Sunday, February 15, 2009

In days gone by you have received many farm and weather reports but this week it is time to give the long awaited and anticipated report. This report comes after much trial and research. Perhaps if you are fortunate this information will some day be of great value to you as you visit Germany. You see, after many tests and trials I am prepared to give you a food report. There have been many things that we have tested that have failed and some others that have been really note worthy. So let's begin!

A local bakery - shelves stocked fresh every day.

The kase bretzel is coated with melted cheese and is very delicious.

BREADS If you ever got beyond Wonder Bread and the white inflated breads you will love the breads in Germany. There are bread stores every where and almost all of the breads are better than anything we ever had at home. Normally I am not a rye bread fan but in Germany that all changes. Rye bread is good! Rolls are good! Bread stores are good places to test everything. We don't buy much bread at the commissary because the German bread is better!

DAIRY PRODUCTS Cottage cheese in Europe is not good. I've tried some from the commissary and some at the German markets. I would pass on it all. Cheese and milk are a "whole 'nother story"! Milk comes in either 3.5 or 1.5% fat one liter boxes and both are very good. I would say the milk is pretty reasonably priced at about $2.50 per gallon and tastes the closest to fresh farm milk that I have had in years. Good stuff! The cheeses are also great. A huge variety that are very good and lots to test and taste. I like them. The ice cream can be a bit trickier! Some of the ice creams we have had have been pretty poor and other have been really top stuff. The safest bet is if it is Italian ice cream it is probably really really good. Butter gets one of the four star ratings! If you want the best in butter go for the Irish butter (Kerry Gold)! Put that on the breads and you will have a whole new idea of how good the simple things can be!

Our favorite restaurant around the corner where the Italian pizza is very good. It is always great to hear the cook speaking Italian.

PIZZA This isn't Kansas or the states when it comes to pizza. Sorry but Pappa Murphy's or Ogden Pizzeria or The Pie have no competition from the standard German pizzas. Most of the German pizzas are on a hard quarter inch thick waffle type type crust and they don't get the cheese right. There are a lot of "Tuna" pizzas. Hmmmmm! But you should also know that if you want pizza here go to a restaurant where they are speaking Italian and you will probably get a really good fresh pizza. There is one place about an hour away in Wiesbaden that has tremendous pizza and one just around the corner from our place that is really good. After that I'll pass on the rest.

Translated: In an emergency eat wurst without bread. This saying is over our dining room entrance doorway. It was put up by the previous couple.

This is Frikadelle - a combination spicey ground meat mixture on a hard bun. Nothing like hamburger. It is the other choice at a fast food place.

Most bratwurst is longer than this one.

BRATWURST The Germans have those babies down to a science. One German friend said that we should try the sausages in Germany because they are very good. Then he went on to say that he said they were very good but certainly not good for you. I will say they are really really good. And some how we missed the mark on the roll. At home we made it a big deal when we got hot dogs long enough to fit the roll. Bratwurst comes on a four to six inch long hard roll and are from eight to twenty inches long. That is the way it should be. Put some good dark mustard on it and lets have some brat!

A giant range free egg from our neighbor store "Kiefer Eier".

EGGS Our landlord, Herr Kiefer, has a store that sells just eggs. The store is across the street and that is where our eggs come from. Eggs in Germany also get a four star rating. They have a real shell and the yoke is dark yellow or golden in color like a real egg is supposed to be. Our hens back home are kept in cages and pushed for numbers of eggs and it shows. These are restaurant quality eggs and they have taste and are of quality!

WATER & JUICES For centuries the water was not safe to drink in Europe and the Europeans have never gotten over it. They either drink alcohol or juices or water that is carbonated. I can't stand carbonated water and juice isn't much better. Tap water is fine to drink or we ask for water without gas!

GRAVY MIXES There are lots of quick mixes on the market shelves in Germany and most of them are pretty good. We like most all of the gravy mixes.

NOODLES Germans have some great noodles. "Spatzle" comes with many meals or is offered as one option. If offered - take it! It is good! A noodle per say, is really a knodel, or dumpling, usually potato but we have seen liver dumplings in the stores.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES Most fresh produce comes from Spain and is very good at the German stores. It is fresher than the commissary and lasts much longer. Clementine tangerines are wonderful as is the lettuce. A favorite apple is "honey crunch". Avacados are great too.

SCHNITZEL You hear a lot about German schnitzel and let me tell you it is good. It is pork which is pounded really thin and then breaded and then fried. By itself it is okay but when you go "Jagerschnitzel" it is great! "Jager" is "hunter" and it supposedly came from hunters using what they could find in the forest to make a gravy for their schnitzel. It has mushrooms and lots of good things and I love it.

Nussnacker Ring or Nugat Ring, usually available at the bakery on Thursdays.

DESSERTS Well this one is a mixed bag. The famous "Black Forest Cake" of Germany failed every test I gave it. The cake part is pretty poor and you have to be careful because most of them have alcohol in them. I didn't find any cakes or pies in Germany that I would recommend. Apple streudel is another story. "Apfel" streudel is great. It is the most like an apple pie that you will find and they do a great job with the crust. It is another four star winner. There is a FIVE STAR winner I wish to mention. It is called "Nussnackering". It has a great cookie base that it topped with nougat and then covered in chocolate. This baby is the Grammy winner! It is a five and a half star winner! Look for them at the bakery shops. If they are out of them then I or some other wise person was there ahead of you! And I know which shops have the very best ones!!!!

The best is the Belgium chocolates in the pop can.

CHOCOLATE Okay here is the big one. German chocolate is very good. Swiss chocolate is very good. Austrian chocolate is very good and you won't go wrong with any of them. But if you are looking for the very best in chocolate I would give the award the Belgian chocolate boys. (Five star chocolate!!) We have had some from Belgium that was about as perfect as it can get. They seem to come in small packages or at least it seems to disappear quickly. Either it evaporates overnight or someone was helping it escape! I don't know which but it didn't last long.

EAT OUTSIDE Europeans love to eat outside. Until early 2008 smoking was allowed in restaurants and it made it pretty tough to enjoy your food inside but that has changed. Europeans eat outside all year long. I admit that I am more of a fair weather outside eater. It is fun and we have enjoyed some great meals outside!

Well, that's the travel/dining report for this mission. We hope you all have a wonderful burger from the quick food place - we'll be down the street at one of our favorite places. (And for the kids and those who have lost their taste buds - they do have Burger Kings, McDonalds, Taco Bells, etc., over here. We confess to going to a McDonalds the first night in Baumholder because we didn't know where to get something to eat and at one Burger King because we were still pretty new and didn't know of anything better in the town we were in that day. But that was it!!!)

Love to all and may your taste buds enjoy every thing you send their way!

Elder & Sister Karn