German bread and delights
Freshly baked bread at a German bakery
(© picture-alliance/ dpa)
Germany has 300 different kinds of bread
Germans ate on average more than 87 kilograms of bread, cakes and pastries last year, by the calculation of the Chamber of Agriculture of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. And according to the GMF - the foundation that researches cereal production, marketing and consumption - German millers produced around 5.6 million tons of flour and other milling products from wheat and rye for use in the country in 2005. The range of 300 breads on offer in Germany is unsurpassed. The range of cakes and pastries is even more diverse. More than 1,200 different kinds of fine pastries are said to come out of German bakeries every day. The reason for this huge diversity lies in the unique combination of wheat and rye used in the bakers' recipes. This is reflected in the breads that are favourites among German consumers. According to market researchers, rye breads and breads containing wheat mixtures top the list. Breads made from a mixture of grains and whole-wheat breads are second and third on the popularity scale. German agriculture's cental marketing association (CMA) has surveyed the breadrolls favoured by the clients. The "normal" wheat roll is preferred by 37 per cent, whether in the shorter, longer or round form. Other favourites named by 29 per cent of those surveyed were in the group of whole-grain and mixed-grain rolls. Rye rolls were preferred by 15 per cent, and lye rolls - breads like pretzels that are glazed with a lye solution before baking - came in at 12 per cent, with poppy-seed rolls at 11 per cent.Among bread-loving nations within the European Union, Sweden and Denmark were behind Germany with average consumption each of more than 70 kilograms. The French each ate 54 kilograms of baguette during 2005.
(© Foto: Wolfgang Kumm dpa/lbn)
Delights from Germany
Germany, land of the poet and philosopher - and the gourmet? Germans have not to date enjoyed the reputation of epicureans. Food was for long seen mainly as a means to ensuring the ability to work, but this idea has undergone a sea-change in recent decades. German gastronomy has developed its very own haute cuisine. There is no other European country in which the food and wine culture has developed as strongly as it has in Germany, even French experts in the area agree. Only in its French homeland does the Michelin restaurant guide list more three-star restaurants. In Germany between the Baltic and the Alps there are seven chefs of world renown, most of them in the south and west.It is not only culinary creativity, top-quality ingredients and excellent handiwork that mark out top German chefs like Harald Wohlfahrt and Dieter Mueller. The top German restaurants are also much less expensive than their counterparts in France and England. Here the chefs know that the clientele look closely at price.The small town of Baiersbronn near Freudenstadt in the north of the Black Forest is the German mecca for top chefs, boasting no fewer than three starred restaurants, one each with one, two and three stars. Harald Wohlfahrt in Baiersbronn-Tonbach has generally been regarded as the best German chef for more than 10 years. There are two three-star restaurants in Bergisch-Gladbach near Cologne, where Joachim Wissler and Dieter Mueller are in the kitchen. Austrian Eckart Witzigmann initiated the German culinary explosion in Munich 35 years ago. The most important German prize for excellence in cuisine is now named after him and presented by the recently founded German Academy for the Culinary Sciences. The most recent recipients include the Nobel literature laureate, Guenter Grass, whose works often include references to food, and Spain's master of the culinary avant-garde, Ferran Adrìa.