The Leipzig contrast — part four
Last week I promised you to tell something about typical food from Leipzig. When I visit Leipzig, I am not allowed to stay in a hotel or eat in a restaurant. When I go to Leipzig I have to stay at our friends house. Their door is always open for us. They even sleep on the couch, so I can sleep in a bed. They are really hospitable. The mother (Gaby) always cooks for us. As I already told you last week, in east-Germany most of the people eat a hot meal around noon. During dinner time they eat bread.
In the Netherlands I find sauerkraut disgusting, but when Gaby prepares it I really like it. It is all about how you prepare something. My mother makes sauerkraut just with potatoes, while Gaby makes it with a lot of spices and with apple. This gives a really nice twist to the dish. She always makes this when I am in Leipzig, because she knows I really like it.
Another thing I have only eaten in Leipzig is eisbein. This is part of the knee of a pig. I personally do not like this dish very much, because I don’t like pork. But I heard that this is very traditional. It is made with sugar, onions, pepper and laurel, but this is the south German way. There are several different ways to prepare eisbein. If you cook eisbein, you should do this the day before you want to eat this, because it takes a really long time to prepare. This dish is normally eaten with sauerkraut as a side dish.
When you love vegetables you will love the next dish! This dish is full of vegetables, it is called Leipziger allerlei. It is originally made with peas, carrots, mushrooms and asparagus. But there is also a variation with crayfish, to make it a complete meal. I asked Gaby for the recipe, she would give me every recipe except for this one. She just says you have to experiment yourself with different spices. There is no set recipe for this dish. A fun fact; it is said that this dish is already from the Middle Ages. They used this dish to pretend that the city was poor (you were rich when you ate meat). In this way beggars and tax collectors would skip the city and went on to the next city. Gaby told me this story a hundred times. I really like it when a story is attached to something, it makes it more special.
Now let’s talk about my favourite part of dinner; dessert. This dessert was origionally invented for rich people. It is a traditional dessert from Sachsen called räbchen. Räbchen are plums filled with marzipan. When the räbchen are filled with marzipan, they are dipped in a sweet batter and deep fried. You have to eat the räbchen when they are still hot and with powdered sugar. You can buy these sweet pastries almost at every bakery in Leipzig / Sachsen.
A nice snack or lunch is a currywürst. This is my personal favourite. It is a sausage with curry sauce on top. Most of the time it is served with a German kaiserbrötchen (a sort of bread) or French fries. This dish is not only from Leipzig, but you can get it throughout the whole country. Amazing right?! You can get it in big fast-food chains, but the best ones are from little stalls. At the little stalls the sausages and the sauce are freshly prepared, while at the big chains the sauces and sausages are pre-packaged.
In Leipzig you can get the best currywürst at the würstmeister near the central station. It is a little bit hidden, but it is worth the search. Remember that in Germany a lot of shops close really early on Saturdays. The old traditional shops already close at around 1 pm. This is one of the influences that remained of the DDR period.
I can’t talk about food and don’t talk about beer. In Germany you never say no to beer. It is like the Italians with coffee. Leipzig has an own special beer brand called Leipziger Gose. You can call this beer brand rare. You can only order this beer in Leipzig, outside of Leipzig you can barely buy this beer anywhere. It is even so rare that between 1966 and 1986 the brand completely disappeared. That explains why the people from Leipzig are really proud of this beer brand.
Germany wouldn’t be Germany without the beer parties (Oktoberfest). Officially these Oktoberfests are held in Bayern, but every German city has beer parties as well. I visited on of the beer parties a few years ago. I didn’t visited the Oktoberfest, but a beer party to celebrate the 1000th year anniversary of the city of Leipzig. The beer party was in a really big tent.
It was a really nice experience even though I don’t like beer that much. The atmosphere was really nice (better than in Amsterdam on Friday night). Everyone is really helpful, even if you don’t speak German they still try to help you.
Now that I have told you about the communistic influences, my personal relation to Leipzig, the Christmas fairs and the food from Germany/Leipzig you might miss something. The highlights of course! Next week I will tell you about my personal favourite highlights in Leipzig. So stay tuned! ;)