Cooking in Saxony-Anhalt is flavorful and seasonal. The cuisine benefits from a large variety of ingredients grown locally.
The favorite vegetables used in the Saxony-Anhalt cuisine are potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, beans, asparagus, cauliflower, and other types of cabbage. The favorite meat is pork, which is also used in making different kinds of wurst. Game and fish are also served frequently, thanks to the local forests and lakes.
Geographically, Saxony-Anhalt is characterized by the river Elbe that runs through it and the Harz mountain range, a popular area for tourists and nature enthusiasts. The state is an important agricultural area, particularly in the the central area known as the Magdeburg Börde, where the fertile soil is used to cultivate vegetables, wheat and sugar beets and to raise cattle and pigs. In the Altmark region of pine forests, rye and potatoes are the main crops and in the south, fruit and wine is cultivated. The most well-known agricultural products from these regions are the onions from Calbe, milk and asparagus (Spargel) from the Altmark and apricots and sparkling wine from the Saale-Unsrut area. These ingredients form the basis of many of Saxony Anhalt’s most well-known dishes.
Saxony-Anhalt is also home to many food manufacturers. These include Confiserie Dreher, manufacturers of the original Dreher “Mozartkugeln”, the Halloren Schokoladenfabrik, Germany’s oldest chocolate factory, dating back to 1804, the Halberstädter Würstchen und Konservenfabrik which produces the famous Halberstädter Würstchen, the world’s first canned sausage and Rotkäppchen Sekt (Red Riding Hood sparkling wine) which is based in Freyburg.
Some of Saxony-Anhalt’s well-known dishes are:
Salzwedel Baumkuchen (Tree Cake)
Known as the “King of Cakes”, this pound cake-type pastry creation is a masterpiece and takes skill and patience to create. It is made by building up layers of cake batter on a rotating spit to create a tall cake, which, when cut, reveals rings similar to the annual marks of a tree, hence its name.
Zerbster Spargelsuppe (Asparagus Soup)
Asparagus is again the main ingredient in this creamy soup made with asparagus, cream, hard boiled eggs, butter, sugar, salt and nutmeg.
Havelberger Bierfleisch – a stew made with fish, potatoes, bacon, dark beer and gingerbread.
Harzer Wurzelfleisch – a beef brisket stew with vegetables (carrots, leeks, celeriac).
Rübeländer Zwiebelfleisch – thin slices of boiled beef brisket served in an onion sauce.
Magdeburger Bördetopf – baked casserole made with lamb and mutton cubes, cabbage, onions and sliced potatoes.
Altmärker Hochzeitssuppe (Altmark Wedding Soup)
Spargel (asparagus) from the Altmark region is one of the key ingredients in this soup, along with tiny meatballs and cooked egg garnish. It is traditionally served as an appetizer at a wedding, but is often made at home too.
Germany’s most northern wine region, the Saale-Unstrut wine region, is located in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt), with a little portion stretching over into the state of Thuringia (Thüringen). The dominant wine types produced here are the Müller-Thurgau, Weissburgunder, Silvaner, and Kerner.
Saxony-Anhalt also has a long tradition of breweries. The state is home to the world’s oldest beer brand, Garley, which has been brewed here since 1314.