Can Cook, Must Cook

The food adventures of Franka P, a Trinidadian journalist living in London, UK. I'll write about my forays into all types of food and cooking, particularly Caribbean food. I'll also review books and recipes by the leading food writers and talk about the issues making headlines in the gastronomic world.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Food and Football - Part Two

What is it with Germans and salt??
Don't they understand how to use herbs and spices to add flavour to their food? Almost everything I ate in Germany tasted like a Saxa table salt overdose.
I wonder if this is a new phenomena because when I last visited Germany some seven years ago, I didn't have this problem. Maybe my taste buds have matured?
That said, it was really hit and miss time with food on my visit for the World Cup.
My first meal, a burger in the Lindner Congress Hotel bistro wasn't bad. It was a pretty hefty burger with bacon, cheese, salad and chips and priced at a very reasonable €14 but it was a bit salty.
I thought I was being picky, but then Stefan, another Trini I met in the bistro said his pork ribs were also salty. As Stefan touted his solution of drinking a half litre of beer, I wondered if the salty food thing was an insidious plot to make sure beer sales escalate during the World Cup.

But the Germans don't need to do anything to sell their beer because it's top class stuff. I love their dark beer which I had at every opportunity.
In fact, I had so much of it that I had to make an effort to drink water to give my kidneys a fair chance!
The other thing that Germany is known for is great sausages and Nuremberg (where the epic TT v England clash took place) is known as the sausage capital of Europe.
I had two 'hot dogs' on the streets in Nuremberg and the sausages were excellent, as was the bread. The sausages weren't salty at all, in fact they were quite tasty and went well with piquant mustard and caramelised onions.
We used our last day in Germany to explore the delights of Frankfurt and our first stop was a bakery with an eye catching array of breads and cakes.
I bought a
Stollen cake to share with my colleagues in the office. Stollen cake is a traditional German cake that's usually eaten at Christmas. It's got a rich, fruity dough that's usually filled with marzipan.
Some Stollen cakes can be sickly sweet and claggy because of the liberal use of marzipan but this bakery found the perfect balance and the result was light, moist and extremely tasty.
I found an interesting mix of eateries in the bit of Frankfurt we explored, there were some sandwich bars, sushi takeaways and a few Italian-styled restaurants. But we wanted traditional German food.
Eventually, we found a gastropub/beer garden - don't ask me the name - with an interesting looking menu. One of the specials for the day was roast turkey, an odd choice for a hot summer day I thought.
Paul and Lisa started with the soup of the day, a sumptuous looking, silkily textured carrot soup which was spoilt by too much salt. Did the chef not realise that a bit of coriander and cumin would have done more to enhance the flavour than a ladle of salt?
I opted not to have a starter, and went for the most traditional looking main on the menu, the Frankfurt Plate. An original Gref-Volsings boiled beef sausage, a pair of boiled pork sausages and a fried slice of pork sausage with potato salad, complemented with a dollop of tangy mustard and a julienned gherkin.
The sausages were spot on and I was quite taken by the way the contrasting texture of the sausages worked with the creamy potato salad and the tangy mustard.
As we were finishing our meal, we noticed a flurry of activity in the street and a host of police officers heading to a nearby shop. In a flash, the street was cleared and the police tape was drawn but no one seemed fussed in the restaurant, even though it looked like the police were acting on a bomb threat. That was our cue to pay up and look for a deli where we could find some charcuterie cuts.
I bought about four types of meat, including some yummy South African ham and some serano ham for which I paid €8.33. I was laughing because if I'd bought this in London, I would have paid something like £20.
My culinary experience in Germany this time was markedly different than the last, mainly because I was a vegetarian. I went to several top notch restaurants and my memories are of asparagus and potatoes in every conceivable form - Germany is not a good place for vegetarians.
This time, I think that having to eat on the run meant that I got some excellent street food and a lot of great beer quite cheaply. I hope one day, I'll return to Germany and have a magical culinary experience but believe me, I'm not holding my breath.
Check the
photos of food in Germany.

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  • At 15:36, Anonymous Cherrie said…

    The thing that really stood out for me in Germany was the lack of ice in drinks. There was little available, even when you asked for it. Have you ever tried to drink a luke warm rum and coke - not good. It almost made me want to give it up.


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