© Holger Stöhrmann / Mohltied!

Food and Drink

Freshly-caught fish, crispy cabbage, full-flavoured cheese or fragrant cottage ham

If you go on a culinary exploration in the true north, you will be spoilt for choice. Here, you can indulge in the regional and seasonal FEINHEIMISCHER products of top quality. From Niederegger marzipan to beer from the Flensburg brewery, products from Schleswig-Holstein are renowned far beyond the state borders. At culinary events, such as the Schleswig-Holstein Gourmet Festivals or the Natur-Genuss-Festival, chefs conjure up culinary delights. 

Schleswig-Holstein's delicacies

© Silke Goes / Mohltied!

Fresh air, restful beaches and green landscapes: this is the image most people have of Schleswig-Holstein – but also harbours, sailing boats and fresh fish. Whether smoked or marinated, grilled or steamed, the treasures from the coastal waters of the North and Baltic Seas really taste special.

The cutters and coastal fisheries of Schleswig-Holstein find mainly cod, herring and flounder in their nets. Particularly prized specialities also include the Baltic salmon, which differs from the Atlantic varieties in its fine, white flesh.

One regional speciality from Schleswig-Holstein that is known throughout the world is the “Kiel sprats”. The sprat is a small, silver fish from the herring family. Smoked over beech or alder wood, it becomes a culinary delicacy.

Other treasures from the Schleswig-Holstein coasts include crabs and oysters – in great demand as exports goods in Belgium and the Netherlands. Whatever does not land freshly and directly in the pans and dishes of costumers is further processed and finished to become a „seafood delicacy“. Fish products made in Schleswig-Holstein are also enjoying increasing popularity outside the state – these tastes can quickly bring holiday memories back to life.

© Susländer, Herr Wilhelm Ahrens

The "Holsteiner Katenschinken" has been made according to the same traditional production process for hundreds of years. To create this Schleswig-Holstein delicacy pork ham is used, from which pelvic and tubular bones are not removed. It consists of four parts: topside, silverside, tail and hipbone. The topside and silverside – better known as "Pape" – are the sirloins. "Holsteiner Katenschinken" gets its typical taste and its special, soft consistency thanks to several stages of production including salting and seasoning, drying and maturing, but above all the slow cold smoking over predominantly beech wood.

Its production takes time. For a whole ham to develop its flavour it takes at least four months. Even after smoking "Holsteiner Katenschinken" needs sufficient time to mature. It is then smooth and the fat is lightly nutty. Depending on the breed of pig used, the finished Katenschinken weighs between about 7.5 and 19 kilograms. And so it ends up in the eager hands of the consumer – just like the other delicacies that the pig provides us with and which also get their colour and taste from the smoking oven: smoked bacon, smoked sausage and liver sausage.

© TA-SH / I. Wandmacher

Schleswig-Holstein is truly a land of cheese – and has been so since the 16th century. This was when dairy farming started to develop in northern Germany. Religious refugees from the Netherlands found exile in Schleswig-Holstein and enriched the land with their knowledge about milk and cheese production. It was the start of a real success story. As early as 1583 around 1.5 million pounds of cheese were exported from Eiderstedt, predominantly to Hamburg and Bremen, whilst in 1610 the figure had already reached 3 million pounds.

Following highs and lows in economic development as well as ups and downs in consumer preferences, Schleswig-Holstein once again emerged as a traditional cheese-producing region. It was the production of the "Tilsiter" with its characteristic taste that caused the biggest sensation a few centuries ago. One dairy association in Holtsee alone processed 70 million kilos of milk from 200 milk producers from the region to make Tilsiter specialities.

Alongside large producers, over the past few years numerous farm creameries have emerged once again. They concentrate on the production of cheese specialities, with a partly traditional, partly modern approach to taste. Some of them have even become known and prized beyond the national borders – regionality really is in high demand.

© Oliver Franke

In September the west coast towns of Dithmarschen turn its attention to these delicious vegetables. In Europe’s biggest cabbage cultivation area, covering 2.800 hectares, around 80 million white and red cabbages are harvested every year. According to tradition, the cabbage harvest begins with a big festival in September.

Everybody is familiar with the cabbage: it’s round and healthy and contains
as much vitamin C as citrus fruits. It is rich in nerve-strengthening vitamin B, potassium, calcium, sodium and iron. The fibre it contains naturally lowers blood cholesterol levels. All these "ingredients" are also contained in Sauerkraut, the pickled cabbage that is the German "national vegetable". In Dithmarschen other types of cabbage are cultivated too, some less wellknown. Some of the most flourishing include Savoy, pointed cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, the less well-known "Romanesco" and kale, barely known in Europe.

The variety of cabbages can therefore win over gourmets with the diversity of possibilities for preparation and combination: Cabbage goes well with crab, fish, meat, game and other Dithmarschen specialities, not to mention the huge variety of herbs and spices with which it combines so well.

© TA.SH

Supporting the production and utilisation of regional foods, passing on knowledge and strengthening the deep-rooted food and cooking culture of
Schleswig-Holstein in a sustainable way – these are the aims of the association FEINHEIMISCH – Genuss aus Schleswig-Holstein e.V. (which translates as approximately Fine and local – food from Schleswig-Holstein), and which was founded by restaurant-owners and chefs, food producers and gourmets in the autumn of 2007. Since then the state-wide initiative has grown considerably.

© Gutsküche

Since 1987 the aim has been the same: liven up the dull winter time with culinary highlights, establish Schleswig-Holstein as a land with a true food culture and reach out to new guests. The concept has succeeded. The region has become a stronghold of foodies. Over eleven establishments boast 13 Michelin stars between them, including two festival members. Between September and March the delightful gala evenings are held, at which regional top products also play a role. For younger gourmets, the “Tour de Gourmet Jeunesse” was set up. Innovative ideas and warm hospitality are the trademarks of the internationally-renowned "Schleswig-Holstein Gourmet Festival".

© Flensburger Brauerei

The "Flensburg Pilsener", with its extraordinary, herby flavour, is supplied in the famous swing-top bottle. The man to thank for this awareness of tradition is consul Emil Petersen, who led the company in the 1930s and who was also insistent on sticking to the proven swing-top bottle, whilst all his competitors turned to the crown cork. Perhaps he was already aware that the "plop" of the opening of a bottle of Flensburg would one day become one of the sounds most associated with the flavours of northern Germany.

As a member of the German association of free brewers the company feels duty-bound to preserve typical regional beers and the art of traditional brewing. Because only the diversity of regional specialities make the German beer market so unique.

The Flensburg brewery now produces eleven different types of beer, and even markets the "Flensburg Water", which bubbles up from the company’s own Flensburg Gletscherquelle source, 270 metres below the ground.

Anybody who wishes to learn more about Flensburg beer, its production and range is invited to attend one of the regular brewery tours.

© Niederegger

Lübeck and marzipan are inextricably linked. Under the motto "marzipan with love", Niederegger's high standards in the production of marzipan, pralines and truffles, are clearly put into practice. The family firm from Lübeck, now known throughout the world, is committed to supplying an exclusive treat that historically was only available to the noble and the wealthy. Their careful selection of raw ingredients and artisanal tradition give Niederegger products their outstanding quality. So it is no surprise that the label "Lübeck marzipan" is protected by the EU as an indication of geographical origin.

And since pleasure is not limited only to culinary delectation, we should mention here that the traditional packaging designed by renowned graphic artist Alfred Mahlau has already reached cult status. The corporate design, created in the 1920s and of course carefully updated in the intervening period, is still well-loved today. For many it captures an avant-garde attitude in its adherence to tradition and its rejection of fashion.

© TA.SH

Every year between July and October the Schleswig-Holstein Foundation
for Nature Protection hosts its “Natur-Genuss-Festival” (Nature and food festival) focussing on “Stiftungsrind” beef, helping to put some spice in the culinary calendar of Schleswig-Holstein. The main ingredients are robust beef cattle, mainly of the “Galloway” or “Scottish Highland” breeds.

Another ingredient is a must at the Natur-Genuss-Festival! And that is the many events that unite the enjoyment of nature and culinary pleasures: from a visit
to see the foundation’s cattle on their “wild meadows” with country-style refreshments, to a look behind the scenes of the cooperative producers or a five
day cycling tour overnighting in a comfortable “land of foodies” hotel.

More information

© Silke Goes / Mohltied!

at the harbour
get fresh Fish

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© TA.SH


FEINHEIMISCH

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© Gutsküche

(In German)
Schleswig-Holstein Gourmet Festival

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© TA.SH

(In German)
Nature and food festival

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© Susländer, Herr Wilhelm Ahrens

(In German)
Holsteiner Katenschinken

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© Shutterstock

(In German)
The cheese road

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© Holstein Tourismus / Photocompany

(In German)
Dithmarscher Cabbage Days

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