WHat do West Germans prepare real well?
DH is going to Bonn and wants to know what to order in a restaurant? What are they known for?
Wow, starting from ground zero is he? First don't worry. Most of what we think of as
Traditional Hearty American Fare traces back to German food. Older versions of
the Joy of Cooking, for example, wouldn't be out of place in a German kitchen.
So various sorts of roasted meats, potatoes, breads, hot dogs even, will be on the menu.
Familiar ingredients in interestingly different preparations.
Germany's a big place with a lot of local specialties. I'm completely unfamiliar with
Bonn, though. But nobody goes to Bonn for pleasure, so he's probably there on
business? I'd recommend mentioning to any of his colleagues that he'd really like
to begin to understand German food and where would they recommend he eat.
That should guarantee a native guide to some great local chow.
Also: beer. He should drink all the beer he can. It's different there. Better. So better
that even if he thinks he doesn't like beer he should drink lots. And if that fails, Bonn
is pretty close to the heart of the German wine region. So there are options.
Fine German food is wonderful and far from the average American's image of brats, kraut and beer. Your DH will find elegant meals if he eats in top restaurants.
This time of year these should be a lot of game dishes and the Germans excel at preparing them. Mushrooms of all varieties are found in the forests and are put to excellent use. Pork is wonderful and very highly flavored on its own but treated well by German cooks. Vegetables tend to be very seasonal and I always found a greater variety in common use than in the US.
Everything is exceptionally fresh. Even cured meats have a cleanness to them. The breads are fabulous.
I've always followed the advice of German friends to make sure I tried local specialties rather than ordering something that I was already familiar with. I've not been disappointed.
Leave room for dessert. Glorious cookies and sweets.
Bonn is an international and business center so there will be fine restaurants and he should have no trouble finding excellent examples of classic German food of high quality.
If he's going soon, one very important seasonal specialty in that area is federweisser.
It's partly-fermented grape juice. Sweet, tart, fizzy, with a surprising kick,
eaten with little onion tarts. It's really one of the most delicious drinks on earth.
It's either bought from roadside stands selling it in gallon-sized jugs, or just wak around
reading the little chalkboards in front of restaurants -- places that have it normally make
a big point of it on the sign out front.
Another local specialty, though Bonn might be a bit too far north, is Saumagen (pronounced,
roughly, "ZOW-moggin' "). Reportedly Helmut Kohl's favorite food, so there's gotta be
someplace in Bonn that serves it. Pig stomach, stuffed with potatoes, boiled, sliced, fried,
then served with burnt onions. it's a lot better than it sounds.
When? The Weinnachtsmarkt's will begin soon - Christmas markets, set up in large areas (stadiums and town commons), with many individual booths selling trinkets and crafts. The best part are the food booths - smoked trout and herring in small hard rolls (brotchen), hard-smoked hams (schwarzwald schinken), and all the wursts and schnitzels you could eat... and then walk around with a cup of gluhwein (hot mulled wine).
Breakfasts are memorable. Most hotels have incredible buffets that include all sorts of brined and smoked fishes and meats, wonderful butters for great breads.