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Culture & Religion

What’s German For “Haute Cuisine”?

The 2013 German Michelin Guide contains twice as many two-star restaurants as last year’s, and more three-star restaurants than those of every other European country except France.

What’s the Latest Development?

In a move that may surprise those who think of German cuisine as meat-and-potatoes comfort food, the publishers of Michelin Guide Deutschland 2013 have included a record number of two- and three-star restaurants, many of which are applying new techniques to traditional recipes and ingredients. With the new guide, Germany now has more three-star restaurants than any other European country except France, which, as the home of Michelin, has long set gourmet standards. However, as Michelin Guide director Michael Ellis put it, German chefs are “breathing down [France’s] neck.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The heftiness of Germany’s food — which contrasts with the more delicate dishes provided by its western neighbor — is attributed by one chef to the hardships following two world wars: “People were just happy to have a lot on the plate.” In the last few years, cooking shows have become more popular on television, and more shops are opening that cater to gourmets. The simple fact that a growing market for fine dining exists reflects Germany’s position as Europe’s largest economy: “Three of the 10 three-star German restaurants are in the prosperous southern state of Baden-Württemberg, where companies like Mercedes, BMW and Bosch are based.”

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