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Germany is a country that has been central to Europe since its foundation some hundred and thirty years ago. And central to this country’s experience has been food, yet this remains one of the world’s great unsung cuisines, generally condemned as stodgy or boring, but there is much more to Germany than sausages and sauerkraut. There is a large variety of rich culinary traditions which have developed in the different regions of Germany. A North/South divide is apparent when it comes to German food and culture. The North is influenced by Scandinavia and its closeness to the sea, while those in the South prefer lighter food, influenced by nearby Italy and Austria.
Germany is a fertile land ideal for raising livestock, so pork, lamb, beef and dairy products are central to the German diet. In the days before modern refrigeration, Germans prolonged the shelf life of their meat by smoking, marinating and salting. And this led to the nation’s predilection for sausages and preserved foods.

In Planet Food: Germany, Merrilees Parker visits the world famousOktoberfest where she discovers the best of German beers, as well as theWeisswurst - Bavaria’s very own sausage! Nursing a hangover, she heads off to uncover the history of the pretzeland tries her hand at making the deliciousBlack Forest Gateau from one of the best bakers in the country. She discovers the two sides of the capital Berlin, sampling its new and sophisticated cuisine as well as its nostalgic produce that originated from the former GDR.


TV Shows: Planet Food - Germany Recipes: Black Forest Gateau (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte)


For the sponge:
6 egg yolks
200g egg
1 cup sugar
80g sifted flour
20g cocoa powder
35g wheat flour
40 g melted chocolate
greaseproof paper

For the Syrup:
300g cold water
150g sugar
70g kirschwassser (cherry liquor)

For the Filling:
400g cherries in a jar (Schattenmorellen)
1 litre cream (32% fat)
corn flour
70g sugar
5g Vanilla sugar
roasted peel of lemon
80g Kirschwasser (45%)
100g syrup (see above)

For the Topping:
choco curls (make from a chocolate bar by shaving with vegetable peeler) 
fresh or glace cherries for decoration


1. Heat the eggs and the sugar in a metal bowl over the cooker for a few minutes to around fifty degrees. Remove the bowl from the fire and keep whisking the eggs to aerate the mixture until thick and fluffy, about 10 minutes. The mixture should go about 4 or 5 times as big and change colour. From orange to a very pale and white colour.

2. Add the flour and the cocoa powder and fold it in very gently. Then add the melted butter and stir it carefully.

3. Put the mixture into a double lined tin, flatten it out and bake it in a pre-heated (200C) oven for about 20 minutes.

4. Take the cake out of the oven. Turn it upside down and cut some cracks into the greaseproof paper, so that the steam can evaporate. Let it rest for twenty four hours.

5. Open a jar of cherries, pour two tablespoons of cherry liquor in a glass bowl, and the rest of the cherry liquor into a pan. Add one and a half tablespoons of sugar and a spoonful of corn flour to the cherry liquor in the glass bowl, the corn flour acts as a thickener. Also add a pinch of roasted peel of lemon and cinnamon to it.

6. Heat the rest of the cherry liquor left in the pan and let it come up to the boil.

7. Add the cherry mixture to the cherry liquor and keep stirring. Then add the cherries and heat them through.

8. Pour it into a bowl to thicken and cool down.

9. Divide the sponge into three layers and pour melted chocolate onto the bottom one and spread it evenly. This is going to be the bottom of the cake and it will give the whole gateau stability. While it cools down in the fridge, make the whipped cream and the syrup.

10. For the whipped cream, whip together cream, sugar and vanilla sugar. The key is to start whipping slowly, making the mixture lighter.

11. For the syrup, put two parts water to one sugar in a bowl and stir it, and very important for an authentic Black Forest Gateau, add two schnapp glasses of Kirschwasser.

12. Take the chocolate base out of the fridge and brush on some Kirschwasser syrup on it, add part of the cherry mixture, and about 250 g of whipped cream. Put the second layer onto the cake, brush on some more of the Kirschwasser syrup and put 350 g of whipped cream. Put the third layer onto the cake, brush on some Kirschwasser syrup, and spread the rest of the whipped cream onto the cake.

13. Then, decorate the top of the cake with more cream with a decorating pipe and the bottom with chocolate shavings. Place the rest of the chocolate shavings in the centre of the cake with some glace cherries.

Recipe from Mr Holz (Baker – Konditorei Backerei, Baiersbronn)

TV Shows: Planet Food - Germany Recipes: Paper Clip Asparagus


For the Crayfish:

  • 32 fresh crayfishes
  • 5 shallots (small onions)
  • 1 fennel cut in quarters (in 4 pieces)
  • 1 bay – leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of star anise
  • 1 teaspoon of white peppercorn
  • cumin
  • 1 celery stick


  • sea salt
  • 1 chilli
  • butter
  • 1 lime
  • a little bit of chervil

    For the asparagus:

  • 20 spears of asparagus same size
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 160 g. butter
  • 24 big paper-clips
  • 8 pieces of grease proof paper


1. Place a big pot of water on the cooker to boil, add sea salt, garlic, cumin, celery sticks, white peppercorn, fennel, star anise, a chilli, a bay leaf and shallots and let it simmer for 10 minutes. This will be used as the stock to cook the crayfish later on.

2. Place another large saucepan with plenty of water and a bit of sea salt, and let it boil.

3. Then swiftly peel the spears of asparagus. Place them in bundles of 5 on two pieces of grease proof paper before seasoning with salt and sugar and coating them with a little melted butter.

4. Fold the grease proof paper like a book and close it with the paper clips. Put the parcels next to each other on the bottom of the oven (don’t use a baking tray), so that the sugar caramelises.

5. Cook it for about 15-20 minutes at 220 C. While the asparagus are cooking, return to the crayfish.

6. Strain the vegetables out of the stock, and bring the stock to the boil for another 10 minutes.

7. Place the crayfish which are still alive at this point, into the large saucepan with salted water for 30 seconds. Take them out and put them in a tray with iced water to cool them down and prevent them from cooking any more.

8. Take them out of the iced water, turn their tails and pull to take out the intestines. Then, place them into the pot where the stock has been cooked for the aroma to go into the crayfish. On average, 1 minute to a 100 grams worth of crayfish.

9. Cool them into iced water again and peel them with a pair of scissors.

10. Heat some butter in a pan until brown, add the peeled crayfish, the juice of 1 lime and some chervil.

11. Remove the ‘paperclip asparagus’ parcels from the oven, place each of them on a plate, cut them open and drizzle the crayfish over the opened parcel.

Recipe from Kolja Kleeberg (Chef – VAU, Berlin)

TV Shows: Planet Food - Germany Recipes Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon


For the potato cakes:

  • - 1 big potato per cake (4 in total)
  • Speck (bacon)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Pinch of flour
  • Black pepper
  • Butter
  • Sunflower oil
  • Salt
  • 12 slices of smoked salmon

    For the dressing:

  • 4 tbspoons of cream fraiche
  • Horseradish
  • Coriander
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Sweet mustard
  • Chives
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Radiccio
  • Rocket
  • Black pepper


For the Potato Cakes:

1. Cut the speck (bacon) into little cubes. Speck is quite salty so don’t add too much salt. Put it into a really hot frying pan. Make sure that the pan is really hot, so the speck become really crispy.

2. While the speck is cooking, go onto the potatoes and grate them. Do it at the very last minute, otherwise they will turn grey. Before you fry them, get the moisture out drying them with kitchen paper.

3. Chop some fresh thyme and add it to the potatoes.

4. Drain the bacon in kitchen paper and also add it to the potato with a bit of black pepper. Mix it with your hands. So that this mixture sticks together in the pan, add a little bit of flour. Make a patty with the potato mixture and place it in the pan in some really hot butter and oil.

5. Take the potato cake out after 5 or 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cake, and put it onto a plate.

For the Dressing

1. Cream fraiche is the basis of the dressing, so put 4 tablespoons in a bowl and a teaspoon of honey mustard, add the juice of half a lemon, stir it and add about a teaspoon of fresh horseradish. Grate the horseradish quite fast and don’t overdo it, it’s very strong. For a little bit of colour, add some chives and coriander. Mix it all together with some rodiccio, rocket and dandelion leaves.

2. For the presentation, put 3 slices of smoked salmon on top of each potato cake and pile up the dandelion/cream fraiche dressing on top of the salmon. A little bit of lime on the side, and finally a twist of pepper. Makes a perfect weekend breakfast.

Recipe from Merrilees Parker

TV Shows: Planet Food - Germany Recipes Franconian Sausages & Sauerkraut


For the sauerkraut:
5 kg white cabbage
100g salt

For Franconian sauerkraut: 
1 kg sauerkraut
1 onion
5 juniper berries
1 apple
250gm water
150gm white wine
200 gm smoked belly of pork (bacon)
6 tbsp goose fat

For Franconian sausages:
600 gm neck of the pork
400 gm belly of the pork
100 gm milk
1-2 eggs
19 gm salt
2 gm pepper
1.5 gm macys (flower of nutmeg)
1 gm cardamom (nutmeg skin)
1 gm marjoram
10 gm white wine

For the sausage skins:
pork intestines 28-30 mm thickness


For the Sauerkraut:

1. Discard the leaves of the white cabbage and grate it.

2. Then put layers of cabbage and sprinkle salt alternately in a terracotta pot and stamp the mixture with a stick until the juice is over the shredded cabbage.

3. Cover the pot with a cloth and weighed down with planks and stones. This mixture is then left in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks, before cooking it.

4. Fry some onion in 6 tablespoons of goose fat until it goes a little bit brown. Add the sauerkraut and heat it through for five minutes.

5. Once it’s nice and hot pour a cup of water, put the lid back on and let it cook for twenty minutes.

6. Then add the chopped apple, 5 juniper berries and the bacon. Stir it well, add a bit more water and a big dash of white wine and cook it for further thirty five minutes. Just before it’s nearly cooked, add a bit more wine.

For the Sausages:

1. Cut the neck and the belly of pork and grind it into a bowl. Add some herbs including Macys (flower of the nutmeg), cardamom, Marjoram, a good pinch of salt and pepper, and mix it all with your hands.

2. Then add two eggs and mix it again, some milk and mix it one last time.

3. Pull over the bowl with the casings made of pigs gut. Pick one out and find the end of the skin. Then, take a funnel and slip the casing over the end in one deft movement. Stuff the casing with the mixture, before tying it off to make a sausage.

4. Once all the sausages are ready, fry them in a little oil in a frying pan. Serve them with steaming sauerkraut, mustard and a good bottle of beer.

Recipe from Georg Scharf (Butcher – Fleischer Fachgeschaft, Bischberg)

Places Mentioned - Germany

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