The Four German Meals You Can’t Miss
Filed in Culinary, Culture & Art
In Germany, we don’t eat three square meals a day. At least, not by American standards. There’s no piping hot breakfast, and we eat our cake in the middle of the afternoon instead of after dinner.
Of course, we Germans are hardly going hungry. In fact, we do quite well with our German food. Our secret? It’s our four meals a day. ;-)
Breakfast is known as Frühstück, and traditionally served cold on a specially carved board. Often this is shaped like an animal, and these boards are usually bought from local artisans in the town markets. A typical German breakfast consists of bread (of course!) with cheese, yogurt, fruits, a boiled egg, or muesli. Coffee, milk or tea is more common than juice.
Lunch is the main meal of the day, and we take the Mittagessen very seriously. Eaten between noon and 2 pm, it usually consists of soup or salad followed by a main course and a light dessert of custard, fruit salad, or ice cream. Drink whatever you like with lunch, including alcoholic beverages, but save a bit of thirst for the strong coffee that traditionally closes the meal.
Later in the afternoon, it is time for the third meal, Kaffee und Kuchen. This is a sit down affair with coffee or tea and pastries. Eaten between 3 – 5 pm, all the rich cakes and cookies others might think of as desserts we take care to consume at our leisure well before the evening meal.
The final meal of the day is generally eaten at around 7 pm. Known as Abendessen (or Vesper in the south-west), it is traditionally a cold meal of bread, cheese, and meats eaten at home. Modern families having been shifting it to a large, hot meal as more and more German parents work.
Evening meals in restaurants, of course, will be hot, with multiple courses and large portions. After dinner liqueurs are common, or there is always to option of a little espresso to counteract the effects of a heavy meal.
As you can see, although we don’t have the same dining traditions as other countries, we Germans are certainly not starving. ;-)
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8 Responses to “The Four German Meals You Can’t Miss”
Leave a Reply to Marcus
Hi Marcus, thanks for all the imformation, you posted.I was station In Frankfurt, ’49- 52 I did ask an German I was working with,why he ate 4 times a day, he told me , you should never let your stomach run out of food, I never for-got it.till this day I miss German food.
Exactly! And eating that unique, yummy German bread guarantees a healthy breakfast! ;-)
This was very helpful, I learned something I never knew about Germany. It sounds like such a great place and I hope to some day come there and enjoy the four meals a day. It sounds good to me :-). Germany fascinates me, thanks for sharing this.
You’re more than welcome, Becca.
Once you are here I recommend that you also try those four meals in different parts of Germany as they vary depending on which state or region you’re in.
nice post. Although I must say, that if you ask the average German how many meals he eats per day he will most likely will say three, plus 1or 2 snacks. The older generation tends to have four meals but the younger ones mostly skip the Kaffee & Kuchen. I’m 22 and I’ve lived in Germany all my life. When I visit my grandparents in the states they always make us bring them German rolls. They love ’em.
My 16yr daughter will come home from a 25 day student exchange in a few hours. Her host sister will come here in October and is worried she will not like our food. I would like to find some recipes and meal plans from the north western part of Germany near Bonn. Can anyone give me suggestions?
PS Go if you have the chance! She had the time of her life and the people were so kind!
The area around Bonn is pretty cool; I’ve spent almost half of my life there and enjoyed it very much.
As far as Rhineland recipes are concerned (Bonn lies in the Rhineland region), the Bonn Tourism Office gives the following recommendations:
Hope this helps! :-)
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