Culinaria Germany: A Celebration of Food and Tradition, edited by Christine Metzger, highlights some of the best, authentic dishes from Germany’s sixteen states. Classics (Dresdner Stollen, Rheinischer Sauerbraten, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, Schnitzel Holstein) can be found along with the lesser known Hallorenkuchen (Saltworkers’ Cake), Aalsuppe (Eel Soup), Fliederbeersuppe (Elderberry Soup), and Mangoldsturzensalat (Beet Greens Salad). I will also be sharing a recipe for Rieslingsabayon (German Riesling Zabaglione) following the review.
Disclaimer and Disclosure: I received this book from H. F. Ullmann Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
This recipe uses alcoholic ingredients that are not completely cooked out and intended only for those over the age of 21 (in the United States). Please drink responsibly.
Looking for more in the Culinaria series?
Find my reviews here:
- Pumpkin Tarts and Culinaria Greece
- Túrós Pogácsa (Hungarian Quark Pogácsa) and Culinaria Hungary
- Pistou (Provençal Basil Paste) and Culinaria France
- Sorbete de la Rioja (Rioja Wine Sorbet) and Culinaria Spain
- Coconut Pudding and Culinaria China
- Strascinati con la Mollica (Italian Pasta with Breadcrumbs) and Culinaria Italy
Each chapter begins with an overview of the area and local influences to the food. As with the other books in the Culinaria series, there is so much more to the pages than the recipes. This book serves as an extensive guide to the culture, geography, and people.
Religious customs and the food surrounding them (notably Easter, Christmas, Carnival) are explained in detail along with other celebrations such as Oktoberfest. You will also learn about the introduction of various ingredients like potatoes and the development of local delicacies.
Chapters are divided based on state:
- Thüringen (Thuringia)
- Sachsen (Saxony)
- Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt)
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
- Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen, Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Hessen (Hesse), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Baden-Württemberg, and Bayern (Bavaria).
The name of each dish is written in German and English. Measurements are provided in US Customary and Metric. There is a recipe index in the back of the book for easy look-up of dishes.
Photography is provided by Ruprecht Stempell, Christoph Büschel, and Saša Fuis. Many of the recipes include photos in a variety of sizes, generally of the finished dish. Step by step photos are also used for more tricky instructions such as forming potato dumplings, preparing baked ham, shucking an oyster, assembling Frankfurter Kranz (Frankfurt Ring Cake), and decorating a Lebkuchenhaus (Gingerbread House).
Visual guides are featured throughout the book including types of Thüringer Klöße (Potato Dumplings), vegetables, fish, medicinal herbs, mushrooms, breads, and more.
Rieslingsabayon (German Riesling Zabaglione)
The recipe I chose to share is for Rieslingsabayon from Hessen. It is the German version of Zabaglione, but made with Riesling instead of the Italian Marsala.
A sweetened egg yolk mixture is constantly whisked until frothy while being heated over a pot of boiling water. It is flavored with lemon zest, cinnamon, and Rheingau (Rhine District) Riesling wine. The resulting thickened cream is served as a dessert. This Rieslingsabayon is delicious with fresh summer berries, poured over a slice of cake, or even with cookies for dipping.
Be sure to not stop whisking while the bowl is over the heat or the Rieslingsabayon may develop pieces of scrambled eggs. It helps to change the direction of the whisk and make patterns instead of just stirring in circles. There isn’t anything overly difficult about the recipe, but you will get a bit of an arm workout. I don’t currently own a double boiler, so I prepared the sabayon in an oversized metal bowl placed over a medium saucepan.
I also made Zwiebelsuppe (Onion Soup), Reibekuchen (Potato Pancakes), Waffeln, and Maultaschen.
Zwiebelsuppe, Onion Soup from Thüringen, is similar to the French version, but it has its differences. Sliced onions are caramelized, then combined with sliced apples, meat stock, lager, and herbs. The soup is finished off with a sprinkling of grated cheese, chives, and/or croutons.
I have always had difficulty with dishes that involve grated potatoes. Through practice, I figured out that my biggest mistakes were using the wrong type of potato or not removing enough of the moisture prior to cooking. I am finally starting to get better at it and so glad these Reibekuchen (Potato Pancakes) from Nordrhein-Westfalen came out perfectly. Reibekuchen (also known as Rievkooche) are similar to the hash brown patties in the United States. Waxy potatoes are grated and combined with diced onions and eggs. They are panfried in oil until crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Waffeln (Waffles) are also in the Nordrhein-Westfalen chapter. These waffles have a light texture made by folding beaten egg whites into the batter. They are also flavored with a little lemon zest. I served them with whipped cream and strawberry jam, but hot cherries and a dusting of powdered sugar are also common. Breakfast lovers will also find a variety of other breakfast foods in the book such as pancakes.
The Swabian Maultaschen seem to be lesser known outside of Central Europe, but they are one of my all-time favorite foods. I don’t remember the first time I tried it, but do remember my disappointment the first time I searched for them in an American grocery store as a child and being so disappointed that they were no where to be found. Maultaschen are similar to oversized ravioli with a spinach pork filling. They can be eaten a few ways: with beef soup, with potato salad and fried onion rings, or baked with a whisked egg and alongside a green salad.
Culinaria Germany is a great pick for those wanting to learn more about Germany and the history behind its cuisine. Recipes range from simple to the more advanced. Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store. A few of the foods that may be more difficult to find include Hamburg smoked meat, redcurrants, sour cherries, and some types of fish.
Potatoes in particular are highlighted in plenty of preparations, from dumpling to pancake. Fruits, cabbage, peas, asparagus, cucumbers, beets, beans, and mushrooms can also be found. A variety of fish dishes are featured, both fresh and salt water. Bakers and those with a sweet tooth will have plenty of choices in desserts from cakes to cookies. There isn’t much to be found in the way of beverages other than using beer and wine as ingredients.
Rieslingsabayon (German Riesling Zabaglione) Recipe
Adapted from Culinaria Germany
Rieslingsabayon (German Riesling Zabaglione)
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) Rheingau Riesling wine
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In the top of a double boiler or a heat safe metal bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar. While whisking, add a splash of hot water to form a smooth cream.
- Bring a saucepan 1/4-1/2 filled with water to a boil. Place the bowl over the saucepan, making sure the boiling water isn't touching the bottom of the bowl. Whisk constantly while slowly adding the Riesling.
- Continue to beat until foamy and thickened, then beat in the lemon zest and cinnamon. Remove the bowl from over the saucepan and continue whisking until the mixture cools to lukewarm.
- Serve immediately in dessert dishes with fresh berries or cookies for dunking.