10 Things I love dearly that I have discovered in Germany

by Heidi Obermeyer

Germany is awesome. I was cooking the other night and realized that I have discovered/started using a few really lovely things since I got here, so I thought I’d share them with you!

Shallots.

Shallots are this magical onion-type vegetable that you use exactly like an onion, but that tastes 50,000 times better. Seriously. Everyone should stop buying onions and start cooking with these things instead. I initially discovered them via this recipe for making mushrooms from Pioneer Woman after I got on this huge mushroom kick (another veggie I’ve suddenly started to enjoy in Germany). I recently read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bordain (you know, that guy from No Reservations on the travel channel) and in one chapter he lists shallots as a way to make your cooking taste like restaurant food. They are amazing.

Public Transportation.

München, Bayern, Germany

I haven’t driven for the last 4 months, and not having a car does strange things to a person. It makes you leave earlier than 10 minutes before you have to get somewhere. It also makes you try taking buses you never have before because they kinda look like they’re headed in a direction you go a lot and might be faster than the Ubahn. It also makes you confront your fear of buses as a very likely way to get lost and then have to backtrack home for hours. And it also provides for EXCELLENT people watching. Munich is the perfect place to confront all of my anti-bus issues because the public transport here is excellent. I’m spoiled. Plus there’s just no feeling quite like the wind before the train in the Ubahn. I’m still not over my honeymoon phase with taking trains.

Roasted Garlic.

München, Bayern, Germany

Butter and bread have a best friend, and it’s roasted garlic. Everyone should be making this all the time. Your kitchen smells great and your taste buds are happy. Everyone wins!

Making Apple Cake.

I got a great recipe for apple cake from Oberstaufen and now it’s the go-to Kaffee and Kuchen choice for our group. I make this cake at least once every two weeks, and it’s so tasty with apples, plums, or pretty much whatever other fruit you might want to try with the basic batter/dough. Cherries might have some potential!

Talking to Strangers.

I hate talking to strangers. It’s just weird. But I have to do it all the time here since I’m constantly lost/confirming information to prevent being lost, so now I feel like I’m friendlier in German. I’d rather ask you for help in German than English. haha!

Ukulele.

I’m not good, and my ukulele is cheap, but it is SO MUCH FUN! Having free time in Stusta goes by so much faster if I get in a little Uke time. Plus, ukuleles sound so happy, so it’s always a mood-improver. Check out these cool ukulele songs and covers (the second one is pretty darn giggle-worthy! hahaha!).

Real Hot Chocolate Mix.

München, Bayern, Germany

There’s no sugar in the hot chocolate mix here. It’s delightful. It also makes for some really delicious coffee flavoring in the morning. It’s like grown-up hot chocolate for when you wake up!

Real Candles on the Christmas Tree.

I love the candles on the trees! I didn’t see any trees that were taller than are reachable from the ground, but with some common sense and sturdy bases real candles are absolutely beautiful. I did get to witness a really funny moment when the tree caught on fire, but since we were all in the room no harm was done and it turned into a pretty good story.

Scarves, all up in here.

I liked scarves before, but I think it might be a visa requirement to LOVE scarves when you enter this country. Everyone’s got ’em, and if you don’t, they will come for you. Even the men like the sport a pretty wide variety of patterns and colors, it’s quite impressive!

Orchids.

I hadn’t realized this on my previous trips here, but orchids are much more popular in Germany than they are in the United States. They seem to grow well here since the air is so moist (in Colorado I’ve had quite a few die from the lack of humidity) and I think that almost every German house I’ve gone to has at least one kicking around near a bright window. I got a few at IKEA (one for the usual 6 Euro, which is really cheap for orchids at home, and one for a bargain 1 Euro since it was in the IKEA clearance section) when I first got here and the original one JUST lost it’s last bloom today. That’s some staying power!

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