By Amanda Smith
Updated February 26, 2014

Beer and pretzels… Meat and potatoes… German chocolate cake? Forget everything you once thought about German food, folks, because this charming cultural mecca offers a culinary kaleidoscope of regional and seasonal palate pleasers.

(Taketan/Flickr/Getty Images)

Germany boasts breathtaking scenery, distinct architecture and rich history, but if all that isn’t enough to romance your wanderlust soul, its sumptuous food is sure to do the trick. While it’s true that beer, pretzels, meat and potatoes are all common components of German cuisine, there is no such thing as typical. Like many European countries, the food varies by region, drawing influences from neighboring territories. Fresh ingredients, big flavors and gastronomic delights invigorate the senses, while substantial portions and stick-to-your-ribs goodness satisfy even the most discriminating tastes.

When dining in Deutschland, you’ll find everything from pub food to Michelin star-rated fare. But you probably won’t find much German chocolate cake. In fact, the rich dessert originated in the United States, owing its name to American-born Sam German. In 1852, German created a sweet baking bar for Baker’s Chocolate Co., which they named after him. Many years later, a Texas homemaker put the chocolate in her cake recipe, slathered it with coconut-pecan frosting, and a legend was born.

Hungry yet? All good Germans know that the best meals start with one key ingredient: beer. So pour yourself a pint (or two) and get inspired with this list of traditional German dishes. We even included a recipe German chocolate cake, just for kicks. Guten appetit!


Okay, like we said, this recipe is not really German. But how could we resist?