Characteristic German Sweets

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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In Germany, sweet foods are not limited to dessert. It is often said that the combination of spices, sweetness, fruit, and acidity still found in contemporary dishes such as sauerbraten is a German peculiarity, a medieval remnant proving the cuisine’s backwardness. But this proclivity for sweet and sour can also be seen as a positive continuum. The French philosopher and politician Michel de Montaigne, traveling in the south of Germany at the end of the sixteenth century, commented favorably upon the meat served with cooked plums, pears, and apple slices, a custom that survives in the form of the poached pears and cranberries served with roast game to this day. In this context, it is interesting to note that with the pseudo-internationalization of food following World War II, Asian cuisine in Germany came to be associated with a number of sweet and sour recipes, typically involving canned pineapple.