The German region of Lower Saxony is located in the country’s northwestern corner, and is one of the few areas of Germany with a prominent coastline. As a result, the cuisine of Lower Saxony is in many ways distinguished by its locally-caught seafood, its regionally-grown vegetables and other specialties.
Seafood of Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony’s coastline faces the North Sea, and the seafood commonly served in the region is representative of this body of water’s diverse marine ecosystem. Shellfish are particularly common, including prawns, mussels and brown shrimp, along with larger crustaceans such as crabs. Other fish caught in the North Sea and served in Lower Saxony include mackerel, trout and eel.
Smoking fish is a commonly culinary method used in seafood preparation. The smoked cooking process can be done fairly quickly, in one or two hours, or can be done in an extremely slow and meticulous manner. Sometimes, this latter method of smoking takes place over two to four days before it’s complete.
Effects of Local Agriculture on Lower Saxony’s Cuisine
Agriculture is a major element of Lower Saxony’s economy, and this fact is reflected in the region’s cuisine. Vegetables such as asparagus and potatoes, both considered staples of German food in an overall sense, are grown abundantly.
Kale, a vegetable commonly grown in northern Germany but not as prevalent in the rest of the country, is particularly present in the Lower Saxony region. This vegetable can be thought of as a figurative hybrid between cabbage and lettuce, as it bears characteristics of both without being overly similar to either. Naturally occurring sugars in this plant give it a slightly sweet taste.
One of the best-loved dishes in Lower Saxony’s cuisine is a stew made from a combination of kale and smoked Pinkel sausages. The stew is slow-cooked over a period of a few hours, and may also include Kochmettwurst scalded sausage and Kassler smoked pork.
The Famous Harzer Kase Cheese of Lower Saxony
Also known as harzer roller, harzer kase is a cheese made from sour milk. It has incredibly strong flavors and is usually served alongside whole-grain bread or with a dressing made from oil, vinegar, pepper and onions.
Tea in Lower Saxony
Tea leaves are not grown in Lower Saxony, but tea is immensely popular in the East Frisia area of this German region, accounting for a fair amount of Germany’s overall tea consumption. Black tea is sometimes served alongside desserts that are common staples of German cuisine, including various cakes and cookies.