Germans and Swiss Folk Know How to Eat!

Kirk and I just spent two weeks in Germany and Switzerland – and boy, did we eat.  Not only did we eat a lot, we ate well.  As you can imagine, a lot of the foods relied on or were enhanced by their fresh breads, cheeses and meats like prosciutto or local dried beef.  On top of that, they use a lot of locally produced oils like Sunflower Seed Oil and Raps (made from another bright yellow flower).

Some of my favorite dishes or techniques that I never (or rarely) see here are:

  • PRETZELS!! Kirk will vigorously nod his head on this one, he probably already misses them).  Why have American bakeries not picked up on this fabulous european item?  We saw them in all sorts of variety.  Big, small – covered in salt, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, or a version of “everything”.
  • Herbed Butter. This was most widely served on steak, and it is FABULOUS.  This is on my to-do list of things to make.
  • Maggi Sauce. This is a European version of Soy Sauce and is made by Nestle.  You can get it at places like Fresh Market.  In Switzerland, it is served on most tables as a condiment and my Aunt uses it daily for cooking.  Delicious.  I brought a bottle back with me and am making salad dressing with it tomorrow night.
  • Knodle – This potato dumpling is served with gravy and is a popular dish at Oktoberfest.  We ate a ton!  Our friend Ralf made them for us too while we were visiting and we just couldn’t get enough. 

    Knodle with Red Cabbage and Braised Pork

  • Obatzda – This cheeseball made with Camebert and Blue Cheese is strong, but tasty.  An Americanized version uses Brie instead of Camebert.   Tastes awesome on one of those fresh soft pretzles!
  • Spaetzle – This is a twirly little pasta served with cheese and onions in a casserole form.  YUM.  Really.  And it is so easy to make.  Tyler Florence has a version that is a little different than what we made in the mountains, but it looks pretty similar. 

    Homemade Spaetzle

  • Kaseschnitte – Bread, Cheese, Sunny side up egg, Pesto, and Speck (bacon) – all in a little personal sized frying pan.  Does it get much better than that?  Nope, not in my world it doesn’t.. 🙂 
  • Racklette – Table top grill so each person can make their own meat and/or veggies and then you top it with a chesse that melts in a little pan under the grill.  Genious.  Only hitch is that the Racklette cheese can be kind of strong.  But I think you can use any kind of hard cheese that melts.
  • Fondue – This wasn’t my favorite, but my Aunt told me that most people (Americans) don’t like their version of fondue the first time.  It has both white wine and kirsch (cherry liquor) in it, on top of the strong cheese.  Day old bread and fondue sticks sitting around a table was still fun and filling though.  Maybe we’ll register for a fondue set so we can give it another go here at home 🙂

If you’re feeling a little experimental, give these a shot at home!  There are lots of recipes online.  I’ll post more when I tackle these myself back in the states.  Please post as you try these, or if you have more recipes to recommend!!

And I must say, although I thoroughly enjoyed the food abroad – there is no place like home.  Kirk and I are off to enjoy some Great Wall of China South as a welcome back to the US of A.  General Tso Chicken with All White Meat and Stir-fried, add Brocolli… here I come 🙂

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