From sizzling, juicy bratwursts to warm crepes oozing with Nutella filling, it’s hard not to fall in love with German cuisine. So why haven’t these delectable must-haves made it onto American shelves or in restaurants? It’s hard to believe since we live in such a diverse and connected world. I believe food is an overlooked, yet crucial part of traveling and experiencing other cultures, and going to Germany allowed me realize just what my taste buds were missing. This only made it harder during my acclimation back in the States. Look for these favorite specialties of mine in a German-American store near you!
1. Milka (See top photo): I’m sure many teenage girls like myself can relate, I’m crazy about chocolate. But this creamy, melt-in-your mouth chocolately goodness crushes Hersey’s on any playing field. With over 25 delightful flavors, Milka fills supermarkets all across Germany. My host mother knew of my obsession, and got me several for my trip home. Now, those bars making it home is questionable, because it might be my favorite thing ever. Come on, America.
2. Radler. Whether someone accidentally spilled beer in their lemonade, or someone spilled lemonade in their beer, this genius deserves some recognition. Radler is a scrumptious, sweet combination that is quite refreshing on a hot day. Put cold Radler in a stein at a music festival or in a cold bottle by the lake, and you’ve got a perfect beverage. Fresh Radler mixed on the spot is the best, because a citrus liquid called Zitrone is used. (Fun Fact: The drinking age in Germany for beer is 16 years old. Pretty different, huh?)
3. Schnitzel Sandwiches. First of all, why isn’t Schnitzel common in America? It’s fried meat, for Pete’s sake. Any how, put hot schnitzel in between warm bread and ketchup, and you have yourself a lunch that’s very hard to resist. Max Wimmer Bakery was across from the school I attended this summer in Germany, and the bakers knew every morning to make extra Schnitzel for the hungry Americans.
4. Mezzo Mix. Ok, so who is the guy who keeps accidentally mixing drinks? A Fanta and Coke combination provides a different taste than the soda offered in America, and its another thing that surprised me that America doesn’t carry. However, fountain drink machines, you are the real MVP. You’ll catch me at Speedway mixing the two in a Styrofoam cup.
5. Knoppers. Definitely guilty of having these for breakfast. I’ve never tasted chocolate wafers quite like these! With several layers of crispy wafers, hazel nut flavoring and milk chocolate, these are snacks I carried on subways and hiking through the Alps.
6. Doner Box. Ok, so maybe not exactly a German food, but Germany is the most immigrated country in the world right now. Most of these immigrants come from Turkey, so Turkish restaurants are I’m not complaining though, because they brought French Fries and meat in a box smothered in sauce to the rest of Europe. Not only is it delicious, but also it’s served in a cute little paper box with a fork for your convenience. I haven’t found a Turkish restaurant yet in America, but if someone does, I’ll be the first to want to know!
I apologize if I made you hungry, but I just had to share the wonderful foods I enjoyed while abroad. If your travel ever brings you to Europe, be sure to remember these six favorites of mine. Auf Wiedersehen und Guten Appetit!
Laura Jane is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky studying German.