Less than two miles from The Embassy Row Hotel, you can visit the German Consular Office and German Information Center. It's an eccentric building, designed by one of the most prominent architects of the later 20th century. I interviewed our neighbor, Hans Stocker, Second Press Secretary at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to find out more about the country.
Can you tell me about the traditional food in Germany?
There is no such thing as traditional German food, since traditions vary a lot between the regions. Typically people think of brats, currywursts, potatoes, and German beers such as hefeweizen, kolsch, pilsner, lagers and weiss. However, there are unique traditional staples in Germany such as kaffe and kuchen (coffee and cake) with friends and family, which happens in the afternoon around 4 PM.
Kaffe and kuchen (coffee and cake) is typically enjoyed in the afternoon.
Germans might miss the bread from Germany, packed full of grains and nuts such as Weckmann, dough shaped by hand into the form of a man, and raisins and/or nuts are used for eyes and buttons.
More interestingly, white asparagus is popular in Germany. Germans consume 70,000 pounds of asparagus a year. There's also festivals and tourist activities around the asparagus routes. Passionate asparagus lovers will eat one pound of asparagus in one meal.
Dim sum may be popular in China, but dumplings are also native to Germany. This labor intensive dish can be comprised of potatoes, bread, semolina or floud. Most enjoy their dumplings served with a lot of sauce and sometimes sauerbraten or roast. Dumplings vary by regions but just to name a few: Gemengte, Halbseidene und Seidene Wattekl.
Don't forget German white wines. Riesling is most commonly recognized of German wine, but there are many others produced in Germany such as Gutedel, Muller-Thurgau, Weisszliger Burgunder, Sauvignon Blanc, Silvaner, and Chardonnay.
After interviewing Mr. Stocker, I discovered chefs across Germany share a love of fresh and wholesome ingredients. Their motto, Essen und Trinken lt Leib und Seele zusammen is a traditional German saying that translates to food and drink hold the body and soul together.
Where can you find the best German food in D.C.?
Biergarten Haus (H Street Corridor) - Bavarian bar with a large heated beer garden/patio, sports on the TVs, German pub grub beer.
Cafe Mozart (H Street NW) - Diners walk past an old-school deli to get to this cozy eatery pairing German cooking folk music.
Cafe Berlin (Massachusetts NE, Union Station) - German eatery with an elegant dining room on the ground floor of 3 joined townhouses Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe (Arlington, VA) - Warm, traditional German bakery cafe preparing cookies, cakes, pastries & sandwiches since 1975.
Old Europe Restaurant (Wisconsin Avenue NW) - Antique steins, oil paintings & piano music in an old-world setting for classic German fare beer.
Doumlner Bistro (Columbia Road NW, Adams Morgan) - A nook for German pub fare, stuffed doumlners, beer and wine with shared tables indoors and out.
When are your national holidays and celebrations?
Our national holiday is on October 3rd (Day of German Unity). On this day, Germans celebrate the peaceful unification and consider it a time to renew the commitment to using freedom to help shape our world.
What does a German miss the most abroad?
Well, this most probably depends on the region where one comes from. Myself, being born and raised in Southern Bavaria, it's certainly a tasty white sausage weiss wurs with sweet mustard, consumed before noon on the day it was made. For others, it might be German bread.