From sausages to fondue

Who eats what, when at Christmas in Germany

Beliebtes deutsches Weihnachtsessen: Kartoffelsalat und Würstchen.

Pupular German Christmal meal: Potato salad and sausages.

Berlin. What do Germans eat at Christmas? Some are sausage families, others prefer goose or carp on Christmas Eve. Food on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is a hot topic in Germany.

There is no standardised Christmas meal in Germany and according to cultural scientists there never has been. This stems from Germany’s history as a patchwork rug of cultures and small states. Here’s an attempt at an overview:

SAUSAGES: On Christmas Eve, the classic sausages and potato salad will be served by around 40 per cent of the men and women in Germany. This was the result of a representative survey conducted by the “Apotheken Umschau” two years ago. In comparison with a similar survey carried out by the magazine ten years earlier, the simple meal increased its popularity as the preferred meal on 24 December by a good 7 percentage points within a decade. According to another survey from last year, the largest numbers of sausage and potato salad devotees live in Thüringen (73 per cent). The number in Saarland is much lower (32 per cent).

GOOSE, DUCK, TURKEY, VENISON: According to the “Apotheken Umschau” survey only around 4 per cent still eat goose on Christmas Eve. In 2006, it was still 10 per cent of Germans. On the other hand, poultry is still very popular on the Christmas holidays – on 25 and 26 December. According to the survey, around 24 per cent eat duck or turkey and 23 per cent goose. Around 8 per cent eat roast venison. In 2006 however, roast goose was, at 35 per cent, cited most often as the favourite dish for the holidays.

FISH, FONDUE OR VEGAN: According to the survey, around 6.5 per cent eat carp on Christmas Eve and around 2 per cent other fish dishes such as trout or salmon. The elaborate fondue is served by around 3 per cent. Only very few – around 1.5 per cent – have vegetarian or vegan dishes on Christmas Eve.

VARIETY: Perhaps the most surprising thing is that according to the survey, many people in Germany are not particularly wedded to Christmas meal traditions. Three out of ten Germans prefer to eat something different each year on Christmas Eve. Every third person also loves to vary the celebratory meals on the Christmas holidays.

Original text: dpa. Translated by Kate Carey.