Food And Drink in Germany Vs. Canada

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Moving to Germany from Canada was full of changes and admittedly it wasn’t much of an adjustment to German food and drink. Nonetheless, you do notice the differences. 


There are many similarities between food and drink in Germany and in Canada but the longer I stay in Germany, the more subtle differences I notice. German food and drink, in some ways, is impressive. 

Here are my top ten food and drink differences that I’ve noticed after living in Germany for just over six months:

1.  Potato salad in Germany is really good. 

In Canada, I could take it or leave it, but in Germany, I’ve been known to eat half a plate of it at a time. Fun fact: they often add dijon mustard, sugar and vinegar into the sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Related Reading: How to Celebrate a German Christmas in Munich

2. Spezi

A combination of Coke and Orange Fanta is a popular drink in Germany and even has a name “Spezi.”  I was so excited to hear this as it’s my favorite soda and I always get weird looks when I order it in Canada.

Related Reading: The Shy Girl’s Guide to the Naked German Sauna

3. Daily Bread and Cake 

German food and drink: Bread is an important staple

Germans eat bread every day, and delicious homemade cakes frequently and still manage to weigh less on average than the average person living in North America.  So much for the low carb theory of weight loss.

Related Reading: My Favorite Places to Eat in Munich

4. Hard Ice Cream  

German food and drink: Gelato is commonly found but hard ice cream is another story

Hard ice cream is really hard to come by in ice cream shops in Germany.  Delicious Italian gelato can be found everywhere, but I really miss tiger icecream and have yet to meet anyone in Germany who has heard of it. Hard ice cream is available in the grocery store but only comes in a few flavors and besides, we don’t have a freezer.

Related Reading: Knödel-The German Dumpling: What You Need to Know

5. Only 1 Salad Dressing?!  

Normally in restaurants in Germany, there is only one type of salad dressing – a yogurt type which I have yet to acquire a taste for.  I miss the days of being offered a variety of options, but as I’m not much of a salad person anyway, I’m sure I will survive. This is one of the German food and drink quirks that do not really have that much bearing unless your a salad fan. 

Related Reading: A Hugo: The Most Refreshing Cocktail You’ll Ever Have

6. Chocolate   

Germany has a much smaller selection of chocolate bars than found in North America.  No Caramel, Mirage, EatMore…I’m not much of a chocolate eater so this doesn’t bother me but I have some friends who really miss this type of chocolate.  In fairness to Germany though, they do have a lot of very high-quality chocolate that most Germans choose to eat over the cheap chocolate bars. What can I say, German food and drink is all about quality. 

Related Reading: German Culture: My Awkward Social Encounters with Germans

7.  Snack Less

Snacking while watching t.v. is not popular in Germany.  In over 6 months of living with J.P. (my then-husband), I have yet to see him snack while watching t.v.  The first time he saw me eating popcorn while watching t.v. he was truly confused and still shakes his head every time I do it.  Perhaps the absence of mindless snacking is how Germans eat so much bread without getting fat.

Related Reading: Käse Spätzle: German Mac and Cheese

8. Apfelschorle

A combination of apple juice and mineral water (“Apfelschorle” in German) is a popular drink in Germany, much more so than soda.  I frequently see my German friends ordering this for their children and themselves alike – so much healthier than soda and completely acceptable to do so even at dinner in a fancy restaurant.  Something you wouldn’t likely see in North America. Some of the German food and drink I have encountered have been, well different. 

Related Reading: Leberkäse (Liver Cheese): The Food of Bavarian Royalty

9. Eating Seasonal

German food and drink: Seasonal fruit and vegetables are preferred n Germany

People in Germany eat much more in season than we do in North America.  When I first moved here I was shocked that I couldn’t readily find produce such as spinach that I eat regularly in Canada.  It’s being generous to say that my cooking certainly wouldn’t have won any awards my first few months of living in Germany as I got creative with substitutes –  green beans for broccoli or cabbage for spinach….you get the idea. 

But I am slowly learning to eat more in season and am finding that by doing so the produce tastes so much better and it’s much better for the planet.  I’m not sure how excited J.P. was when in October we ate squash and pumpkin something or other for two weeks straight, but then again I’m sure it was an improvement over my previous improvisations. As I get used to German food and drink and the nuances, I find myself getting better at navigating the ingredients. 

10. Beer and Wine in the Movie Theater? 

German food and drink

Beer and wine are available in movie theaters in Germany!  I love going to movies anyway, but this gives me another incentive – too bad the English movie theater in Stuttgart doesn’t have butter for its popcorn.

What German or other food and drink differences surprised you when traveling?

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20 thoughts on “Food And Drink in Germany Vs. Canada”

  1. Please note this post had numerous comments that were lost in the transition from Blogger to this post. My apologies for the omission, transferring the comments from Intense Debate to WP turned out to be beyond my technical capabilities.

  2. expatgermany commented on Food And Drink in Germany Vs. Canada –

    So good that the Mann cooks, J.P.’s idea of cooking is having bread for dinner :), but he’s good at the laundry. I agree the seasonal eating does make more sense, but I’m cursing the bad spinach crop since I really miss spinach and can’t find it anywhere. Oh well, guess it will taste so much better once I have it again 🙂

  3. My husband Mark and I (Terry) spent 2 weeks in Hamburg about 5 years ago. We were staying in a small hotel near the harbour. We would start our day at the bakery where my favourite was a dark nutty bread. Mmmmmm!

    Terry Kruse

  4. I love the salad dressing here! I have yet to figure out the ingredients. Also, I had the opposite thoughts on chocolate- I think there’s lots more choices than in the US (not sure about Canada though- even though I grew up close, Lake Superior has prevented me from visiting, haha). Milcha brand is the common brand around where I’m at.
    I’m spoiled though, I get to shop at the US grocery store on the US military base, although I like to challenge myself and stay away from the Lays chips and Tostidos, which is a good thing anyway!.

    • Glad you love the salad dressing, I can’t stand it. To each their own. I haven’t heard of Milcha, we have a lot of Ritter since the chocolate factory is near Stuttgart. Being able to shop ath the US grocery store, would really be the best of both worlds. I really miss rootbeer and am going to have to find a way to track some down one of these days 🙂

      • Opps, I had the name wrong, it’s:
        I consider it to be the “Herseys” of the groceries stores here, but a bit better. Ya know, not the really good stuff, but something you can enjoy every day (if you want, lol).

        A German man told me you can get Dr. Pepper at the German grocery stores, but I looked and looked and didn’t find any! I’ve heard of people making their own root beer, but ya know, sounds like a lot of work 🙂

        • @Laurie – thanks for letting me know, I’ll definitely have to check Milka out, sounds good! I’ve seen Dr. Pepper in the grocery stores, but it’s really root beer I’m craving, making your own root beer sounds interesting, but a lot of work. Sigh, maybe I’ll just wait until I go back to Canada 🙂

    • A suggestion for a German salad dressing:

      4 tablespoon plain yoghurt
      1 tablespoon vinegar (white wine) – or lemon juice
      1 teaspoon mustard
      1 some horseradish (like this: – or Sahnemeerrettich
      salt, pepper, nutmeg (fresh ground)
      rosemary, ground

      Some seasoning like this: – available in the “Reformhaus”
      or any substitute, but this is the best and also glutenfree!

      Mix these ingrediences well with a whisk.
      Add some sunflower (or corn) oil and mix until you get proper emulsion.

      You can also add some finely chopped herbs like chives, parsley, shallots, basil – whatever you like and whatever comes out best!

      Goes with beans for a very tasty bean salad,
      with iceberg lettuce,
      with cole-slaw,
      with a mixed salad of radiccio, lettuce, cheese, eggs, crab meat, boiled ham, mushrooms, sweet corn, tomatoes, pepers, etc.

      Endless variations.

      There really are a lot of ready-made dressings and sauces here in Germany but this is my favorite. You can also keep it in the fridge – put it in a jar with a cap – and it’ll be fresh for even 2 – 3 days.
      And if it’s not enough then, just add some more of the basic ingrediences.

      To prepare a quite good potato salad you need to add just a little miracle whip or the German pendant “Salat-Mayonnaise” like this .
      But that’s just a pale imitation of my favorite potato salad – in this area every family has their own specialty…
      Let me know if you want to have the recipe.

      Enjoy and “Guten Appetit”!

      So NOW I am hungry.


      • Thank you so much. This does sound good and I would love to have your favorite potato salad recipe if you’re willing to share it. I love potato salad in Germany, but mine is just so so. Now I’m hungry as well 🙂 Thanks again!

  5. German potato salad is definitely fabulous. The little pieces of speck and all…mmmh. I mean my mom makes a mean potato salad that I love, but the German stuff is just SO good.

    And although Germans aren’t really into their candy bars, they do make a mean bar of chocolate with all sorts of crazy stuff in it. Nothing compared to a Snickers and you have to get used to it (obviously you can get Snickers here) but still way better than a Hershey bar IMO.

    • @Tiffany – I know the speck makes it sooooo good! Agreed about German chocolate, it really is delicious, and I’m sure many Germans would be horrified to see the cheap chocolate, i.e. Snickers that we eat 🙂

  6. … just let me talk about food and you will have a hard time stopping me…

    Since I read your article I really pay much more attention while cruising through the veggie sections in the supermarkets!

    As you mentioned above Germans do eat and cook more in season than North Americans.

    Supermarket chains like Rewe and Edeka are pleased to help you ordering fresh stuff beyond their “normal” assortment.
    If you’ll find a salesgirl, who is not into that “gehen Sie mal zum Kollegen”, they are really flexible.
    I had somekind of a cookshow last year, needed to get some fresh herbs in February and they were so axious to get me anything I wanted!

    Huge wholesales like Metro and some Delikatessengeschäfte offer superior quality all year long – with any product you can think of.
    But is that so much desirable?

    Btw have you been told about the “Gemüseabo”, “Abokiste”, “Biokiste” or “Gemüsekiste”?!
    Maybe that could be something to discover:
    fresh food – organic – from the farmer’s cooperatives or some organic unions.
    I can highly recommend everything with the “demeter” sign.

    They deliver once a week and they really are in season, their quality is outstanding!

    for example.

    Could this be something for you? I’d really love to know!


    • I just got back from visiting Germany, I found it expensive, serious, impatient, friendly, picturesque and very limited. Meaning not having more variety (Food). From Hamburg to Stuttgart I found their beer exceptional, coffee Abominable, younger folk very helpful (English speaking 90 %), landscape comparable to Canada.
      I give Germany a 4/5.

  7. I really miss EUROPEAN food! Never been a big fan of Apfelschorle but I can see how foreigners like it. I do have to say that popcorn is tons better over here, can’t stand that sweet sticky stuff in German theaters (completely overpriced, too haha).
    And I think Germans do snack when watching TV. they don’t do it every day but they do it when having friends over on a tv night.


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