The main meal of the day in Germany tends to be lunch with
a light snack eaten at about seven in the evening. Breakfast
served in homes and hotels usually consists of a boiled egg,
bread rolls with honey, jam, cold cuts and cheese slices.
Available from snack bars, butcher shops, bakers and cafes
are grilled, fried or boiled sausages (Wurst)
with a crusty bread roll or potato salad. There are also bread
rolls filled with all kinds of sausage slices, hot meat filling
(such as Leberkäse), pickled herring,
gherkins and onion rings or cheese. In bakeries, Strudel
with the traditional apple filling, a variety of fruits and
fromage frais is available. There is also an astonishingly
wide variety of breads.
A set menu meal in a simple Gasthof or cafe
usually includes 3 courses: soup is the very popular starter.
The main meal consists of vegetables or a salad, potatoes,
meat and gravy. For pudding, there is often a sweet such as
a blancmange, fruit or ice cream. Restaurants often serve
either beer or wine.
Cakes and pastries are normally reserved for the afternoon
with Kaffee und Kuchen taken at home or in
a cafe. Cafes serving Kaffee und Kuchen are not only to be
found in cities, towns and villages but also at popular excursion
and tourist spots.
International speciality restaurants, such as Chinese, Greek,
Turkish and others, can be found everywhere in the western
part of the country. Waiter or waitress service is normal
although self-service restaurants are available.
Local regional specialities cover an enormous range:
Frankfurt and Hesse: Rippchen mit Sauerkraut
(spare ribs) and course Frankfurter sausages, Ochsenbrust
with green sauce, Zwiebelkuchen (onion flan), and Frankfurter
Kranz cream cake.
Westphalia and Northern
Rhineland: Rheinischer Sauerbraten (beef marinaded
in onions, sultanas, pimento, etc), Reibekuchen (potato fritters),
Pfeffer-Potthast (spiced beef with bay leaves) and Moselhecht
(Moselle pike with creamy cheese sauce). Westphalia is famous
also for its smoked ham, sausages and bread.
and Baden: Schlachtplatte (sauerkraut, liver sausage
and boiled pork). A variety of pastas are served such as Maultaschen
(a type of ravioli) and Spätzle (noodles), as well as
Eingemachtes Kalbfleisch (veal stew with white sauce and capers)
and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateau).
Munich and Bavaria: Leberkäs
(pork and beef loaf), as well as a variety of dumplings, Spanferkel
(suckling pig), the famous Weisswurst (white sausages), Strudel,
Leberknödelsuppe (liver dumplings soup), Nürnberger
Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and from the same town grilled Rostbratwurst
Hamburg and Northern Germany:
Hamburger Aalsuppe (eel/lobster/crayfish soup), Labskaus (hotpot
with fried eggs), Rote Grütze mit Sahne oder Vanillesosse
(fruit compote served with cream or custard), smoked eel,
Rumtopf (fruit marinated in rum), Lübeck marzipan, Heidschnuckenbraten
(Lüneburg Heath mutton), fish with green sauce, Bauernfrühstück
(omelette with fried potatoes, tomatoes and onions) and bread
rolls filled with fish or prawns as a snack.
Kohl und Pinkel (kale and sausages), Matjes Hering (white
herring), eel soup and Hannoversches Blindhuhn (hotpot with
bacon, potatoes, vegetables and fruit).
Eisbein mit Sauerkraut (pork) and mashed potatoes, Bouletten
(hamburgers), Kartoffelpuffer (potato fritters), Eierpfannkuchen
(pancakes), Berliner Pfannkuchen (doughnut), and Berliner
Weisse mit Schuss (beer with a dash of raspberry syrup).
March of Brandenburg: Teltower Rübchen (swedes),
Mohnprielen and Mohnstriezel (pastries with poppy seeds),
Morchelgerichte (mushroom dishes), Oder crabs, Eberswalder
Spritzkuchen (doughnuts), Schwarzsauer mit Backpflaumen und
Klößen (black pudding with prunes and dumplings).
Saxony: Leipziger Allerlei (vegetables
in white sauce), Dresdner Stollen (German christmas cake)
and Speckkuchen (bacon flan).
Lehm und Stroh (sauerkraut with mushy peas), Köhlersuppe
(croutons, suet, onions and mushrooms), Speckkuchen mit Eiern
und Kümmel (bacon flan with eggs and caraway seeds),
Zerbster Brägenwurst (sausage) with Bitterbier, and Baumkuchen
(literally tree cake, the thin layers of pastry are like the
rings of trees).
Rostbratwürste (grilled sausages), Hefeplinsen (pancakes
with raisins) with sugar and jam. Apple, plum, poppy seed,
fromage frais or onion crumbles. There are numerous mushroom
dishes, which are called Schwämm.
Pomerania: Plum’n un Klüt (plums and dumplings),
Spickbost (smoked goose breast).
Bars either have table service and/or counter service, although
customers will often find that the drinks bought are simply
marked down on a beer mat to be paid for on departing. The
legal age for drinking alcohol in a bar or cafe is 18.
Minors are allowed to go into a bar if accompanied by an adult
but they will not be served alcohol.
Opening hours depend on the proprietor but generally bars
in major towns and resorts are open all day and close around
midnight or later. Exceptions are Berlin and
Hamburg where every pub can open for 24 hours.
The national drink is beer in its many forms. Regional flavours
vary from light pilsner-type lagers to heavy stouts. Three
of particular note are Bayrisches G’frornes (frozen
beer) and Weizenbier from Bavaria, and Mumme (bittersweet
beer without hops) to be found in Hannover.
German wines are among the finest in the world. Some of the
most famous are grown in the Rhine and the
Moselle Valley but also in the Ahr
region, Nahe, Franconia
and Baden area. Worth trying are Äppelwoi
(cider) in Frankfurt/M, Cannstatter (white wine) in Stuttgart,
Kirschwasser (cherry schnapps) in Baden, and Würzburger
(dry white wine) in Würzburg.
In all larger towns and cities in western Germany and also
in the major eastern cities visitors will have the choice
between opera (Deutsche Oper Berlin, theatre, opera, nightclubs,
bars with live music and discos catering for all tastes.
Berlin, is famous for its large selection
of after-hours venues. Traditional folk music is found mostly
in rural areas. There are Bierkellers in the south and wine
is drunk in small wine cellars in the Rhineland Palatinate,
Franconia and Baden region.
Special purchases include precision optical equipment such
as binoculars and cameras, porcelain, handmade crystal, steelware,
silver, Solingen knives, leatherwear, sports equipment, toys
from Nuremberg and Bavarian Loden cloth. In eastern Germany
special purchases include musical instruments, wooden carved
toys from the Erzgebirge Mountains, and Meissen china (the
workshops in Meissen are open to the public).
hours: Shops can regulate their own opening hours
within these times Monday-Friday 0600-2000 hrs, Saturday 0600-1600
hrs. Smaller shops may close 1300-1500 hrs for lunch. All
shops, except a few bakeries, are closed on Sunday.
Hundreds of annual festivals and special events are celebrated
throughout the country and full details can be obtained from
the Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V (German National
The following is a selection
of special events occurring in Germany in 2005:
Feb 3rd - 9th
|Mar 19th - Apr
Jul 23rd - Aug 22nd
Nov 5th - Dec 5th
|Hamburger DOM Festival
||30 European Grand Prix,
the Nürburgring, Eifel
||German Grand Prix,
|Jul 25th - Aug
||Richard Wagner Festival,
|Aug 16th - 21st
||20th World Youth Day,
| Sep 18th - Oct
||Munich's Oktoberfest, Bavaria's
National Beer Festival.
Handshaking is customary in Germany. Normal courtesies should
be observed and it is common to be offered food and refreshments
when visiting someone’s home. Before eating, it is normal
to say Guten Appetit to the other people at the table to which
the correct reply is Ebenfalls. It is customary to present
the hostess with unwrapped flowers (according to tradition,
one should always give an uneven number and it is worth noting
that red roses are exclusively a lover’s gift).
Courtesy dictates that when entering a shop, restaurant or
similar venue, visitors should utter a greeting such as Guten
Tag (or Grüss Gott in Bavaria) before saying what it
is that they want, to leave without saying Auf Wiedersehen
can also cause offence. Similarly, when making a telephone
call, asking for the person you want to speak to without stating
first who you are is considered rude.
Casual wear is widely acceptable, but more formal dress is
required for some restaurants, the opera, theatre, casinos
and important social functions. Evening wear is worn when
requested. Smoking is prohibited where notified and on public
transport and in some public buildings.
Visitors should be prepared for an early start to the day
with businesses, schools, etc opening at 0800 hrs or earlier.
It is very common practice to take a mid-afternoon stroll
on Sunday, town and city centres at this time are often very
animated places, in stark comparison with Saturday afternoons
when, owing to the early closing of shops, town centres can
seem almost deserted.
It is customary to tip taxi drivers, hairdressers, cloakroom
attendants, bar and restaurant staff, a 10 per cent tip is