German food! Pretzels, Brötchen, Nutella, Pommes Frites, Kinder eggs and all the chocolate, wursts – what’s not to love? Here are some tips to eating in Germany with kids:
Frühstück! Most hotels, BnBs and Hostels will include a traditional “frühstück” which is something that shouldn’t be missed. It’s usually a buffet of meats, cheese, tomatoes and cukes, with different types of breads, the best of which is called “Brötchen” (meaning “little bread”), a soft-on-the-inside-crusty-on-the-outside treat. You’ll also find fruits, yogurts, cereals, muesli (granolas) and spreads like Nutella and jams. The traditional breakfast would be to make a little sandwich, often open faced, with a yogurt or cereal as a side and some fruit. This is a hearty breakfast that will hold you over for a light lunch and every picky eater will enjoy something. Look for accommodations that include Frühstück – little looked forward to choosing between all the options and filling his plate (and belly) full every morning.
Pommes Frites: traditional European French fries, often covered with Mayo, Paprika, Curry ketchup or dry, you can grab these at an Imbiss (snack stand) almost everywhere. Look for sandwich boards that say “Imbiss” and usually have an arrow pointing. You can usually find a sausage or “wurst” at the same stand – this is usually a hit with kids. You will order your sauces as opposed to putting them on yourself, so remember that, and often you will be standing while you eat as these places don’t often have seating.
Italian food: Okay, it’s not German. But German’s proximity to Italy and open borders mean there are an abundance of super great Italian places that accommodate families and are inexpensive. In the states, Italian food is either Olive Garden or fancy, expensive and not always kid friendly – that’s just not true in Europe. So while in Germany, know that you can always have a hearty, delicious sit down dinner with your kids at a local Italian joint (link to Berlin’s Piazza Rossa). Bonus if they serve Spaghetti Eis (see below).
Eis Café: Oh. My. Heavens. The Eis Café has evolved from when I was little and you would find some scoops, some special ice cream dishes and some sweetheart chairs in a tiny shop. You can now go to fabulous places with extensive menus that will cost as much as dinner but what a wonderful memory you will have. In Berlin, our friend Laura took us to Caffe e Gelato. I wanted Spaghetti Eis: a sweet dish where vanilla ice cream is run through a machine to look like spaghetti, a strawberry sauce on top to look like marinara and white chocolate shavings to look like parmesan. It’s just so delicious and as precious as it comes! The café Laura took us to also offered Eis Hamburger, Eis Sushi, and all the fancy desserts parents would like as well. This is a treat that shouldn’t be overlooked!
Traditional Dinner: Most traditional German places have a kids menu and welcome children but be prepared for traditional foods like schnitzel and spätzle. If you have an adventurous eater, you can easily find yourself in a 700 year old building eating authentic German dinner with a Berlin Pils.
Candy: Don’t skip a stop to the grocery store, where you can pick up for less than a Euro Gummis in every kind – today, we found Fairies, Dragons and Enchanted Trees. You won’t find these Haribo in your local American grocery store. Milka bars with flavors you can only imagine (plus the Milka factory here where you can design your own bar) and of course, the legendary Kinder Egg, mythically banned from the United States since the 1920s. Or 1992. Or 2010, depending on who you speak to. If you bring them home, you may go to jail. Or have them confiscated or pay a fee. Or just bring them home – I have yet to hear a consistent story. But the chocolate is delicious and the toys always a fun surprise!