The Black Forest region of Germany is not specifically a forest at all, but rather a mountain range surrounded by dense pine and fir trees. Like many regions of Germany, it’s quite well known for certain culinary specialties. Black Forest cuisine is perhaps best represented by its meats, particularly Black Forest ham, and the popular dessert known as Black Forest Cake.
The Basics of the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) Cuisine
Located in the southwestern Baden region of Germany, the Black Forest area skirts the border between Germany and France, and is also quite close to Switzerland, to the south. The regions of the bordering nations in close proximity to the Black Forest have been heavily influenced by German cuisine, particularly the Alsace region of France, and the Black Forest has also adopted French and Swiss influences.
Meats are important to all regional variations of German cuisine, and the Black Forest is no exception. Particular specialties are Black Forest ham, which is popular in many delis in the United States and worldwide, and veal roulade, a dish made from round cuts of veal filled with bacon pieces and onions, then braised. Venison is popular as well.
In the category of vegetables, the Black Forest is very well known for its mushrooms. Numerous varieties of the fungal plant grow in the area, and are prepared in a number of ways. Some of these include steinpiolz and morels, both of which are usually sauteed in butter or used in various sauces, and chanterelle mushrooms often add an interesting accent to veal dishes.
The Black Forest Cake: A Highlight of German Cuisine
Even though the origins of the Black Forest cake have been attributed to the city of Bonn and the country of Switzerland (not definitively in either instance), this popular German dessert is almost universally known under the Black Forest appellation.
The recipe is an intriguing variation on chocolate sponge cake. Two fillings are added to the basic cake–one from canned sour cherries, cornstarch and sugar, the other a mixture of Kirschwasser cherry schnapps and heavy whipped cream. Once baked, the resulting creation is topped with fresh cherries, whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Wines of the Black Forest Region
Germany is not as well-known for its wines as France or Italy, though its two primary specialties, Riesling and Spatburgunder, are highly regarded among popular beverages of Germany. Both are grown in the Black Forest and throughout the larger Baden region. Baden is particularly prominent for its Spatburgunder vineyards.