The region of eastern Germany, or the former German Democratic Republic during the years of its occupation by the former Soviet Union, features a culinary background as distinct as any other German region. The three regions considered part of eastern Germany are Saxony-Anhalt (Lower Saxony), Thuringia and Saxony. The cuisine of East Germany is varied. Saxony, in particular, is distinguished by its enthusiasm for coffee and cake, in addition to German culinary specialties such as potato dumplings, buttermilk potato pancakes and various German beers.
Coffee and Cake: A Saxony Tradition
Coffee became a staple German beverage in the 17th century, and while its popularity fluctuated, it remains a consistent part of the overall tradition of German cuisine. In Saxony, coffee is particularly well-loved, especially when paired with Dresdner stollen, a form of crumb cake filled with dried fruits and nuts. Much like legal regional appellations assigned to wines, the classification of Dresdner stollen can only be applied to stollen cakes made in the city of Dresden, or in its general metropolitan area.
Specific requirements of traditional Dresdner stollen dictate that for every 10 grams of flour, you must include three grams of butter or milk fat, one gram of almonds, and seven grams of dried fruits, candied orange, and lemon peels.
According to Dresden tradition, the cake must be stored for three weeks after baking before it can be consumed.
Potato Dishes of Saxony
Potato dumplings are popular in Saxony, though not as much so as in regions such as Thuringia. Quarkkeulchen, or quark and potato dumplings, is a dish unique to Saxony.
Quark is a type of cheese curd that resembles a thick cream in its prepared form. When mixed with boiled potatoes, eggs, sugar, flour and cinnamon, the resulting batter is pan-fried and served alongside applesauce and coffee.
Buttermilk potato pancakes are also prominent in Saxony’s culinary tradition. They’re prepared with buttermilk rather than traditional milk, along with eggs, onions and bacon.
Leipziger Gose: A Brewed Specialty of Saxony
Beer is frequently consumed in Saxony, and Leipziger Gose is one of the region’s specific varieties. It’s brewed from a nearly even combination of wheat and barley malt, with wheat being slightly accented. It’s alcohol content is fairly low, and the drink bears flavors of lemon, orange and coriander–common features among numerous German beers served alongside dishes of the Saxony-Anhalt region.