Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these essential ingredients.
7 May 2013 - 10:29 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Juniper berries

Naturally occurring in the evergreen forests of Germany, juniper berries are commonly used to flavour game dishes, such as rabbit, goose and duck. They are considered an essential ingredient in sauerkraut.


The mustard plant is a native to Europe and is therefore one of the cheapest spices. The seeds of the mustard plant are ground into a paste. Mustard is an essential accompaniment to German sausages, in particular the Bordeaux sausage.


Both the white and red cabbage are used in German cooking extensively. Sauerkraut is the most popular presentation, where the cabbage is finely shredded and pickled. Red cabbage is slightly sweeter, but may also be made in the style of sauerkraut. It is also often cooked with apple.


A German variation of gin that is flavoured exclusively with juniper berries.


A confectionary that is made with sugar and coarsely ground almonds. It is used as a filling for pastries, as well as eaten on its own shaped into miniature forms of fruits and vegetables. It is an ingredient in traditional desserts such as stollen and simnel cakes. At Christmas it may be molded into shapes and used as Christmas decorations.


There are over 1,000 different varieties of sausage in Germany. A few of the dominant varieties include Leberwurst (a cooked liver sausage), Brunswick Mettwurst (a specialty of North Germany that is made from smoked pork and served cold; it may be spreadable, but is also available sliced) and finally the Weisswurst (a parboiled sausage that is a specialty of Munich, it is made from veal and is characterized by its white colouring).

Smoked eel

Particularly popular in North Germany, smoked eel is often found in restaurants (where it is eaten with the fingers; waiter’s will often pour schnapps over the patron’s fingers after eating it to remove the odour). It may also be encountered in street fairs, sold in stalls and devoured as you would a lollypop!


A fresh curd cheese made from skim milk. This neutrally flavoured cheese accounts for approximately half of all the cheese consumed by Germans. It can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.