Eating your way through Germany

Germany is known for many things, but best of all, the food.

I recently took a tour through Germany. It was fantastic! We traveled all over, and made stops in Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden, Nuremberg and Munich. We saw so many sights that my camera finger got tired! from the Brandenburg gate to the Zwinger and the Frauenkirch, there was no end to the incredible displays of architecture and history. But the highlight of Germany, by far, was the food.

Everyone knows about bratwurst, but only the people who’ve traveled around the country can truly appreciate the range of wurst delicacies. Wurst is a type of sausage; when you break it down into its basic ingredients, it’s actually quite unremarkable. Wurst is traditionally a base of ground meat, bacon, salt and spices. They are made from a variety of meats and, depending on the type, can be eaten fresh, boiled, fried or grilled.

While we were busy doing our sightseeing, I made sure to stop and visit a few good street vendors. On my first stop I tried a local favorite, currywurst. It was absolutely delicious. The cook takes a standard wurst and cuts it into 1- inch slices. I chose to have it served on top of French fries, and it was topped with a tomato-based curry sauce. Yum!

There’s a little bit of debate amongst the locals about when currywurst first appeared. Some say that Herta Hewuer first made it in 1949. We visited the plaque where she had her street stand, commemorating this delicious combination. However, there are others that believe that the first currywurst was made by Lena Brucker in 1947. The story goes that she was carrying ketchup and bottles of curry powder up a flight of steps when she fell, dropping all of the ingredients. When she was cleaning the stairs she licked her fingers and discovered this great flavor combination. Whichever story is true, I’m certainly happy that currywurst came into existence. I sure ate my share on my trip.

My other favoite wurst dish that I tried in Germany was Thuringian sausage. It comes from the Thuringia region, an area well-known for its other cultural exports like Bach and Martin Luther. I can’t tell you what goes into the Thuringian sausages because it’s a well-guarded secret amongst those who make it. But I can tell you that it’s absolutely divine. The sausage has even achieve the Protected Geographical Indication status, which works to protect the quality of food and ingredients in the European Union. Each butcher adds his own unique blend of spices which makes each Thuringian sausage unique. That said, we made sure to try as many different ones as we could in our travels. I didn’t have enough time to find one that I didn’t like.

If you’re going to visit Germany, make sure you dine at fine restaurants, but don’t forget the street vendors. They’ll provide you with amazing food and incredible stories to wash it all down with!

Carol Atkins is a Group Travel Leader with YMT Vacations.

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Comments (2)

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  1. I’m half German, but hadn’t been to Germany in over 15 years until recently. The first thing I got while waiting for my train in Frankfurt was a currywurst. And a beer to wash it down, of course.

  2. Carol says:

    That’s certainly the first thing I’d do, Daniel! Do you ever make them at home?

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