Monday, 20 June 2011

Leipzig on the Menu

I'm now in Leipzig, Germany, the city in which the communist government of East Germany first crumbled under the weight of public demonstrations in 1989.

However, it's not Leipzig's dramatic political history that's on my mind, but its food. It turns out that Leipzig is a haven for those centuries-old local specialties that pop up on Central European menus as you travel around.

Join me for a meal (taken across a few different restaurants) and I'll show you what I mean...

First course

The Saxons love a good filling potato soup, and this is one I had yesterday. In an unexpected but tasty variation, it contained chunks of smoked salmon:


Main course

Here's a distinctive local dish for my main - Leipziger Allerlei, which more or less means 'Leipzig Allsorts'. Aptly named, as this version was a jumble of carrots, kohlrabi (a type of cabbage), asparagus, cauliflower, snow peas and mushrooms.

Within this vegetable mix were numerous small river crayfish, accompanied by hefty potato dumplings. The whole lot was held together by a subtle sauce. It was probably the healthiest dish I've eaten for weeks:


Drink

Here's a glass of Leipziger Gose beer, made to a 300 year old recipe that was almost lost after its sole brewery closed in 1945. It was sporadically manufactured on and off until a local brewer revived it completely in the 1980s.

It's top-fermented and tastes unlike the sort of beer I'm used to - it has a sour taste with a hint of lemon, and is apparently related to white beers:


Dessert

The dessert here is Leipziger Räbchen. It's made from plums which have been stuffed with marzipan then deep fried. They were served here with a blueberry yoghurt parfait and slow sauce. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but they were fantastic:


And here's a bonus dessert. It's a Leipziger Lerche, a 19th century cake involving almonds, nuts and marzipan. It supposedly represents the nest of a lark, hence the name - lerche means 'lark' in German:


So it's bon appetit in Leipzig... or rather, "Guten Appetit!"