German Goodies, ja?

Though the Germans don't have the greatest reputation for culinary excellence, there are some foods that they do well.  Back in the day, A lived in Germany where he developed a bit of a taste for German food; he has been talking appreciatively about aspects of it ever since, much to the amusement of C.  On the way to Turkey for the 2012 summer holiday (posts on Turkish food awesomeness pending), A and C touched down for an hour or so in Munich, so A took the opportunity to indulge a couple of German food cravings and introduce C to some of his favourite German goodies.

Bionade (pronounced Bee-Oh-Naah-Duh) is one of A's favourites and something he has been talking about for some time. Essentially Bionade is a non-alcoholic fizzy drink produced using a fermentation process similar to that used for brewing beer. It comes in a variety of unorthodox flavours: Holunder (elderberry), Ingwer-Orange (ginger and orange), Kräuter (herbs), Litschi (lychee) and Quitte (quince).

A Bionade bottle: the mod logo would please Wiggo

Sadly, Munich airport only had the Holunder in stock. While this is not A's favorite - he goes for Ingwer-Orange if he can - he insisted that C try at least some Bionade while the opportunity existed.  C thought it was pretty good, describing it as "light, refreshing and fruity: somewhere between J2O and This Water, but with more flavour than either". This is a pretty pithy summary of the drink and it's a pity it's not more widely available in the United Kingdom.

Munich airport did however stock a wider range of one of A's other favourites: Ritter Sport.  This is one of Germany's big name domestic chocolate producers, and is celebrating its centenary year this year.  Like Bionade, Ritter Sport produces quite a palette of flavours; usually there are at least thirty-five different in production at any one time. Alongside the thirty or so permanent flavours, there are usually a few guest/limited edition ones to taste for a bit more variety.  A recently alerted C to the genius of Ritter Sport when he brought her back a couple of slabs after a recent trip to Berlin, but this time C was in control: C picked up a crispy milk chocolate and a rum, grape and nut bar. The crispy chocolate bar really melts in the mouth. It has a crunchy crumblyness which nicely complements the rich smooth milk chocolate.  The rum, grape and nut bar though is A's absolute favourite: boozy, sugary, fruity bliss which quite frankly kicks cadbury's fruit and nut into touch.  Most of the flavours are worth a try, though, and at 100g per bar, you get a lot to munch on.  Normally C has to eat fast to keep up with A, but in the case of the Ritter Sport, the trends were reversed.

Ritter Sport with A's German newspaper of choice, the SZ

As an aside, if in Berlin and in the vicinity of the Friedrichstraße, it's worth stepping around the corner to the Ritter Sport store on Französische Straße 24. Here, you can make your own Ritter Sport bar from scratch, which they temper and set while you wait over a coffee. They also stock every Ritter Sport under the sun, although this is to some extent a mixed blessing as you're likely to come out poorer and heavier than you went in.

Both Bionade and Ritter sport can be found from time to time in the UK, so watch out for them.


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