germany, the rules remain restrictive. It’s unlikely to change anytime soon partly because of religious reasons, and also in relation to the interests of workers.

Germany’s biggest trade union Verdi spelled out their view. “It’s not ‘modern’ to work seven days a week,” they told The Local. “That’s the Middle Ages.” 

What exactly does the law mean?

On the face of it, the German law forbids all forms of work on Sundays and public holidays, though numerous exceptions are laid out in the Working Time Act. 

As well as emergency and rescue services, hospitals, nursing and care facilities, exceptions include cultural and sporting activities, and the hospitality sector. 

Another notable exemption to the rule is bakeries, which are allowed to open for three hours on Sundays – which is why you may often find a long queue at your local baker if you want to get your freshly baked Brötchen on Sunday morning. 

A saleswoman reaches for a loaf of bread in a bakery.

A saleswoman reaches for a loaf of bread in a bakery. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Mohssen Assanimoghaddam

Illustrating how seriously the rule can be taken in Germany, there have even been cases of bakeries being sued for selling bread for too long on Sundays.

Shops, however, aren’t exempt from the rule and, the only way they can legally open on a Sunday is on a so-called verkaufsoffener Sonntag – Sunday trading day.

In most federal states, shops are allowed to open on between four and eight Sundays per year, and the States can decide when these should be. The chosen days must, however, be linked to a relevant occasion – such as a local festival, a market, a trade fair, or a similar event. 

Sunday openings also have to be recognisable as an exception to the general rule and Sunday openings that have already been approved can often be later overturned by the courts.

How strictly is the rule enforced?

Retailers who break the rules and open for business on Sunday can face fines ranging between €500 and €2,500.

The strictness of enforcement can vary widely between different regions.

In Berlin, for example, you can still find lots of Spätis (late night shops) open on Sundays. Although this is technically illegal, the authorities in the capital seem to take more of a relaxed approach to enforcement than in other states. 

A "Späti" late-night shop in Berlin.

A “Späti” late-night shop in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Florian Schuh

In the traditionally Catholic state of Bavaria, for example, the law is much more strictly guarded and enforced.

READ ALSO: Why Germany has strict shop opening hours

Is the law likely to change?

A survey by Spiegel in 2017 showed that 61 percent of Germans wanted to be able to shop on a Sunday, and this desire is shared by the trade industry.

The German Trade Association, for example, which represents around 400,000 independent companies, has strongly criticised Germany’s refusal to budge on the issue of Sunday openings on several occasions and argued that Sunday opening is also popular with staff, with many shop assistants appreciating the work in a more relaxed atmosphere.

In its latest statement on the issue, the association stated that, especially after following the economic impact of the pandemic, many retailers would benefit greatly from being able to open on Sundays. 

READ ALSO:

“It is remarkable that in no other EU country Sunday opening is as restricted as in Germany,” the association said. “Even in strongly Catholic EU countries such as Italy and Poland, shoppers can generally shop on Sundays. The same applies to France, although they place great value on culture and socialising.”

However, even if there is a widespread desire in some quarters to allow Sunday trading, an amendment to the constitution would require the consent of two-thirds of the German parliament. Also, there remains strong opposition to changing the rule from many workers’ groups and trade unions.

Trade union Verdi, which regularly files complaints against states and organisations which seek to deviate from Sunday trading restrictions, said that Sunday rest is still very important for workers.

A sign reads “Spring for Frankfurt – Sunday trading day” in front of a shoe shop in Frankfurt.

A sign reads “Spring for Frankfurt – Sunday trading day” in front of a shoe shop in Frankfurt. Photo: picture-alliance/ dpa/dpaweb | Arne Dedert

A spokesperson said: “We have just one day a week when employers can’t stop us from going to football together, meeting friends, attending cultural events, or spending free time with the whole family.

“And we want to keep it that way. There are six days a week when we can go shopping, take the car to the garage, do our banking, or get the package delivered from the online retailer. On Sunday, there has to be peace and quiet.”

The Verdi spokesperson added that it’s important to think about “work-life balance, and not about being available 24/7 for a company”.

We also asked the union if the law looks set to change in the near future.

The spokesperson said: “Sunday, which is a non-working day for most people, has so far been protected by the majority of political parties in Germany.

“Verdi, with its almost two million members, continues to work to ensure that working on Sunday does not become an everyday occurrence.”

So it appears that the culture shock for many non-Germans of shops being closed on Sundays won’t change anytime soon. 

READ ALSO: From nudity to sandwiches – the biggest culture shocks for foreigners in Germany

SHOW COMMENTS