Germany 20166/19/2016 09:08:00 PM
Good morning! We are back in Melbourne now, and just about settled back in. I'm back at work, I've almost shaken off the jet lag, but I'm still struggling with the cold, cold weather. I am definitely missing the European summer!
I'm very excited to tell you about our trip to Germany - three weeks of family time, warm weather and all of our German favourites to eat. I've written about Germany many times before (this was my fifth visit to Sandra's family!), so I'm gonna do one big round-up post, just like my regular Unblogged Files! Enjoy!
Breakfasts were either bread based or yogurt based. (And see my previous posts Germany 2015: Breakfasts; Germany 2013: Bread, Bakeries, Breakfasts and Bacony Goods for more!)
I'm a big fan of the smooth and rich Rahmjogurt (i.e. "cream yogurt"), which is thicker and milder than ordinary yogurt. I also made the most of the fabulous in-season strawberries from the local market.
Most days, Sandra's mum would cook a big lunch for the family. (See my post from our 2015 trip: Lunches at Home for detail on Margit's fabulous lunches). My favourites are the soups, and anything that involves chunks of pork belly, like the Schupfnudeln with sauerkraut that you see in the second photo.
|Top row: Haché (minced beef) w/ pasta; Roast beef w/ asparagus and potatoes; Kartoffelsoße|
Bottom: Hackbraten w/ potatoes; Beef soup w/ potato pancakes; Beef roulade w/ Spätzle
|Top row: Onion schnitzel w/ croquettes and fries; chicken soup w Maultaschen, dumplings & Dampfnudeln; Fried potatoes w/ bacon and eggs|
Bottom: Schupfnudeln w/ sauerkraut; Bratwurst w spinach & potatoes; Geschnetzeltes
Dinners tended to be a simpler, but no less delicious, affair, primarily Aufschnitt dinners of bread, cold cuts, cheeses and spreads. (Previous post: Homestyle Dinners).
On this trip, I discovered a regional delicacy which I hadn't tried before - Handkäse mit Musik. This is a specialty of the southern Hesse region - a sour milk cheese which is marinated in vinegar and raw onions. It is very strong, and I really liked it! You normally eat it with bread and caraway seeds.
|Handkäse mit Musik|
In addition to the cold cut dinners, we'd sometimes have leftovers, padded out with bread rolls and sausages...
|Bread roll, salads & sausages|
... or order takeaway. Döners in Germany are The Best! (Also delicious - Döner pizza. A pizza base covered with Döner meat, cheese, vegetables, Döner sauce etc.)
This dinner you see below is something I put together one night when I was fending for myself. A pretzel, a beer, and some Knacker (i.e. dried sausages from the farm down the road). With this incredibly German meal, my assimilation into the local populace was complete.
|Brezel, Knacke und Bier|
|Potato salad, pasta salad, cucumber salad, green bean salad, bean salad, garlic bread|
Ice-cream! All of the ice-creams! All of the time! (Previous posts: 2008: Eiscafés; 2011: Ice-Cream!) I'm partial to a Spaghetti-Eis, but my favourite is an Erdbeerbecher (strawberry sundae), or anything covered in whipped cream.
We did a few restaurant meals too! I love the hearty portions, the huge plate of fresh salad you get before most meals, Greek restaurants in Germany (so much meat and All of the Tzatziki), schnitzels, and the million ways to eat potatoes. (Previous posts: 2015: Restaurants).
Hagenbräu, which I've written about before, is one of my favourite places - a restaurant and brewery on the Rhine in the city of Worms. We visited a couple of times on this trip. For some reason the service was incredibly slow, but the beers and the food were all as good as I remember.
|Hagenbräu: Soup with bone marrow dumplings; Pretzels with Knacker; Saumagen|
Now, the reason for our trip was because Sandra's sister had just had a baby and we wanted to attend his christening! After the church service (all in German; I understood most of it; my German teacher would be proud!), the extended family had lunch at the local Greek restaurant, and then we came home for CAKE.
|Cakes for the Christening!|
They had ordered a couple of cute fondant-decorated cakes (chocolate layer cake and strawberry sponge layer cake), and different family members made Streuselkuchen (cherry crumble cake), Marmorkuchen (marble cake), and Schüttelkuchen (sponge cake topped with a fruity yogurty mixture).
Another afternoon, we had a Kaffeeklatsch with the aunties and uncles. Sandra's mum made an Erdbeerkuchen (strawberry cake), Sandra's sister made a Donauwelle (cherry sponge topped with vanilla pudding and chocolate), and I made some very un-German red velvet cupcakes.
|Erdbeerkuchen, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Donauwelle|
Speaking of my own baking, one night I made a pavlova! Sandra's cousin Thorsten had seen pavlova in a documentary about Australia and he really wanted to try one. I brought it as dessert for that BBQ I told you about above. I think they liked it, even though Thorsten joked he'd fall into a sugar coma afterwards. (I find German cakes to be a lot less sweet than their Australian / French / American counterparts). (See previous post: 2008: Kaffee und Kuchen)
One day we went shopping, and I smashed a giant Currywurst from the foodcourt for lunch. So good! (See previous post: 2015: Snacks).
One night, our friends An and Jay came to visit! This was really exciting, as they were the first friends from Melbourne to visit Sandra's home town! Woohoo! They stayed in nearby Mannheim, and we met up for dinner at Alter Simpl, a traditional German restaurant that Sandra's parents recommended. The boys really embraced the big German portions - they did me proud.
|Westernteller ("Western plate") - 2 pork fillets, 2 grilled mini-sausages, grilled bacon and roast onions, on fried potatoes|
|Leberknödel soup, grilled peppers, Nurnburgers w/ sauerkraut, Pork w/ fried potatoes, Jägerschnitzel, Apple strudel|
After dinner we went to Stars, a bar in the centre of Mannheim, for some OTT cocktails!
|Cocktails at Stars in Mannheim|
The next day, they came to Lampertheim to see Sandra's home town, and we wanted to show them a super Lampertheimer-experience. We started with freshly baked pretzels and coffee at our favourite bakery, Grimminger. (PS this is where the vast majority of our breakfasts in Germany are purchased).
|Pretzels and coffee at Grimminger|
For lunch, we took them to Kreuzhofbauer, a farm restaurant, for some local specialities. It was the middle of asparagus season (and Lampertheim is the asparagus city!), so we enjoyed some fabulous asparagus dishes. We also thought this would be a good meal for our Aussies because German asparagus is so very different from Australian asparagus. (Previous posts on Kreuzhofbauer - 2011: Zum Bauer, Zum Bauer; 2015: Restaurants).
|Schnitzel with asparagus spears, hollandaise sauce and boiled potatoes|
Pancake with ham and asparagus cooked in white sauce
Schnitzel with asparagus cooked in white sauce and boiled potatoes
After lunch, we went for a walk in the nearby nature reserve, then went for ice-cream, before taking the boys to the station so they could continue their European adventures!
We were also in Germany for Sandra's birthday! It was really nice to celebrate with her family. We had a get-together at home, with some Fleischkäse and Pragerschinken (a baked ham with crackling!), lots of salads, and a traditional apple cake. Yum! (See previous post: 2013: BBQs and Parties).