Food in Germany and the Netherlands

written by bryan on January 31st, 2007 @ 10:42 AM

Yesterday I talked about Danish food. It was supposed to be an article on the food of Europe, but I ended up writing such a long article that I figured I should split it up.

On the Denmark/German border we ate at another Turkish restaurant. Typically shawarma, but we also ordered a “loaded turkish pizza”, which turned out to be very different from what I expected. I’ve had Turkish Pizza (Lahmacun) before, and have very much enjoyed them. The difference here is that they then took this pizza (after it was baked), loaded it up with shawarma topping and then rolled it up to eat like a shawarma sandwich. Delicious!

After Denmark, we crossed the border into Northern Germany. The food was very similar (not very many vegetables!), but the prices sure weren’t. The price of food in Germany may have been half of what it cost in Denmark. In fact, the food in German grocery stores may actually be cheaper than Canadian grocery stores.

One of my favorite meals was enjoyed in Germany. While cycling along the Nord-Ostsee canal, we noticed a baker and a butcher right across the street from each other. We picked up some bread, pastries, meat and cheese and then pedaled on to our campsite. The bread was a hearty 7-grain bread and the meat was some sort of cured sausage. Both were delicious and among the best bread and meat I have ever eaten in my lifetime.

Northern European meals do not contain many vegetables, and the vegetables that are consumed tend to be root vegetables, often pickled. This isn’t surprising since refrigerators and freezers have not been around for very long. In southern Europe fresh vegetables are available year round, but this is a recent phenomenon for Northern Europe.

A meal we had at a festival in Schleswig, the “vegetable” portion of the meal consisted of a stew that was basically mashed potatoes with squash, carrots, turnips and pork thrown in. The “meat” portion of the meal looked like a North American wiener but was infinitely tastier.

That’s right, wieners/sausages are very popular in Germany. No surprises there. That they’re much tastier than what we eat in North America really isn’t much of a surprise either, is it? Of course, pork schnitzel is also quite common.

The food in the Netherlands was also quite similar. Unfortunately, the prices came back up, but not up to Danish prices. Food stayed very traditional until we hit Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is a world city; and as such has food from all over the world. Even though we’d enjoyed Northern European food, we really enjoyed the opportunity to eat ethnic foods again. One particular highlight was an Argentine steak restaurant. It was very expensive; everything cost extra: the potatoes, the vegetables, mushrooms; even the bread cost extra! One of the best steaks I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of good steaks. Only one I had in Japan topped it.

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