Known for its lush forests and impressive mountains, Thuringia is located in what is nearly the perfect center of Germany, and has been dubbed the “green heart of Germany.” The food of Thuringia is just as renowned as the breathtaking natural scenery. The cuisine of the Thuringia region is perhaps best known for its vegetables, inventive sausage production and its love of the potato dumpling.
Vegetables in Thuringia’s Cuisine
The area in the vicinity of Thuringia’s regional capital, Erfurt, is well-known for its cauliflower, turnips, broccoli and cabbage. All of these vegetables are prominent not only in Thuringia’s cuisine, but in the overall culinary oeuvre of Germany. Other areas of Thuringia are excellent for the growing of cucumbers, onions, asparagus and mushrooms.
A popular vegetable confection in Thuringia is the Zwiebelkuchen, or onion cake. This cake is a type of blechkuchen, or sheet cake, made from a dough of flour, salt, yeast, butter and milk. The cake’s topping consists of onions, bacon, cream, carraway seeds and paprika.
Thuringia’s Potato Dumplings
Potatoes, primary culinary elements throughout Germany, are commonly used in the food of Thuringia to make potato dumplings, an item also popular in other areas of Germany. Raw potatoes are stuffed with various ingredients that differ based on regional customs and a chef’s choice.
In Thuringia, potato dumplings are generally stuffed with toasted, cube-shaped pieces of bread, somewhat similar to croutons. The region’s love for potato dumplings is so great that they are often considered the main course of a meal, despite typically being served alongside hearty roasted meats such as pork or the vinegar and wine-marinated beef roast known as sauerbraten.
Sausages in Thuringia’s Cuisine
Pork sausage (wurst) is eaten in many German meals, and in the region of Thuringia, it has a particular importance. The production of sausage in Thuringia is strictly regulated, due to the oldest purity law in German history, which since 1432 has dictated that all sausage in Thuringia must be made from the purest, freshest pork. Beef is prohibited, as is the use of any meat offal–internal organs or waste meat commonly employed in medieval-era cuisine.
The most popular sausage in Thuringia is rostbratwurst, or grilled pork sausage–similar to weisswurst in the cuisine of the Bavarian region. Other prominent types include steamed liver sausage, blood sausage and a combination dry-cured pork and beef sausage called Thuringer mettwurst.