It’s German week here on Joie de Vivre! Today’s post shares the delights of Brotzeit, a simple picnic meal that’s easy to prepare and enjoy at home. Later this week, How I Work will feature my dear German friend, Christiane, who introduced me to Brotzeit and Orangina.
What Is Brotzeit?
The Germans love a good compound word, and Brotzeit is no exception: Brod (bread) plus zeit (time) equals Bread Time. Brotzeit is a traditional savory snack enjoyed in Bavaria, a region in southern Germany.
Christiane claims Brotzeit is sort of a lazy meal if you do not feel like cooking. When you read on to find out just what delicious comestibles comprise Brotzeit, however, I doubt you’ll think it’s “lazy” so much as “wunderbar.”
This German version of a picnic features large, soft pretzels, naturlich. It hails from Bavaria, after all, known for its pretzels, wurst, and beer.
But wait, there’s more! And you can find or substitute in all of the following ingredients at U.S. supermarkets.
- Large, soft pretzels (may be the hardest thing to find)
- Bread (preferably, dark German-style bread)
- Butter (for spreading on the bread, obvious, but don’t forget the pretzels!)
- Grainy brown mustard
- Sliced ham
- Sliced cheese (preferably German like Gouda or Swiss like Emmental)
- Other options (I’ve not yet tried): Kartoffelkäse (cheese-potato spread), dried wurst, head cheese, hard-boiled egg, onions
Y’all, it’s a delicious feast and so fun to graze and eat. Brotzeit always pairs well with a nice dry German Riesling or lager beer. It is also nice with Orangina, a sparkling orange juice drink you can also make at home.
If you need something German to watch which you munch on pretzels and radishes, I recommend the Netflix show Babylon Berlin. It’s a noir crime thriller set in 1920s Berlin that captures the angst of the post-World War I generation alongside the rising threat of national socialism. The show is in German and you can set your subtitle preferences (please watch in the original language, not dubbed!).
Babylon Berlin is a wild ride, a sweeping drama with a host of complex and nuanced characters. It literally has everything: romance, sex, drug use, cross dressing, intrigue, betrayal, chases, escapes, family drama, cheaters, traitors, liars, saviors. It’s hard to describe and define and better experienced with an open mind, no preconceived ideas or expectations.
The Beat Goes On
For a sample of German music you can enjoy at home with your Brotzeit, check out these Pandora channels:
- Helene Fischer, an iconic German pop star.
- ATB, a popular German DJ whose trance and house music I’ve loved since high school.
If you have a Spotify account, you can stream Bravo Hits, the Now That;s What I Call Music of Germany. I recommend going back in time to the late 1990s and listening to Bravo Hits 12 and Bravo Hits 14.
There is also an abundance of German music on Youtube. If you really want to smile and forget about the world for a few minutes, watch Germany’s The Voice Kids.
What is your favorite international cuisine?
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