Elbe Food


German food is well described in our pages on Mosel Food and Lake Constance Food.  However, here is a short overview and then we will get onto Czech food.

German Food

At breakfast you should greet people on the way to and in the breakfast room each morning - it's expected.  A typical German breakfast consists of boiled egg, bread, jam, cereals, dried ham and cheese with juice and a choice of coffee or tea.  In the better establishments, and in areas where the sparkling wine Sekt is produced, you may even be offered a glass of that.  You will normally find a small receptacle in the middle of the table for any rubbish from your meal such as yoghurt pots, teabag wrappers and jam packets. You may find that a local supermarket or bread shop will do you a better/cheaper breakfast than in your hotel.

At lunch or supper the menu is dominated by meat - especially pork and veal but also beef, chicken, turkey and game (in season).  There will also be plenty of fish to be found along the Elbe.  In nearly all restaurants there will be a focus on seasonal dishes so expect asparagus (Spargel) in May/June and Pfifferlinge (forest mushrooms) and walnuts in September.  Salads are nearly always available, as are soups, but the main course will generally be meat, often in a sauce, with potatoes or noodles.  While Germany does not export a lot of cheese expect to find many other European style cheeses made locally.  Puddings can be great.  Portions are on the generous side and you may have difficulty eating three courses, even after a day's cycling.  

Snack bars, called "Imbiss", are inexpensive places to eat.  They normally have a dish of the day (often a stew) at lunchtime, maybe served on a paper plate, which can be eaten at a standing up table or (if you're lucky) a normal table.  The other dishes will focus on grilled sausage/meat and carbohydrate.  In the humbler type of Imbiss all that may be on offer is sausages with bread or pototato salad.  There will usually be a choice of Bockwurst (like a frankfurter but larger, sometimes as much as an inch diameter and 12 inches long) straight from the steamer with a dollop of mustard or "Mayo" (mayonnaise), or  Bratwurst, a grilled sausage.  

Czech Food

Here too the menu will be dominated by meat, in particular pork but also beef, chicken, duck, goose and rabbit.  Fish is less common except for trout and carp at Christmas. With the meat come various forms of dumpling or dumpling-like breads (made of wheat or potatoes).  Sauerkraut is found on this side of the border as well as in Germany and can be made of white or red cabbage.  You may also see rosti (fried, grated potato) on the menu.  Soup, cheese and all kinds of sweets (often with a hint of dumpling) make up a meal.  Examples:

  • Smažák  is breaded deep fried cheese (either Camembert style or hard cheese) served with sauces
  • Pivní sýr is beer/cheese spread on bread
  • Schnitzel (like a German or Austrian Schnitzel) of various types and various coatings
  • bramboráky which is like rosti but deep fried

The simplest web guide we could find is at Living Prague but we would also recommend the Rough Guide which has a useful food section in the back.

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