Category Archives: food
… Yes, late Summer. When the Christmas stuff starts appearing in the German supermarkets.
They’ve still got all the Oktoberfest produce in too.
I only popped in for a carton of milk!
It was only a month ago when I commented on Germany’s discovery of flavoured crisps (or chips for any US readers dropping in), and already the Germans are amazing me with their inventiveness. Following hard on the heels of the Currywurst crisp, Germany would now like to present you with the very latest in snack flavourings… ladies and gentlement, a big hand for the Hangover Crisp!
I was out in Neuss today, when I noticed a sign outside Lidl advertising their upcoming British food week.
Now, aside from my incredulity that Germans would be flocking to the supermarket to stock up on English fare, I have to admit that I was curious as to what Lidl would have selected as “British specialities”. The whole array was illustrated on a tartan tablecloth, so I supected there might be a Scottish theme – but apart from the shortbread, I can’t say I spotted one.
So, without further ado… I shall reveal the selection!
Starting at top left, we have a ready meal of fish and chips. Alaska pollack pieces though, rather than North Sea Cod. The chips claim to be extra fat… but there is no mention of mushy peas or malt vinegar on the box, so authentic it won’t be.
Next up – three flavours of crisps. Confusingly these are referred to as Chips – but these are different chips to the ones you get with your battered pollack pieces. The flavours are sea salt and balsemic vinegar, lightly salted and sea salt and black pepper. Oh dear oh dear. I don’t think any Brits would be rushing to buy those then! No malt vinegar, no cheese and onion, no prawn cocktail or smokey bacon or worcestershire sauce… not even any hedgehog or tandoori….
The luxury caramel shortcakes look nice. I think my Mum used to make those once in a blue moon. But moving across, even I have to admit defeat at the tea selection. The first one is called English Tea Time. The second is called 8 O’Clock Tea and the third is 5 O’Clock Tea. Now, I suspect just a hint of Germanism creeping into these brand names. I’m familiar with English Breakfast Tea… but only a German could be so precise as to dictate that it should be drunk at exactly 8 a.m. The same with the afternoon tea. Last time I looked, afternoon tea could perfectly well be taken any time from around 3 in the afternoon up to about half past six. Only a German would define tea time quite so rigidly. I’m thinking that the only option is to buy the one called English Tea Time… which by definition is any time you want a cuppa.
Across from the tea is some cheddar cheese. What a shame that for British week they picked the only type of English cheese regularly available in Germany anyway. Surely it would have been more interesting to have picked a crumbly Lancashire or a mature Wensleydale…
Next to the cheese is a tin of baked beans (not exactly Heinz, but at least I’ll grant them that it’s authentically part of the British diet). There are also what look like fake After Eight Mints… (though here the Germans are remarkably silent on the appropriate hour to eat these).
But I do confess to being very confused by the final items – which are three flavours of Joghurt British Style. At first glance these seem to be no different to anyone else’s fruit yoghurts…. but maybe I’m missing something here. What on earth is a British Style Yoghurt? Anyone?
Summer holidays have started in Germany – and to beat the traffic, many Germans will be taking to the trains.
Of course no self respecting German would embark on a lengthy train journey without first grabbing a Wurst or two at the station…
… and of course a bag of Prezels, just in case the buffet car is crowded….
… and maybe a Fleischsalat on the side. Germany is the only country I know where you can buy “salad” which doesn’t actually contain salad.
There’s plenty to see if you pick the right route. In Köln the railway bridge is guarded by imposing statues… and of course the central station is only a few yards from the famous Kölner Dom. (Zero out of ten for town-planning – though if you have to change train, it’s a chance to pop out and visit one of Germany’s most impressive sights).
I also recommend the slow train from Köln going South which runs along the banks of the Rhine. Spectacular views of the vineyards, castles and the Loreley rocks. Definitely worth the extra time it takes.
Before you know it, you’re abroad….
One of the things which all British expats in Germany have yearned for over the years has been flavoured crisps. (For Americans reading this, crisps are what you call chips. Confusingly what we call chips is what you call French fries… but I digress….)
Crisps are a sort of soul food for the Brits. We take them on picnics, we order them in the pub with our beer, we nibble on them in front of the TV and hand them out to our children to keep them going until lunchtime. And British crisps come in all kinds of fabulous flavours. Salt and vinegar, cheese and onion, Worcestershire sauce (Americans – that’s pronounced Wuster), prawn cocktail, smokey bacon….
When I first arrived in Germany the crisp scene was dismal. There were two sorts of crisps. Plain or paprika. For about the first fifteen years of living here, nothing much changed. Oh, there were launches of other snack types… Pringles and Nachos and things… but real crisps with added flavours still remained a rarity – and any attempt at copying a gutsy taste like salt and vinegar had to be watered down for the German palate (balsemic vinegar and sea salt… it just doesn’t come close!).
So imagine my surprised and delight when I discovered the Germans starting to experiment with creating their VERY OWN crisp culture. A big round of applause ladies and gentlemen, for the first all-German flavoured crisp!
…I want to be the person who gets to name German breakfast cereals!
Beats cornflakes into a cocked hat!