Your guide to celebrating Thanksgiving in Germany in 2020
Whether you're American or not, if you're seeking your turkey and pumpkin pie fix in Germany this year, here's how to get it - and more - amid social distancing requirements.
Like many celebrations that have been indelibly altered by the coronavirus pandemic, Thanksgiving is no different.
But we’re here to help make those cranberry sauce-soaked, gravy-covered dreams come true, even in 2020.
Here's your complete guide, whether you're celebrating on 'Turkey Day' (November 26th) itself or in the days leading up to it.
READ ALSO: Where in Germany do all the Americans live?
Track down a turkey, or have one delivered
As you may have noticed, there aren’t exactly rows of frozen turkeys on offer in German supermarkets as in the US come November. But there are still options if you’re set on noshing on some slowly roasted North American fowl.
High-end department stores, like KaDeWe in Berlin, often provide the pricey opportunity to scoop up a frozen turkey, but you can also try calling up a local butcher to order one in advance. The department store Karstadt also offers turkeys, as does Rewe in their online store.
An alternative is to settle for a whole chicken or goose - much more common in grocery stores - or simply pick up part of a turkey, called Pute or Truthahn in German.
If you’d rather avoid the stress and hassle of the grocery store, these two delivery services may be helpful:
Delivering throughout Germany, Gourmet Pute also features a special Thanksgiving menu that includes all of the classics (mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and all other glorious add-ons). They offer Freilandpute (free-range turkeys) and sides for up to twelve people. They are not only available for Thanksgiving; check them out for other specialty meat and meal deliveries throughout the year!
This catering website also offers Turkeys (ranging from 8 to 16 kg) right in time for the holiday. Make sure to order soon, as the site requires a five day notice to ensure a timely arrival. They ship to Berlin and surrounding areas.
2. Find food substitutes
As with turkey, sometimes you can’t always find the right ingredients you need for American fare. Take cornbread, for example. The most important component is cornmeal, but this doesn’t really exist in German cuisine. The best substitute that this American has found is called Maisgrieß - and it always turns out delicious.
If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you can also pick up a turkey substitute made of Tempeh (complete with vegan gravy) at the Berlin supermarket Veganz or order online throughout Germany.
Thanks to globalisation there are ever more North American products on offer in German supermarkets, especially in Edeka, Aldi, and Lidl, many of which often have small ‘American’ sections.
Cranberries used to be tough to find in Germany supermarkets, although now many chains such as Rewe and Lidl are carrying the common Canadian berry en masse, both fresh and in the can.
If you can’t track them down though, a good substitute can also be Preiselbeeren, known as lingonberries or cowberries in English. They have a similar taste to cranberries and can be found already jarred as a jam or preserves in many German supermarkets.
Find the right equipment
Tracking down a proper pie dish can be another challenge since apparently this treat is not so common in Germany.
For future reference, if you love making pies, it’s probably a good idea to have an American bring a pie dish along on their next visit - or pick one up yourself when you’re in the US.
But when you can’t get your hands on one in time, try getting creative with a tart or torte pan, or Tortenbodenform.
Learn to convert into metric measurements
If you’re looking to use grandma’s traditional cornbread stuffing recipe, but realise you have no clue how to measure out the right proportions using the metric system, don’t worry.
There are plenty of online converters to do the hard work for you - like the one on Allrecipes.com.
And if you’re really in doubt, try using a similar recipe by a British website instead (which like the BBC tend to have grams and ounces).
Want to avoid the stress and agony of cooking a large meal? Delivery is the answer!
With the recent lockdown measures in place for the entirety of November, coupled with Merkel’s urgent appeal for all to dramatically and consistently reduce contact with others as much as possible, it is perhaps best to simply order in. Luckily there are a few special Berlin-based delivery options available.
The Jamaican-European RosaCaleta restaurant is offering a special Thanksgiving menu. Keeping with their Caribbean-European fusion style, their Thanksgiving menu offers “Jerk Turkey” and “Classic Jamaican Jerk Pork” alongside more traditional mainstays like Macaroni and Cheese, green beans, and cornbread stuffing. They also offer a complete three-course meal for €26 per person.
The restaurant is located in Berlin-Kreuzberg, and is open for take-away between 2pm and 8pm. Best to call and order early!
Hirsch und Hase
This Gastro pub has been closed during the November lockdown, but is reopening for a Thanksgiving special on November 26th.
They are offering all of the classics, as well as vegetarian options like lentil stuffing. For dessert they are offering homemade pumpkin pies. Individual portions are available for €16, or you can order family style.
Dishes are available “oven ready” from 2 pm onward on Thanksgiving day, or pick up your order already hot and ready to eat between 6 and 7 pm.
Fraulein Kimchi & Humble Pie
This Korean-American-German food truck and catering service is offering a traditional Southern-US inspired meal. They are teaming up with the folks from Humble Pie (a delightful red food truck specialising in southern comfort food) to offer a delectable full Turkey Day meal.
They offer a menu for €39, and for those looking to keep off the Quarantine 15, a ‘lite’ option for €29. To make it extra-special and authentic, they are offering both pumpkin and pecan pies.
They will be delivering on Wednesday and Friday of Thanksgiving week, and are open for in-house pie pick-up at their shared kitchen in Weißensee. Check out their website for timely details!
Fortuna's Table, a catering and private dining service housed in Neukölln, is offering a special Thanksgiving meal. They are offering all of the classics, like creamy mashed potatoes, buttered corn, and even ginger-rum cranberry sauce. There are vegetarian options, as well as the chance to purchase an entire three-course menu, or a la carte.
Fortuna’s Table will deliver anywhere in a 10 kilometre radius from their kitchen on Weserstraße for €10. Don’t fret if you live a bit farther away, they will still deliver for just a bit more cash. To ease the preparation stress even more, turkeys come already carved, and the sides packed into separate containers that can go straight in the oven for heating.
Fortuna’s Table has been going strong in Berlin for the past fifteen years, and is run by a Michigander with experience in the New York City food scene – it’s bound to be a delicious lockdown holiday experience!
HardRock Cafe Cologne
For those living in Cologne, you’re in luck! The HardRock Cafe is offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal that folks can pick up curb side between noon and 9 pm.
HardRock Cafe Berlin
Hard Rock Cafe Berlin is also offering a traditional Thanksgiving meal – order via Lieferando, or email [email protected].