Experience Germany Like a Local

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Leipzig's Best Fast Bite To Eat When Hangry

It was 3pm and I had not had lunch yet. Unfortunately, I am one of those people that get “hangry” when not fed on a regular basis, so I fired up the Yelp app on my phone. There were some mediocre dives and high-end restaurants near us, but I was not after a sit down meal. All I wanted was good comfort food at a reasonable price. That’s when I spotted the entry for Globus Döner with a 4.5 out of 5 rating. I am a sucker for Döner, especially since it is hard to find one in the United States. My family also enjoys this Turkish specialty, which lead to my Mom, Dad, sister, Denise and I heading over towards a residential neighborhood of Leipzig.

If you’re wondering what this magical thing called Döner is all about, check out our earlier post, A German Spin on a Turkish Tradition You Should Try.

Leipzig's Best Fast Bite to Eat When Hangry

Globus Döner is located on a busy street corner and is small on the inside. There are three tables, maybe eight chairs total, the counter and a fridge or two. Two friendly men were behind the counter, smiling at us when we entered. All the ingredients looked fresh, and there was a steady stream of customers coming and going, all grabbing takeout orders. Not bad for a small place at 3pm on a weekday. We decided to commandeer all the tables as a group of five and then ordered five Döner Teller, or in English Döner plates. Instead of a being wrapped up in pita bread or wrap, all the ingredients are plated, which makes them much easier to eat if you’re out in public and want to minimize getting your hands messy. You use a fork and eat it like a salad. After a short wait we had a large plate in front of us, with the traditional meat, cabbage, tomato, fries and a white sauce, reminiscent of a salad dressing. I have to tell you: this was the best Döner I have ever had in my life! Fresh, delicious and savory, all of us tried our best to wipe the plates clean.

The man who had prepared the Döner for us was actually the owner. His name is Kiyanosh, and he moved to Leipzig from his home country of Iran. In between helping customers, he sat down with us for a chat about his family, his home country and Leipzig in general. His Döner store was one of the first in former East Germany, after the wall fell in 1990. He told us proudly, that over the years he managed to open more than eight stores. We had a great conversation with him while enjoying our Döner Teller. It was definitely worth spending our late lunch break there, and we left feeling like we had a friend in Leipzig.

Drinks to Try With Your Döner
When you go for a Döner (at any store), make sure to try one of the Turkish sodas they sell. My favorite is Gazoz, which is a lemonade-like drink, made with whey, water, sugar, and fruit flavors. Its in a bright green and yellow can, you can see it in front of Denise in the picture above. The taste of Gazoz is most comparable to Sprite, but less sweet in my opinion. As a parting gift, Kiyanosh gave my mom a yogurt-based drink with water and salt called Ayran, and he told her, that this drink would keep her healthy.

Kiyanosh, if you read this, thank you again for your hospitality and great food. We will stop by again on our next visit to Leipzig!

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My 5 Favorite German Cakes and Pies

My 5 Favorite German Cakes & Pies, from left, Donauwelle, Mandarinenkuchen, Bienenstich, Gedeckter Apfelkuchen and Pflaumenkuchen

Our local grocery store in Florida sells “German Chocolate Cake” and when I moved to the United States years ago, a coworker told me to try it. You should have seen my face after the first bite. I expected rich layers of chocolate and what I got was a mouthful of chocolate cake with a pecan-coconut filling. Coconut in a German cake!? We do not have a tropical climate with coconuts growing on our trees. Obviously, this was the first and last time I ever bought this cake.

I want to introduce you to my favorite German cakes and pies. Since this is my personal list, the most-well known Black Forest Cake did not make the cut. It is a good cake, no doubt, but the 5 cakes and pies below beat the Black Forest Cake easily, at least in my opinion.

The Donauwelle cake is named after the German river Danube, which originates near the Black Forest. Welle means wave and is very fitting, since the marbled cake does have wavy patterns. Embedded in the marbled cake are tart cherries, topped by buttercream and a chocolate frosting, that also has a wave structure to it. The tart cherries in the Donauwelle go great with the chocolate frosting and I love it when the cake is chilled and the buttercream is cold and refreshing.

Another refreshing cake is the tangerine cake, made with a short pastry bottom, topped with a curd cheese mixture and garnished with tangerines. Besides the curd cheese mixture, I have also had this cake with a sour cream and also a cream cheese filling. No matter which way, this cake will melt in your mouth and the sweet tangerines go great with the tart cream filling.

Literally translated this cake is called bee sting cake and it is filled with delicious vanilla cream, finished with an almond & honey layer on top. While absolutely yummy, it can be a bit intimidating to eat this cake on a first date, because the cream filling will ooze out of all sides, when you try to cut through the crispy top layer.

Gedeckter Apfelkuchen
This is an apple cake variation with a classic shortcrust top layer, translated to covered apple cake and, to me, most reminiscent to the classic American apple pie. The German version has a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity from the apples, certainly much less sweet than its American counterpart.

The last one in this list and I saved the best for last. This plum cake is my absolute favorite and widely available July through October during plum season. The yeast dough hold the plums in place, all you have to do is top it with some fresh whipped cream and it is heaven on a plate.

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My Five Favorite German Sausages

Whenever I travel to Germany and have the chance to eat German sausages, I take that chance. Sausages have a long tradition and today about 1,500 sausage varieties are produced in Germany. The German newspaper Die Zeit posted a great picture several years ago, showing an abundance of regional sausage varieties. Quite overwhelming, but I am here to help and guide you to the best German sausages, at least the ones I enjoy the most.

Bockwurst Photo by: Flickr User pure man meat

#1. Bockwurst
The Bockwurst originated in Berlin, but is known all over Germany nowadays. The inventors were the Berlin innkeeper Robert Scholtz and his butcher, Benjamin Löwenthal. Back in 1889, Robert Scholz served bock beer (stronger, malty taste beer) together with a coarse crackling sausage, consisting only of veal and beef. The pairing with the bock beer gave the Bockwurst its name. Today, you can find Bockwurst at many pubs, served with mustard and a bread roll (pictured above). Also, it is served warm, either out of a pot with hot water or heated in a microwave. I prefer the water method, just make sure not to boil them, otherwise they will crack.

Frankfurter Würstchen Photo by: Jessica Spengler Flickr User wordridden

#2. Frankfurter Würstchen
Frankfurter sausages, often abbreviated to simply Frankfurter, can only be produced by butcher shops in the greater Frankfurt area and has an actual trademark dispute dating back to 1929. A butcher in Berlin, who made and sold “Frankfurter Würstchen”, was sued by 13 butchers in Frankfurt and lost the lawsuit. If you are in the Frankfurt area, these sausages are a must. Very mild, go great with ketchup or mustard and most comparable to an American “hot dog” sausage. By the way: their close twin brother, the Wiener Würstchen, is made with pork and beef, while Frankfurters are made exclusively from pork.

#3. Frankfurter Rindswurst
And while we talk about my former homeland, we have to talk about the Frankfurter Rindswurst, also. This sausage was and still is produced by the well-known butcher shop of Gref-Völsing in Frankfurt.

Dieses Foto von Gref-Völsings Rindswurst wurde von TripAdvisor zur Verfügung gestellt

The shop of Karl Gref and his wife Wilhelmine Völsing first opened on January 18, 1894. Back then, in order to win over jewish customers, Gref-Völsing offered 100% beef (German word is Rind) sausages, which corresponds with the Jewish food laws and can be eaten as kosher. The Frankfurter Rindswurst is usually heated in a pot with hot water, or occasionally grilled. My favorite way to eat them is cut up in thick lentil soup, the way my grandmother used to prepare them.

Weisswurst Photo by Flickr User cyclonebill

#4. Weisswurst
The name Weisswurst translates to white sausage and is most common in the Bavarian state capital Munich, but also in other parts of Bavaria. According to legend, the Weisswurst was created by the innkeeper Joseph Moser on February 22, 1857, when he wanted to produce veal sausages, but realized that he ran out of veal casings. Since his guests had already ordered the first sausages, he quickly filled the veal meat into thicker swine casing. Instead of roasting them, he heated them in hot water, fearing that the casings would burst when roasted. The guests loved the new preparation method, especially since the Weisswurst had to be made fresh every morning, due to the lack of refrigerators or freezers. And even though we have all the cooling and preservation methods known to mankind today, the Weisswurst is traditionally still eaten before the clock strikes noon. Old habits die hard. Try yours with a pretzel, sweet mustard and a beer.

Bratwurst Photo by Flickr User cyclonebill

#5. Bratwurst
The bratwurst is the most iconic and well known German sausage, often sold as “brats” in the United States. You will find the Bratwurst sold during German summer festivals, as well as on Christmas markets in the wintertime. The name Bratwurst derives from the German word Brät, which translates to finely chopped meat with the main ingredient being pork. Traditionally Bratwurst is grilled over a wood fire or electric grills, giving it nice marks on the outside and making it the perfect to-go food in a bread roll or with some curry ketchup on top. This would also be my favorite kind of Bratwurst, called Currywurst. We already wrote about it here.

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Photo Credits
Shared Through https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
#1: Bockwurst Photo by: Flickr User pure man meat
#2: Frankfurter Würstchen Photo by: Jessica Spengler Flickr User wordridden
#3: Frankfurter Rindswurst from Gref-Völsing in Frankfurt Photo via Trip Advisor

#4: Weisswurst & #5 Bratwurst Photos by Flickr User cyclonebill

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Thank you For Reading! Denise & Sebastian | Photo by Irene Fiedler