Is German cuisine the best kept secret on the planet?

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th November 2014
Bratwurst, Currywurst, Weißwurst - sausage is what Germany is famous for. And Sauerkraut. Right? Well, there is a lot more to German cuisine and many famous chefs, but no one in Britain really knows about it. With eleven three Michelin starred, 38 two starred and 233 one starred restaurants, Germany is second only to France in terms of stars. Even Spain and Italy have fewer. So how come Germany is still reduced to the country of Wurst? By Erich Ferdinand CREDITAs a German myself, I wonder why German cuisine is not widely appreciated and spread in the UK, like French or Italian cuisine is? Is it the general antipathy towards everything German? Is the stereotype of Germans being humourless and practical being transferred to German food? Or is it something simpler, like German cuisine being too similar to its British counterpart? They both love their roasted meats! German cuisine is not all about sausages. In high-end restaurants you probably wouldn’t even find a dish that contains sausages. Ordinary Gästehäuser (pubs) will serve German hearty meals, like Schweinebraten (roast pork) with dumplings or Spätzle (pasta) with vegetables, maybe Sauerkraut. Sausages are usually served as fast food, with Weißwurst being eaten in the south and Currywurst more in the east. And the Germans love their potatoes. They make up a big part of their diet and not just boiled or roasted, there are many ways the Germans prepare them. A common way is to pan fry them: Bratkartoffeln. They are usually fried with onions until golden brown and are enjoyed with some kind of meat. Probably sausages. Reibekuchen (Potato Pancakes) are loved by Germans as well and are popular during Christmas time. The grinded potatoes are fried in a pan and then enjoyed with either apple sauce or curd. Potato soup is another way to prepare the spuds and a cold variety is potato salad. This is widely enjoyed, as it goes well with everything and there are many regional differences in preparing the dish.07 With about 3,000 types of bread and 1,200 types of pastries the German bread industry is world leading. It has even been recommended to become a World Cultural Heritage in 2015. The Germans are rather proud of their bread and their knowledge of delicious bread baking. It is appreciated worldwide and you can find German bakeries all over the world, but not so many in Britain. Do the British just want to stick to what they know? We all know the British love tradition, but maybe they have to be more open-minded to new things in order to avoid missing out on amazing flavours? Germany’s top chefs are anything but uncreative, which numerous awards like the Michelin stars prove.  Their cuisine is elegant, imaginative, traditional and cosmopolitan. German food goes way further than Schweinebraten, Bratkartoffeln and bread. The top chefs usually combine traditional German cuisine with influences from all over the world. Harald-WohlfahrtSome of them have been cooking for many years, such as Harald Wohlfahrt. You could say he is the godfather of German cuisine. He has been creating dishes as head chef for about 30 years in the renowned Schwarzwaldstube restaurant in the Black Forest. He said: “In my opinion the whole sector is prospering very much, but there is enough place for all directions of style, the classic and the avant-garde. There is a validity of claim for everything.” He trained many other successful chefs in his restaurant, who now hold three Michelin stars as well, like Klaus Erfort, Christian Bau and Thomas Bühner. Helmut Thieltges is another renowned chef who has been head chef at his family’s hotel in the West German Eifel region for about 35 years. He cooks French classic cuisine. “Classic cuisine is the true art,” he claimed. “I don't think that there is any special German trend - most of the trends in cuisine are global.” Joachim Wissler, head chef at the Vendôme restaurant close to Cologne, is known as the pioneer of the neue deutsche Küche (new German cuisine). He likes to use traditional German recipes, producing and interpreting them in a modern way. Wissler said: “I always involve my origins in my work. Therefore I also involve long forgotten traditions of our German gastronomic culture. The term ‘new German cuisine’ means to challenge oneself with global influences and with one's own culinary origins. That also means to protect our culinary tradition. But I reserve for myself the right to present these traditions in my own way.”hochgelobt-joachim-wissler Joachim Wissler’s restaurant is ranked 12th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, which is compiled by the British magazine, Restaurant. Sven Everfeld’s Aqua restaurant in Wolfsburg is ranked 28th. They are the only two German restaurants to make it on to the list, whereas Spain has seven, France five and the UK has three. What does this mean? That the British prefer French and Spanish food and would rather pass on German, and even their own culinary expertise? Have the British had enough of German and British hearty food? It is quite obvious that German cuisine has a lot to offer. Fine dining and talented top chefs make dining in Germany a great experience. British food bloggers, like Andy Haler or Elizabeth Auerbach swear by German cuisine as well, so how come the British still don’t recognise German potential? If you asked a British person which cuisine is in the top league in Europe many of them would answer French or Italian. German? Probably not. But it is right up there! From hearty to light, from traditional to cosmopolitan - German cuisine has it all.  By Vera Kleinken Watch the video below to see another influential German chef - Sven Elverfeld

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th November 2014

Is German cuisine the best kept secret on the planet?