Historically, Hamburg has always had a number of pots cooking. Culinary influences came from crews, cooks and chefs anchoring in Hamburg harbour or returned with local sailors.
It comes as no surprise that Hamburg’s restaurants represent almost every nation on the planet and the waterfront is home to some of the most attractive dining options: from exclusive and upmarket to typical harbour eateries, from modern and stylish to traditional seafood restaurants, from streets lined with Portuguese family restaurants geared at tourists, to food stalls off the (b)eaten track catering to locals.
Despite the international variety, local food is not to be underestimated. Hamburg offers some unique dishes that range from simple to sophisticated. They all have their own anecdotal beginnings in history. However, if you ask locals they might share their very personal version of the recipes. Hamburg's signature dishes include (from breakfast to dessert): Franzbrötchen (French rolls, allegedly influenced by Napoleon's troops), Currywurst (Celebrated in Uwe Timm's novel 'The Invention of Curried Sausage'), Labskaus (Seafarers’ stew of various ingredients tinted a bright pink from beetroot) and Rote Grütze (Mixed berries and cherry dessert served with custard).
Hamburg has benefited from the culinary expeditions of the past. Some of the most popular and most valued German celebrity chefs reside in Hamburg, have their TV shows produced in local studios and operate their restaurants across the city. Their books are stocked nationwide. Their names: Tim Mälzer (Restaurant: Bullerei), Cornelia Poletto (Poletto), Steffen Henssler (Henssler&Henssler, Ono), Christian Rach (Rach&Ritchy), Ole Plogstedt (Olsen), Nils Egtermeyer (Jellyfish).
If you'd like to cook up a storm during your stay in Hamburg, most of the celebrity chefs above also offer cooking classes on their premises. They might not always be around due to other commitments but the experience is unique, nevertheless.
Altes Land: Orchards
If you're into sampling fresh produce, travel south to the 'Old Land' (Altes Land), Europe's largest orchard. Over centuries, the growers of the region deliver their fruit across Germany and are known for their seemingly endless varieties of apples. The region is even more beautiful in Spring when the fruit trees are in bloom and wedding chapels fill up with happy couples.