Achtung! Calling those with healthy appetites

Updated: Nov 13 2005, 05:30am hrs
German cuisine is probably the most interesting and diverse fare youve had. It varies according to each states culinary habits, traditions and agricultural produce. Potato soup, lentil soup are famous in eastern parts of Germany. Haxen (pork/ veal trotters), laberkas (liver dumplings), roost bratwurste and schweinwurst, which are taken with sauerkraut, are famous in southern Germany.

Roll mops (pickled herrings in dill flavoured sour cream), oysters taken raw or baked, plaice fish, salt beef and eel soup are famous in north-west Germany. Hearty cabbage soup and peas soup, bratwurst, rabbit pate and kugelhupf and cheese cake are favourites in Berlin.

Braten or roast is Germanys national dish. A typical German meal can vary from two to seven courses. It starts with an appetiser (vorspeise), followed by a soup (suppe) and a main course (hauptspeise) with few side dishes (beilagen).

Pork is the most popular of all meats while beef, chicken, duck, turkey and goose are also eaten. Popular method of cooking is pot roasting. Trout (fresh water fish), herrings, salmon, mackarel, sardines and tuna (seawater fish), which are usually grilled, are favourites again. Asparagus, cabbage, carrot, beans, peas, spinach, turnips and fried onions are extremely popular and form an integral part of German cuisine.

Garlic, bayleaf, chives, parsley, thyme, caraway seeds, Juniper berries and white pepper are used for flavouring and seasoning. Mustard and horse radish are commonly used condiments. German breakfasts are traditionally hearty and filling. Breakfasts comprise hams, salami, liver, meat spreads, cheeses, bread rolls, cornflakes, mueslis served with rich fruit preserves and black coffee.

No meal is complete without Schwarzwaelder Schinken- Black Forest Ham, which is smoked in traditional style for its fine flavour and sliced very thinly like paper. Usually it tastes the best with sweet melon or with cheese and dark rye bread.

And if you have a sweet tooth go for Dresdner Stollen (a rich fruit cake stuffed with almond marzipan).

Sushil Chugh is a chef with The Grand, New Delhi.