How to eat and drink like a local in Stuttgart

USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

A master butcher in Böblingen displays a tray of smoked sausages, bratwursts and the local regional favorite, Seitenwurst. Photo by Greg Jones, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

The traditional German manner of eating is to have a big, hearty warm meal at midday and have some bread, cheese and sausages or coldcuts in the evening. A wide variety of dishes are available at restaurants, ranging from a simple bread plate to a full, multicourse meal.

Hearty German cuisine usually focuses on a main meat dish. German men eat, on average 1,092 grams of meat per week with German women consuming on average about half that, according to the German Society for Nutrition. While vegetarian dishes and products are certainly available, the “wurst” is still king, especially bratwurst. Add curry and ketchup and you’ve got currywurst.

From left: Streichwurst, Scheibenwurst, Bratwurst. Photo by Greg Jones, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

While bratwurst is certainly a common staple of German cuisine, there’s a lot more variety in German food than that simple image conveys. It is true that certain universal elements of German food unite this nation of 16 proud states, each boasting their own unique cuisine. But, from roasts to schnitzel, to breads, cheeses and wine, the idea that German food is basic or simple is simply not accurate.

To add to the solid heartiness of a good meat dish, potatoes are usually served in some form with every large meal. Germans serve potatoes in every manner imaginable, from mashed potatoes to potato salad), to potato pancakes and more.

Bread is served with most meals. A wide variety of bread products make up a large portion of the traditional German diet.

maultaschen

Maultaschen is one of the delicious adventures of living in Swabia.

German regions pride themselves on certain foods or dishes. A signature Swabian dish is maultaschen, a layered pasta dish similar to ravioli. It is larger than ravioli and without tomato sauce, and packed with minced or smoked meat, spinach onions, herbs and spices. Zwiebelrostbraten, a beef roast with sautéed onions, is another popular Swabian dish.

Schnitzel, served throughout Germany and beyond, is usually served with french fries. Roasted meats and fish variety from region to region, making traveling throughout Germany a culinary delight. Kasespatzel, a noodle and cheese dish, is not to be confused with macaroni and cheese. Rotisserie chicken is very popular, as are Turkish dishes like kebaps.

Schnitzel and potatoes, now being served at a restaurant near you. Courtesy photo

As a centrally located European nation, Germany has a wide variety of foods from other nations. Italian, French and eastern European restaurants are common, and other varieties of international fare such as Asian and Indian foods can be found as well.

Wine has been developed to a high art form in Germany, and different regions produce a variety of wines, many of which can be enjoyed right at the vineyard. From red Dornfelder to sweet German wine can be found to please most any palate. Stuttgart takes pride in its wines. Some of Stuttgart’s vineyards are located near Robinson Barracks.

Germany has long been associated world-wide with beer, and with good reason. Swabian breweries produce several great beers. In general, German beer is typically a little stronger than American beers, ranging from around five percent to as high as 16 percent alcohol by volume.

Local vineyards, like this one near Stuttgart in Esslingen, offer scenic walks. Photo by Holly DeCarlo-White, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

It is important to remember to enjoy alcohol responsibly in Germany. Drinking and driving laws are very strict here, and many of the alcoholic beverages offered can be much stronger than what many Americans are used to. There are very few laws limiting public consumption of alcohol, and alcohol is readily available, so self-control and responsible consumption is the key.

Guten Appetit!