Brandenburg is not only Germany’s fifth largest federal state, it was also the heart of the former Prussian Empire. It is a place of historical significance and home to one of Germany’ most delectable specialties – the “Spreewälder Gurke” (pickled gherkin from Spreewald in Brandenburg).
Cooking in Brandenburg is down-to-earth and simple. The potato is the most important side dish and ingredient. It was introduced to the region by Friedrich the Great from Prussia. Today, many Brandenburg specialties are based on the potato, like famous potato pancakes.
Other important vegetables include asparagus, kale, beans, and beets. The local forests provide chanterelle, chestnuts, and porcini mushrooms. Given the amount of lakes and rivers in the state, seafood plays an important role. The favorites include crayfish, pike, walleye, eel, lamprey, and carp.
Within Brandenburg, the “green” movement has spread into the cuisine. Many cooks choose to use only locally grown and produced foods. 80% of the meats, fish, vegetables, potatoes, and fruits consumed here are grown locally.
Brandenburg is called “Berlin’s vegetable garden,” and with good reason. Agriculture and food production play important roles in Brandenburg’s economy, with a great variety of natural and organic products coming from this area. Beelitz, a small village southwest of Potsdam, is famous for its delicious asparagus. Teltow, a suburb of Berlin, produces Teltower Rübchen (turnips), which possess a very distinct and rich flavor! In summer, people go on mushroom picking expeditions in the lush forests around Berlin, searching for chanterelle or porcini. The state’s many lakes and rivers are rich in fish, among them eel and carp, which are popular dishes. The drink of choice is supplied by one of Brandenburg’s numerous small breweries, Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle GmbH, founded in 1589, which is known for its refreshing “Anti-Aging-Bier” that supposedly increases health and longevity. This mostly natural diet is not only very healthy, but very appealing to the tastes also.