“Brot” (bread) is a fundamental part of German food. You will find a “Bäckerei” (bakery) at any street corner and in the tiniest village, each one offering a wide selection of bread types baked in all kinds of shapes and from different types of grain. Almost 200 types of bread are known in the different regions of Germany.
Most common is the “Graubrot”. It is a dense sourdough bread, made from rye (“Roggenbrot”) or a mixture of rye and wheat (“Roggenmischbrot”). A “Weissbrot” is baked from wheat. It can also come in a lot of shapes or as french loaf (Baguette). “Vollkornbrot is a heavy whole grain rye bread, darkish brown in colour, yeast-free and considered to be very healthy. “Schwarzbrot” – also called “Pumpernickel” and black in colour – is a whole grain rye bread baked with leaven. Darker rye breads have a moist and chewy texture and store for a good length of time without going stale.
Many German bakeries also offer a wide selection of delicious cakes, tarts and cookies. The specialised shop for them is, however, a “Konditorei”. Read more on our Cakes+Tarts page.
Toppings for a German sandwich or “Butterbrot” are plentiful. The main type of “Brotbelag” is made from meat and called “Wurst”. Please read more on theGerman Wurst page.
Käse: The Germans favour Dutch, Danish and French cheese. Specifically German are the “Tilsiter”, sliced cheese with a strong smell, “Butterkäse”, very soft and mild, eaten in slices. The firm but glassy looking “Harzer Käse” with caraway can only be mentioned with a warning: the smell is not for everybody. “Schmierkäse”, processed cheese spread, is also popular and available in many different flavours. “Quark” is a German speciality. the English cottage cheese comes closest to it. Quark is a fresh and nutritrious bread spread, flavoured with chives or other herbs, or eaten plain with jam on top.
Delicatessen Salads: They are enjoyed as a bread spread and usually made from either pieces of pickled herring (“Heringsalat”), delicious tiny North Sea shrimps (“Krabbensalat”), strips of poloni (“Fleischsalat”) or hard-boiled egg (“Eiersalat”), in a tangy mayonnaise with onion pieces or chopped sour gherkins.
Preserves: The Germans call their jams “Marmelade” but by that name they don’t mean orange or lemon preserve which is not part of their traditional diet. They enjoy preserves of all types of berries and fruit, preserved plum mash (“Pflaumenmus”), spreadable fruit jellies and honey.