I Ate All The German Holiday Crap Für You


I Ate All The German Holiday Crap Für You

Excuse the Pepe image stolen from the internets but this is best suited. Credit who you wish but I think it is trademarked by everyone at this point. Anywho...

For years I have been relenting all the holiday things that Germany loves. Feel free to time travel back to my first bitching session here. I have slowly adopted their strange foodways and traditions for this time of the year. Twice now I have switched out my soulful vegan greens for Grünkohl and Kassler. I have also tried all of the DIY holiday meals like Fondue and Raclette (someone please tell me why they do this here). This year we fully embraced the complete holiday season experience of buying and trying all the things. I am gladly eating my way through the limited edition, '"Feinkost"- the delicacies that every store carries from November to January. Sadly, we won't see this good stuff again until Easter. So now is the time to soak up all the exotic goodness before it is gone. The holidays sort of intersects with what is in season and what is rationed. And coming from the land of plenty I am not used to kale and cranberries completely disappearing for the rest of the year. It is a sort of get it while it is hot approach to slow and whole cooking that irks me to no end. I have found ways to hang onto certain ingredients through vacuuming, canning and freezing. I have come to realize despite my efforts - it is the stuff I cannot save that actually moves me. The sugar laden crap that I should be able to live without. I'll tour the usual suspects below but highlight what is best in a marry, fuck, kill fashion. 

Let us start with the bad --- für you ...


Konditorei (not quite kuchen and not kekes)

These are the things that are borderline cake possibly candy because of the occasional chocolate but not a cookie. The Rum Kugels, Dominosteine and Baumkuchens. These items appear early in the holiday season and you almost get burnt out from seeing them sky-high in every store. But trust me they will run out so get them as early as possible and ration them. The dark chocolate versions are always better than any of the milk chocolate ones. Be mindful that those filled with prieselberry which isn't cranberry. Avoid the punch würfels which are a waxy, larger friend of the steine and squared alternative to a kugel - no they are not petit fours or Italian rainbows. They fucking wish. 


Another word for cookies but imagine the ugliest cookies ever made. Typically made from an origin dough devoid of sugar, used to make multiple versions of holiday cookies with jelly, nuts, chocolate powdered sugar or spice. They are sometimes made into cookie cutter shapes but to be honest anything goes over here as most baking supplies are rare and made shitty. I think most German cookies especially around this time of year tend to look like and probably taste like cat poop. 

Zimt Sterne (But is it a kekes?)

This too I believe is a cookie but slightly thicker and softer. The are typically spiced like a gingerbread man or ginger snap and iced accordingly. I give them 11 out of 10 stars no pun intended especially coming from a bakery versus a mass produced package. You WILL taste a huge difference. I would stick with these if invited to a plätzchen exchange. 


Basically a fruitcake covered in powdered sugar. A fruitcake you would like to receive as a gift and give to those you actually like. It is similar to Osternbrot or Pantonne but slightly more dense and preserved. According to where you procure it, it may be laced in liquors, butter and or various alternatives to holiday dried fruit. A recent purchase from a backerei tasted of anise and licorice with hints of lime and pistachio. It can get quite damn fancy. 

Schoko - Weihnachtsmann and Teddy 

These will be plentiful and in my opinion they all suck. Germans get good chocolate all year round and I think the surplus is what is used to manufacture these hallow shells of nothingness wrapped in decorative foil. Save these for gifts for the doctors and teachers ... oh and the children if you dare.


This version of German gingerbread is more of a cop out to me. All these years in the states I have been mixing my own version of gingerbread meanwhile Germans just dump a pre-made packet in dough and call it the real thing. My own in laws found it interesting that I mixing something up versus the above and asked why I put what I did in them. I am not sure if they even knew what was in them or wanted to point out the fact that I was inefficient in making mine. Either way there is the thick, chewy store-bought version typically iced which is called Lebkuchen. And there is also the homemade plätzchen cookie we all know and love. I prefer the latter. That I made. Without the packet. And with a shitton of molasses and sugar. But if you need a cheat code the Aldi Bio packet is 100!

Winterzauber - Gelee/Strich

Meaning Wintermagic this encompasses a world of holiday treasures from clothing to teas. However, I am referring to what I believe is infused apple butter that one puts on toast this time of the year. While in America we have apple butter all year round for the discerning enthusiast this concoction is only available through the end of year. It will come in different varieties that are all apple based and mixed with either raisins or plums. I get a jar every holiday season and find it after the new year filled with mold. It is a love it a few times and leave it alone kind of thing. Grafschafter makes the industry standard with cinnamon and vanilla described as having "a real Winter aroma". If you are craving something close some Reibekuchen or Latke stands offer that instead of standard apfelmus/applesauce.

Gerösted Maronen

Roasted chestnuts may be available on your Shopping Strasse, in the Innenstadt and or at your local Christmas market. There is normally an older man in a top hat and long coat turning them over fire for your entertainment. If you step right up you can buy a bag and chuck them back while Christmas shopping. I made the mistake of trying one when I first arrived in Germany. It was like an unsalted boiled peanut that required a lot of mouth work to properly ingest. I can't remember if there was a skin, shell, pit and or seed but something about it required trash. I don't like eating trash even if I get a lil old timey show along with it. Now the soft, prepared maronen chutney served with goose is way more agreeable. 

Gebraten Mandeln

It is the same sweet nuts as you would find in America at the fair. The caramelized, crunchy sensation scooped into a paper cone for $3000.99€ per 100 grams. I personally have never cared for the smell of them back home and here they actually are appealing to me. Maybe because they are a tad fresher here and there is more of a variety that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. We recently had the macadamia version and I was impressed.

Waffeln mit Kirche und Sahne

A stupid, Belgian waffle with cooked cherries and hand made cream. To make them at home you will need a lot of eggs and milk and a ridiculous amount of time and patience. Thankfully, my in laws enjoying flipping their overpriced waffle machines and making cream from scratch. Cause I don't! And when trying these out at times the waffle can have an egg ratio that is a bit strong. I do however enjoy those special cherries mixed with just the right amount of starch to turn into sweet gloop.  I would much rather a bowl of the good stuff than any crispy eggs and lactose foamiert. 

And now the savory stuff ... semi-gut für euch


Gourmet/Deluxe/Best Moments ... - Feinkost

Every store this time of year will release a collection of private label fineries just for the holidays. Typically these items will be limited and not restocked. The idea is that most German families will gather and eat celebratory meals multiple times between November and December. So there will be offerings from Hors d'oeuvres to full pickup family style meals like Gans also known as Goose. Most of these items are sold frozen but many things like cheeses, breads, fish and meats will be available as well. I'll get into particulars below. Some items are simply novelty like hot cocoa bombs, shrimp cocktail or wasabi tuna bites - the feeling is supposed to be something finger food like, niche and exotic. The idea is that you could entertain a new group every week and delight them with something "fancy" the entire holiday season. We have tried doing this every Sunday this year and it has been quite interesting. I honestly prefer all the noshies over making a major holiday meal. 


I had goose for the first time last year on Thanksgiving. We ordered it from a local gasthaus and I found it to be a very formal protein with far more panache than a turkey. It is more readily available and smaller than America's dry, dumb friend. It sort of tastes and cooks similar to duck with a gamey taste. The goose fat can also be saved to make TikTok potatoes (very dumb and tasty experiment)! Aldi makes a superior goose breast meal this time of the year that is cooked in its own included pan in under an hour. But you can also pick up the full meal from most restaurants and grocery stores with a pre-order.

Salami Wurst

Is it just me or do the sausages get slightly bigger for the holiday season? Better to hit one with. 

Forellen and Lachs Rauchen 

While both of these fish delicacies are available year round there may be whole filets or better cuts for entertaining. They can also be in different forms like pastes, pates or aspic. 


The Swiss style potato goes upscale with camembert or venison and none of this is my cup of tea. I mean I like hash browns and I even like them scattered, smothered and covered but I don't want mine in butter and meat bits thanks. And camembert stinks like holy fucking hell. Ugh and if you tell me that is cranberries and it is fucking preiselberry which is sour ass currants. Ugh. 

Grünkohl mit Kassler und Wurst - Eintöpf 

The one pot holiday meal is an exclusively seasonal thing that varies per region. I am partial to the Kassler - smoked pork cutlet swimming in finely chopped kale, onion and sausage. This too can have a specific wurst swimming it it - the Bremer Pinkel (do not make it weird). Where I am at now the Bregenwurst rules. While this can look like pure slop at the Christmas Markts it is refined for restaurants and at home. I like to grill the sliced pork and plate it like a tonkatsu ramen. Lecker!

Schumpfnudeln & Käse Spätzle 

Essentially regional Macaroni & Cheese made in different ways. I have had both and I prefer Black people Mac & too much Cheese and can't really process a longer noodle with a white or yellow cheese. I need orange, greasy and well-seasoned elbows baked until unrecognizable bitte.


The Christmas roast is a thing despite everyone avoiding making it for a number of reasons. The roast can be beef, pork, lamb or venison and is typically very expensive and extra large. Most people don't have appliances large enough to store or cook one. But there are alternatives like smokers or grilling that allow for an immediate cook. Typically seared first, then sat upon wurzelgemüse or root vegetables to cook low and slow. It is sliced and served with a pan gravy according to region there may be nudeln, rösti or puree along side of it. It's a good thing when done right. 

DIY - Fondue & Raclette

Listen, I do not like these things! They are not German and they are weird. When I think of the holidays, I am thinking of winding down the year, comfort foods or the epitome of luxury in a formal, sit down meal. The idea of cooking my own food during Christmas does not appeal to me. And I love Chinese hot pot and Korean BBQ and I enjoy them out in a restaurant or at home. But there is something that irks me about cooking raw things in oil or watery broth which hot pot is not. And I do not enjoy filling lil tiny pans and trying not to forget I have a tiny pan filled with cheese while attempting to get things out of another tiny pan with cheese. I want a plate and utensils and conversation not hand gestures and quick saves. That fishing around that dirty, communal pot or losing ones wooden spatula in a sea of others double dipped tools just makes me what to throw up! Those lil cross contaminated kits of leftover meat scraps on sale and that awful smelling cheese everywhere. No. Nein. Non. Nope. 

And etwas to wash it down ... 



Mulled wine heated up and served in mugs to feel extra wintery and Christmas like. It isn't an anomaly as it is exactly the same everywhere but the name makes it sound fancy. I am not mentioning hot chocolate or Irish cream because those are basically the same and year round. Glühwein is an exception.

Eier Likör

The nastiest liquid on the face of the planet that isn't egg nog or coquito. It is not special or limited like those two and is typically available with the rest of the disgusting corn and menthol liquors that Germans like to kill themselves with. From what I can tell there is no true egg nog here and every Latino stuck in this country is way too unhappy with the weather to make coquito. 


This is basically glühwein set afire with a sugarcube. It is more theatrics than it is good. I had one once and that was good enough. The movie is better than the drink. 

Kinder Punsch

While I haven't had it I know it is alcohol free glühwein for children and pregnant people. And where is the fun in that. 

Apfelwein (remixed for Weihnachten)

While apple wine is a regional specialty served all year round from a special blue and grey pitcher. A different version may be offered heated or with sparkling water during the holiday season. Think potent apple cider with a twang.


I haven't had one ... yet. I imagined from the name it was a boozy London Fog but as it turns out it is more akin to a buttery nipple or hot toddy. It is essentially hot rum with sugar and a splash of hot water. That sounds pretty good in a world of people drinking spicy wine and egg yolks. 

4. Advent and then it will be all over ...

So there. I did it all -- well most of it so you don't have to. I pray you leave the good stuff for me this week and keep with your heimweh dishes while staying at home. I am starting to get a feel for what I do like and I don't want anyone to have any.

Frohes Fest!