When you’re really hungry, look no further than the Knödel (dumpling in English). This humble food is highly revered in Germany and will keep the hunger gremlins away for hours.
The tennis size balls of stale bread or potatoes don’t sound particularly appetizing.
Fortunately the types of Knödel are limited only by your imagination. There’s the relatively healthy Spinatknödel (spinach dumpling), pictured above. There’s also an apricot filled Knödel. There are seasonal ones made with pumpkins. Then there’s the nasty sounding Leberknödel (liver dumpling). Perhaps the worst sounding of them all, Saures Kalbslüngleknödel (sauer calf-lung dumpling) which is a Bavarian Dish I Will Not Be Trying.
This recipe for Bavarian dumplings is quite good. Being celiac, the only choice for me is to make them at home with gluten-free bread. If you find them in a restaurant or hut, they’ll always contain regular bread.
Knödel is served as a side dish, but it also serves as the main course especially when served in alpine huts. It’s common to be served two tennis ball sized Knödel. This hearty dish is often the choice of many of my German friends when we’re hiking the German Alps. Often they’ll start speculating on the types of Knödel the hut might have, long before we’ve reached the hut. There’s something about simple, yet filling food that Germans love.
Another popular staple in southern Germany is Käsespätzle, which is noodles with cheese. It’s similar to mac and cheese to North Americans, but I prefer the German version.
You can find dumplings all over Germany. While they’re called Knödel in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, they’re called Klöße in the northern parts of Germany. If you’re traveling around Germany, it’s fun to try them in different parts of the country to compare the regional differences.