Here at Gymglish, we’re convinced that eating your way to language mastery is a tasty way of learning.
To that end, we’re highlighting 5 traditional foods to try out (or to avoid) on your next trip to Salzburg or Düsseldorf. These foods are not everyday affairs – they’re re on the adventurous side, but we think you’re the adventurous type, so let’s get forking!
You’ll find this condiment in most German regions: the Schmalz, a melted pork fat puree mixed with onions or apples. Often used as a substitute for butter, we recommend eating Schmalz with Schwarzbrot (traditional German black bread) or Bauernbrot (Farmer or Peasant’s bread). This fatty spread is also featured in Polish gastronomy as well as several Jewish communities (who use chicken or goose fat).
Fun Fact: Biggie Schmalz is the illest.
Meet Germany’s version of steak tartare. Mett is a dish of raw ground pork served with salt, pepper and garlic. You may ask yourself: why should I taste this dish? The answer is that the Mett is sometimes served in the shape of a hedgehog. To make the eyes, chefs use olives, and for the spikes, you can choose between raw onions or bretzels. Obviously, we assume you’re going to want to go raw dog for this one.
Good to know: the German law states that the Mett cannot exceed 35% fat. Stop policing my Mett, government!
Literally “tongue sausage”, the Zungenwurst is a childhood nightmare come to life. It’s made from pig’s blood, tongue, fat, vinegar, onions and sometimes oatmeal or breadcrumbs. How does one go about eating this tasty sausage? Sliced and fried with some butter of course, perhaps even some Schmalz?
Forget your beloved camembert, for Milbenkäse, also known as “mite cheese”, is considered a great delicacy, exclusively produced in the small village of Würchwitz in East Germany. This special cheese is left in a wooden box with cheese mites, microscopic insects that live in cheese, for three months. During this time, the bugs slowly eat the rind; the digestive liquid they ooze ferments the cheese. And then people eat the cheese — with the living mites. No judgment here, but that sounds absolutely revolting.
Who could say nein to veal heart and lungs? This Austrian winter dish is organ stew boiled for hours with vegetables, then chilled and diced into small pieces.
Fun fact: in Viennese, Beuschel (“lung”) comes from Bäuschel, the diminutive of Bausch, which refers to the consistency of the lung. Therefore, Beuscheltelefon (“lung telephone”) is actually a stethoscope. Good to know for your next check-up.
Note: These adventurous dishes may not be on everyone’s to-do list on their first trip to Germany. In the meantime, why not try our online German course Wunderbla? Fun, short and personalized German lessons. Guten Appetit!