Germany is renowned for its simple and robust dishes, many of which originate from beyond its borders. Austria, Hungary, Italy and France have all helped to shape traditional German cuisine as we know it today, giving the country some of the most distinctly European food on the continent.
That’s not to say Germany doesn’t have its own foodie identity, however. Across the country, chefs continue to innovate and rework traditional dishes, lending each a unique German flavour. And nowhere is this Germanic influence more keenly felt than Bavaria, where the Main River flows through historic towns and cities whose gourmet offering delivers a true taste of traditional German fare.
Sampling local food is one of the highlights of exploring the rivers of Europe, with each region’s favoured food revealing much about its culture and heritage. So, today, we’ll be exploring five dishes of the Main River which have come to typify the quality and character of German cuisine, providing recipes for you to recreate each dish at home.
Germany’s love affair with meat has endured for over a century, with many of the nation’s favourite dishes containing pork, beef or veal. Rouladen is a typical German meat dish whose origins, like so much of the country’s food, are rooted in peasant cooking, with the thin cuts of meat used in the recipe being relatively cheap to buy in the 19th and early 20th century.
The dish itself is created by wrapping thinly sliced meats like veal, pork or beef around a filling of bacon, pickles, chopped onions and mustard, before braising in a meaty broth. Germans like to serve rouladen with dumplings, gravy, mashed potato and blaukraut (cooked red cabbage), and the dish is often eaten at family meals or on special occasions.
Keen to recreate this dish at home? Here’s how it’s made.