Trina's North Germany

A glimpse into an ordinary German life


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What North Germans like to eat: Quark

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Quark is a kind of cream cheese that is popular all over Germany. You can use it for dessert, adding a bit of vanilla, sugar and fresh fruit, which is my favorite, or you can add a lot of herbs like chives, parsley, chervil or others, some crushed garlic, salt and pepper and serve it with jacket potatoes or baked potatoes.

You can get Quark with 0,1 % fat or with 20% and 40% fat. If you chose the lean version, which you can get nice and creamy by adding some sparkling mineral water and use Stevia instead of sugar you have a healthy meal full of protein and hardly any calories.

It’s a nice snack in summer. We have it very often: P1010597_bearbeitet-1

 

 


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What North Germans like to eat: Fischbrötchen

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I don’t know an English word for my favorite snack: Fischbrötchen. In North Germany you will find stalls selling rolls (Brötchen) with  freshly fried, smoked or salted fish at any market, at the beach or in fish shops.

A fresh, crisp roll, a salad leaf, perhaps a bit of tartar sauce or mayonaise, heaps of mild onions, pickles,  and fresh fish – simply delicious and hardly any cholesterol (that matters as you get older, unfortunately). A great alternative to the famous German Bratwurst.

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My favorite Fischbrötchen is Matjesbrötchen, which you can see below. Matjes are the fillet of  herings, which have been salted in barrels over a time. The real Matjes, which you will get in late May/June are of herings that have not yet spawned. They are sort of melting in your mouth. Just imagine: sitting in the sun, inhaling sea air and biting into your Fischbrötchen – bliss!

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Grünkohl

Grünkohl 2Grünkohl, or kale,  is a typical North German winter meal.  Soon after the first frost Restaurants will announce traditional all-you-can-eat  ‘Grünkohl’ arrangements  in the local papers.

A real Grünkohl meal consists of at least two kinds of different pork meats and a special sausage, the highlight of the meal. The meat that is boiled with the Grünkohl is usually some Kassler, a salted (cured) and mildly smoked pork meat, some belly of pork,  and  Schweinebacke, meat from the pig’s cheek. It is also salted and smoked and, at least in my opinion, neglectable, as it tends to be kind of rubbery and tasteless.

Grünkohl  is served with potatoes, as most North German dishes. However, you can get special potatoes just for Grünkohl. They are very small, and after boiling they will be fried or roasted in butter. They taste a bit more sweetish than ordinary sprouts.

Now, each region in North Germany has its own special sausage for Grünkohl. Around Bremen you will  have ‘Pinkel’, a very rough, spicy sausage, Kohlwurst  (‘cabbage sausage) is served in Schleswig – Holstein,  and  Bregenwurst in Northern Saxony.

P1030652Having grown up in Northern Saxony I like Bregenwurst best, of course. ’ Bregen’ is the Low German word (Plattdeutsch) for brain, and in the old times, when nothing was wasted after slaughtering, brain was an important ingredient. These days you can eat the sausage without being afraid of BSE, it is not allowed to use brain any more.

Last Sunday my 77-year old mother invited the family to a traditional ‘Grünkohlessen’, and, oh, I really, really loved it. She is growing her own cabbage in the garden and it is a lot of work to clean and cut the cabbage for so many people. But honestly, nobody is able to make it as good as she does, so  thank you, Mam, for making this for us! It was a real treat!