Posts Tagged ‘beer

Let us be clear: German gastronomy is more than just bier and sausages. If you are in Germany for a few days and decide to eat out, you might end up feeling completely lost while reading the menu. So, here is a short explanation of the main German courses. And who knows, you might want to learn how to cook “German” afterwards!

The most well-known dishes

Sausages (Würste). There are over 1,500 different kinds of wurst in Germany. Among them, the “Rindswurst″  (with beef meat), the « Leberwurst » (liver or blood sausager), the « Weißwurst » (boiled veal sausage), the « Bratwurst » (pork and veal sausages), and the sausages  from different German cities and areas such as Nuremberg, Frankfurt or from the Free State of Thuringia.

The Currywurst (a sausage with curry).The fast-food dish from Berlin consists of hot pork sausage cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup. It can be served with French fries or bread.

Pretzels. A type of baked food made from dough in savory flavors in a unique knot-like shape, covered with coarse salt.

Sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by various  lactic acid bacteria. It should not be mistaken for dressed sauerkraut, that is to say sauerkraut with sausages and potatoes, and which is from Alsace (if you want to try this dish in Germany, order a garniertes Sauerkraut).

What is to know about German Beer?

Beer is a major part of German culture. Many events and places are dedicated  to beer, like Biergärten, where German enjoy having a drink when spring is coming, and beer festivals, the Oktoberfest being the most famous of them. Brewing exists since Middle-Age.

Dark, stout, or lager: there is a beer for every taste. And indeed, there are 5,000 types of beers. They are classified by density and by their types of fermentation: low fermentation (Bock, Dunkel, Lager) and high fermentation (Berliner Weisse, Weissbier). The pils (also Pils or pilsener), which is a type of pale lager, is very popular and accounts for 70% of the beer market.


They are small food stands, and small street food shops. This is where anyone can eat fast, cheap and meet some friends. Imbisses serve everything from the standard currywurst, pizza, or  döner kebab to the more exotic food. There are thousands of them around Berlin and they are to be found everywhere in Germany. Each neighborhood has its own Imbiss.

German and Austrian specialties

Knödels. This Austrian specialty can be found in South Germany. They are large round poached or boiled potato or bread dumplings and can be stuffed with bacon or cheese. They can be served as a dessert, when filled with plums, for example.

Schnitzels. Tradional Austrian dish made with boneless meat thinned with a mallet. In Germany, they are called Schnitzel Wiener Art or Wiener Schnitzel.  It originally comes from Milan, Italy.

Spätzle. A type of boiled egg noodle of soft texture.

Schweinebraten. “Pig roast” is a traditional dish from the Bavarian Kitchen, which is served with a dark beer sauce. When served hot, it can be prepared with red cabbage, sauerkraut or cabbage salad and bread. 

German desserts and cakes

The Black Forest cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte). A chocolate cake with several layers, with cherries and whipped cream. It is sprinkled with chocolate savings.

Lebkuchen.  The texture is very similar to gingerbread. It’s a traditional biscuit. Many Lebkuchen hearts are sold in Germany. They can be given to a loved one or hanged in the house.

Berliner. They are big doughnuts stuffed with jam.

The Stollen, or Christstollen. It’s a loaf-shaped cake containing dried fruit, stuffed with marzipan, and covered with sugar, powdered sugar or icing sugar. It is a tradition during the Advent. It is a Christmas cake. The tradition first appeared in the 14th century.

The Apfelstrudel.  A Austrian layered pastry with an apple and raisin filling. It is generally served hot, with some cinnamon and some cream.. You can also savour it in Alsace, in the North of Italy and in Central Europe.

The different meals of the day

As a whole, breakfast is made of cooked pork meats and cheese.

In general, lunch is quite substantial. The Germans like to eat meat of sausages with potatoes or vegetables and prefer to take a dessert around 3 PM.

The evening supper is rather light. It’s a cold meal made of bread, cooked pork meats and cheese.  It is thus similar to breakfast. The Germans dine early: around 6 PM.

German places in Paris:

  • The Stube

A German Imbiss restaurant where you can German specialties (savoury and cakes).

Price range: a Currywurst is 4.90€ and a Sauerkraut 9.50€.

31, rue de Richelieu 75001 Paris

  • Der Tante Emma-Laden

It’s the only German grocer’s shop in Paris. Here you can find a wide range of German and Austrian products and specialties, as well as books, and decoration accessories. You can also order online.

Marché de la Porte Saint Martin – 31/33 rue du Château d’eau – 75010 Paris

  • The Café Titon

In this café, you can have a drink and choose among many cocktails. You can also eat a snack. The currywurst with French fries is 5.50€ and a Bionade (an organic Lemonade) 3.90€. Parisians who love Germany will have the opportunity to come to some Germany related events.

34, rue titon
75011 PARIS

Links :

Learn more about beer in Germany (English)

Learn how to cook German recipes (English)

The German gastronomy (a French website on Germany)

Learn about the regional specialties in Germany (English)

In January 2012, Biergartens will celebrate their 200th anniversary. But what exactly is a Biergarten?

Biergarten, © Dieter Schütz / PIXELIO

In Germany, as the weather gets warmer, it is pretty common to see people sitting around wooden tables, enjoying a beer under huge chestnut trees, some of them having even brought something to eat while drinking. These places where everyone can stop to relax and order a fresh beer are called Biergartens, literally “beer gardens”. Their story goes back a few centuries in Bavaria.

It all started in 1539 when a Bavarian law banned beer brewing between St. George’s day on 23rd April and St. Michael’s day on 29th September. The boiling process used in brewing was indeed frequently the cause for fires. Brewers thus started to try to find a way to store the beer so as to have supplies all year long. They began making a beer with a higher alcohol rate, which allowed it to be stored longer: the Marzen (March beer). This beer would later be served during the Oktoberfest in Munich. In order to keep the beer at cool temperatures, cellars were dug underground. Barrels were stored in it with blocks of ice. However, the presence of a high water table prevented cellars to be built very deep. As a result, in summer, the beer was impacted by the heat from the sunbeams beating on the ground. So, to protect the cellars from the sun, trees were planted above them. With their great height, large leaves and thick roots, chestnut trees quickly appeared as the perfect trees for this purpose.

To buy their beer, Bavarians would come to a booth set up not far from the cellars with a big stein that brewers would fill up, before heading back home. Eventually, people took up the habit to drink their beer just after buying it. As centuries went by, brewers came up with the idea of allowing their customers to have a beer on the spot. In a decree issued on 4th January 1812, King Ludwig I of Bavaria – himself a beer lover – allowed brewers to create building facilities on top of cellars. Tables and benches were gathered under the chestnut trees where people could settle and enjoy a beer as well as something to eat. The traditional Biergarten was born! Yet, not everyone was happy with its appearance. Innkeepers and restaurant owners feared the competition and complained about it to Ludwig I. To prevent rebellion, the king made a compromise: Biergarten could keep serving beer but were no longer allowed to sell food. Patrons now had to bring their own food.


Very popular among Germans, the Biergarten lived on, anchoring itself into tradition, and went far beyond Bavaria’s borders. Biergarten can now be found in Cologne, Stuttgart or Berlin. And many drinking establishments around the world like to call themselves “Biergarten”. But a few tables on a terrace under a sign on which is written “Biergarten” or its English equivalent “beer garden” don’t make a proper Biergarten. An authentic Biergarten should indeed match some key criteria. First of all, beer must be served in one-liter steins (except for Weissbier, served in half-liters). Biergarten cannot go without wooden tables.  Furthermore, patrons should help themselves with beer – even though some places also provide the possibility to be served by a waiter. On top of that, while the ban on food offering was lifted, prompting many Biergarten to provide traditional specialties like Obaztda cheese spread, Knödels (potato or bread dumplings) and pretzels, it is still better for people to bring their own picnic baskets. Last but not least, a Biergarten would not be a Biergarten without the chestnut trees. Those now provide shadow to the customers.


If Germans like Biergarten so much, it is above all because of their conviviality and accessibility. Young and old people, locals and tourists, people of all nationalities, of all social backgrounds, families, friends, lone persons: everyone gather around the wooden tables to clink glasses with the person next seat, whoever it is. It is even common to end up having a long discussion with a perfect stranger! The Bavarian Biergarten Decree even praises the social function of Biergartens, which help reducing isolation and have contributed to the unity of Germans as a people. Biergarten also appear as pleasant green areas in strongly urbanized places.


With over 100 Biergartens and seating for 180 000 people, Munich and the neighboring area remain the best place to enjoy a beer in the shade of chestnut trees. It does not matter whether you chose to go to the Hirschgarten or to the Chinese Tower, the two most famous Biergartens, or whether you prefer a simpler one: if you happen to go to Munich between late April and late September, don’t forget to try the Biergarten experience!

Viktualienmarkt, © Jürgen Heimerl / PIXELIO



Article 1 about Biergartens

Article 2 about Biergartens

German website about Biergartens

Bavarian Biergarten Decree (German)

Pictures: PIXELIO

mai 2020