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Traditional Ore Mountain food has been shaped over the centuries by the changing, often unfavorable, economic conditions of the region. The cuisine stands apart for its sheer simplicity, creativity and use of easy-to-obtain ingredients.
During a period of widespread starvation in the region, potatoes were grown in large quantities to combat hunger – resulting in many a potato-based signature Ore Mountain dish. Each traditional potato dish, whether baked, fried, or smoked, is delicious and unique. If you visit during Christmas, make sure you try the traditional Christmas Eve spread Neinerlaa.
Kartoffelpuffer, or potato pancakes, are made from a batter of potatoes, eggs, flour, salt and pepper, and fried in oil until crispy and golden brown. In the Ore Mountains, Kartoffelpuffer is widely available as a main dish or an accompaniment to schnitzel, sausage dishes, and fish. Sweet Kartoffelpuffer, served with chopped fruit or applesauce, is also popular.
The Neinerlaa is a scrumptious feast, consisting of nine food items. Traditional Neinerlaa consists of Bratwurst, potato dumplings, sauerkraut, melted butter, celery, bread pudding, blueberry compote, bread, and salt. Each food item represents a particular belief and hope for the coming year. Traditionally, Neinerlaa is enjoyed with loved ones in a beautifully decorated table every Christmas Eve at 6pm all across the Ore Mountains. Many restaurants also serve this authentic spread.
Stollen is a delightfully rich, soft fruity bread stuffed with nuts, spices, and dried or candied fruit, and dusted with fine sugar. While Dresdener Stollen is famous all over Germany and Europe, it is also widely baked and enjoyed across the Ore Mountains during Christmas.
To prepare this popular dish, grated potatoes are mixed with buttermilk and seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin and sometimes onions. The mixture is then fried in lard, butter or oil, and topped with bits of boiled bacon or sausages. The sweet version of Buttermilchgetzen is topped with blueberry compote, applesauce, or cranberries.
Rauchemaad is yet another very popular potato-based dish from the Ore Mountains. Cooked or boiled potatoes are salted, crushed and shaped to resemble a pancake. This is then cooked until golden on a cast-iron pan, and served with a dollop of butter. In some variations, Rauchemaad is served sprinkled with sugar, applesauce or berries.
To make delicious Heidelbeergetzen, a dough of flour, egg yolk, milk, salt and sugar, is prepared. A generous dose of blueberries is added to the dough, and baked in the oven. Heidelbeergetzen is traditionally served dusted with sugar and cinnamon. Richer versions of the dish are served with apples, plums, raspberries, or cherries.
Grüne Getzen is a simple dish with grated and salted raw potatoes as its main ingredient. The potato dough is baked with a sprinkle of sunflower oil and served hot. The sweet version of Grüne Getzen is iced with sugar before serving.