Monday, July 2, 2012

My First Food Exchange

We were recently involved in what can only be described as a “food exchange” with some of the lovely German people we have met in Berlin. A few weeks ago we invited them to our house for a home cooked Mexican meal as they had a thirst for Mexican cuisine after visiting Tijana the previous year. I had a lot of hostessy things to do (mainly drinking, I mean, supplying beer and conversation) so my husband got down to work in the kitchen to prepare a “Red Mole”. Mole (pronounced "mo-ley" not like the burrowing creature!) is a traditional Mexican chicken dish prepared with a paste made from a ridiculous variety of chillies and chocolate. Yes, you read it right, chocolate! By the way, my husband is actually Mexican so that is the reason he cooked, honestly!

Anyway, the focus of my blog isn’t Mexican food, but German food. I realised during dinner that I had very little idea of what German food actually is, so we got into a conversation about it with our German guests. The original conversation about German food was worrying as my friends told me that they rarely prepared German food describing some dishes as vomit-like! However, I was not deterred and after the spicy Mole dinner they kindly invited us over the next week to exchange the favour and flavours.

We started with a "Kartoffelsuppe" which is a creamy potato soup with small pieces of ham and served with croutons. It was delicious!

The second course tasted of Christmas and reminded me of mum’s festive dinners. I think this was due to the "Rotkohl", or red cabbage, which was slow-cooked and prepared with orange, laurel and cardamen. Accompanying the cabbage were some thick slices of roast pork or "Schweinebraten" and some more potatoes called "Knödel". These potato dumplings are made of mashed potato mixed with bread and shaped into balls. They were fantastic. Dribbled on top of it all was some meat gravy. Ahhh Bisto!

I think my favourite part of the meal had to be the dessert. Even though all those potatos were swishing around in my stomach (Potatoes are a staple of the traditional German diet), I couldn’t stop eating the "Rote Grütze" or red fruit jelly! This dish is very typical from the north of Germany and Scandinavia (my friends are from Lübeck in the north). It is a sweet jelly with strawberries and cherries. You can also find a green fruit jelly that has, well, green fruit instead of red. By the way, if you don’t like cherries, Germany is the wrong contry for you as pretty much everything is available in cherry flavor! My hosts told me that “Rote Grütze” can actually be bought pre-made in the supermarket so I will definitely be on the look out for it. To top it all off was a delicious vanilla sauce or "Vanillesauce" that was prepared with fresh vanilla pods. Divine!

All in all, my first experience of home-cooked German food was a very pleasant one. I can assure you, and my German hosts, that none of the food I tried was at all like eating vomit and my opinion of German food so far is a positive one! If any other German’s would like to do a “food exchange” just get in touch and I’ll send my husband back to the kitchen!!!

What is your favourite German food? Do you have any recommendations for me to try?


  1. I love Rotkohl a lttle typical but its delish. Also Iove all kinds of German bratwurst!!!! The first time I tasted Knödel, I vomited before swallowing, needless to say I'm avoiding that dish lol. A very embarrasing dinner table story! I highly recommend having an uthentic German Christmas meal - OMG it is amazing!

    1. Efrutick, Thanks for your recommendations, I too like all the German sausages I have tried. It'll take a while to try them all, although I think I'm up for the challenge! I can understand your need to avoid Knödel now after that experience :S
      Hopefully I'll be in Berlin for Christmas and can persuade some friends to cook for me at Christmas. What is a typical German Christmas dinner anyway? Maybe similar to the English Christmas Dinner?

    2. Enjoy the sausages! I am salivating just now thinking of them, hihi. Yes, so I do not claim to be the most knowledgeable authority on German Christmas food, but I can tell you of my experience and for it to be good it should all be homemade & shared in good company (family is huge in Germany)! I had two Christmas dinners actually, one in Brandenburg and one in Leipzig. The second one involved also a roast goose. For post-Christmas breakfast we had the duck butter (which it was cooked in)with bread (never had this before). In both places I had various sweets, Christmas Marzipan,and Weihnachtsstollen! OMG so good. These are just some highlights of course, needless to say everything was absolutely delicious! Hope you find a German host for Christmas :)

    3. Thanks for sharing. Ummm Roast Goose for Christmas Dinner sounds amazing. I will definitely be dropping hints to my German friends in November :P

      Come to think about it, I have tried home-made Stollen Christmas Cake before. Perfect with a cup of tea (maybe that's because I'm English).

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