Lower Saxony is well-known for its gourmet food and culinary delicacies. The culinary range of Niedersachsen’s regions offers something to please every palate – from traditional rustic dishes like roast mutton from the heath region, hearty cheese from the Harz mountains or kale with Pinkel sausage to delicious fresh asparagus or a vast variety of prawns, shellfish and fresh fish along the coast. Every region has its own characteristic specialties and flavors. Following is only a small sample of the culinary treasures Lower Saxony offers.
Cooking in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) can be described as down-to-earth and hearty. The cuisine takes advantage of the regions diverse landscape – from coastal regions to grasslands to mountainous regions. Many foods are grown or produced locally and these make up a large part of the cuisine.
In the coastal areas, seafood, such as crab, mussels, mackerel, trout, and eel, is a major part of the cuisine.
In the grasslands close to the coast, black and white cattle provide the basis for the locally produced cheeses, such as Harzer Käse (Roller), and other dairy products, such as fresh buttermilk.
In the northwestern region of the state, wurst and cured meats are the specialty. It is here that the internationally known Braunschweiger Wurst is produced. Braunschweiger is the name for several types of sausages in different regions. In the German language, Braunschweiger is the demonym for people from Brunswick, but under German food law refers to a variety of mettwurst. Braunschweiger Mettwurst is a smoked, soft and spreadable sausage usually made from raw minced pork and spiced with garlic, salt and pepper. Produced by Brunswick butchers as a regional specialty since the early 19th century, it became widespread with the advent of food preservation by canning. Several different recipes exist, some also including beef and fat.
Lower Saxony is known as Germany’s largest orchard. Here, a large variety of fruits are grown and harvested, including apples, Zwetschgen, and cherries. Lower Saxony is also the home of many breweries, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. A local specialty is the Bockbier.
In Frisia and Eastern Frisia (Ostfriesland) (in the northwestern part of the state on the coast of the North Sea) tea is the beverage of choice, so much so that a tea culture has developed. This region alone consumes one-fourth of Germany’s entire tea imports. Here, strongly brewed tea (one that has brewed for at least 3 minutes) is served with candied sugar and whipped cream in fine china. The cream must be allowed to simply melt into the tea – the local tea custom dictates that the tea must not be stirred. A minimum of three cups is usually consumed.