Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gemütlichkeit is: German-style breakfast (in the Alps)

When I first moved to Germany almost four years ago, one of the many things that confused me was breakfast.  The first time I sat down to Sunday brunch and was served cold cuts and cheese, my stomach did a flip-flop.  Ignoring what were to me sandwich makings, I buttered a roll and covered it with jam and stuck with what I knew.  Of course, one hour later, I was hungry again and kind of wishing I had eaten more.

I have since come to love huge German weekend breakfasts and no longer have trouble thinking about eating salami at 9 am.  On the weekends, Americans make bacon and eggs, pancakes or french toast.  They are all delicious breakfasts that I still make at least once a weekend, but they require a lot of work and don't really lend themselves to the slow, leisurely pace of a German Sunday.

Putting meats and cheeses on a plate, on the other hand, requires almost no work and can be eaten slowly as they won't get cold.  Add in a soft-boiled egg, some delicious coffee and the Sunday paper and you have got yourself a perfect weekend morning.

The breakfast pictured above was eaten in an even more perfect setting: in Tyrol in the Austrian Alps! It was a warm summer Saturday, the sun was shining and the mountains were a perfect blue-green. Later this week, I will post more about my trip to Austria.  Until then, here is my recipe for the perfect German breakfast.  

Here's what often belongs to German Frühstück:

Coffee--I'm currently enjoying an Austrian coffee called Julius Meinl Jubiläum, which is stronger and less bitter than many German coffees.

Boiled eggs--Germans love their 4-minute (very soft) or 6-minute (runny yokes) eggs.  I like mine at about 8 minutes, so that the yoke isn't completely cooked through, but is no longer runny.

Crusty bread or rolls--Bauernbrot, a course rye bread, is a German favorite, as are rolls and other breads covered in seeds like pumpkin, sunflower and poppy.  Germans love their bread and take pride in it.  They think it is the best in the world and will often complain about the bread while traveling in other countries.  When I have students imagine living in other countries for conversation exercises, bread is the thing they most often say they would miss if they had to leave Germany.

Meats-- Some favorites are various sorts of ham, salamis, bologna, and spreadable meat products I still haven't had the guts to try.  I tend to stick to ham and salami.

Cheeses-- Everything from swiss cheese to fancy French and alpine cheeses are fair game.

Jams, jellies and honey-- Germans love jam and often make it themselves.  Apricot, plum, red current, black current, raspberry and rose hip are some of the popular ones.  There are also many types of honey in Germany.

Spreads--Called Brotaufstrich, these spreads can be of cream cheese and herbs or fruit, vegetable puree, beans or just about anything else that's been put in a food processor.

Yogurt or quark--Many German breakfasts (especially if you go out to a restaurant) will include yogurt with honey and/or fresh fruit.

Fresh fruits and vegetables--A cup of fruit, some slices of tomato, cucumber or radish are often included.

If you haven't yet tried a German-style breakfast, I highly recommend that you try it this weekend! There's nothing cozier than a long, candle-lit brunch with these delicious ingredients--the recipe for the good life!


Anna said...

So glad these posts are back! I love learning what your gemutlichkeit is :) Enjoy the Alps x

Anonymous said...

This is lovely stuff. I always learn something new from your blog!

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